Gardening Basics: Choosing Plants

Welcome back to my gardening blog! Today it’s time to decide what you’re going to plant.

Different plants have different needs and it’s worth spending some time considering what goes together so that you have a successful garden.

Plan your garden

Step one is to map out your garden and decide what will fit – a simple flowerbed with two or three varieties might work best or you could do as I have and go for five or so types of vegetables bordered by herbs. Try to choose plants that require similar maintenance so that you can take care of them all at once.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have planted a vegetable garden and I hope it lasts for many years. If you have chosen flowers, bear in mind that some are annual varieties which will bloom just once but look wonderfully colorful all summer, while others are perennials which bloom for a shorter time but will return each year.

You should also take a look at the space you have and the type of soil. I began by clearing away the sod (that’s the top layer) covering my garden and adding a layer of compost to the soil. I used a spade to mix this in to the first 10 or so inches of soil, it’s best to do this to fairly damp earth in the spring. This gave it the much-needed nutrient boost that should help my plants to prosper.

Sunshine is key to the plants

Of course, sunshine is key to the care of all plants. Generally speaking, all vegetables and the majority of flowers need to have at least six hours of sunlight every day.

Depending on where you live this could be difficult to achieve – many gardens get too much or too little sun! Spend some time outside in your garden and observe how the sunlight behaves throughout the day.

My garden is particularly shady and because I didn’t want to plant anything that required full strong sunlight, I found it helpful to ask in my local gardening center. An employee there was able to help me choose the best plants for my garden and with their guidance I have a lot of plants that are doing well despite the shade.

Until next time, happy gardening!

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