Gardening is a wonderful hobby that is fun, and possibly delicious, but can be intimidating to newcomers. Many people get the thought of dead plants in their head, and shy away from this relaxing pastime. Fortunately, gardening doesn’t have to be hard, and is accessible to anyone in any climate. Today we’ll look at 5 simple gardening tips for beginners that will help get you on the right path to growing your own beautiful garden.
Understand Your Plants (and start with easy ones)
The first step might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people skip it and go right into planting. The fact is, understanding your plants and their needs is essential to success.
A plant’s two biggest needs are water and sun, so having an understanding of these is essential to succcess. However, there are a number of other things to keep in mind for healthy growth.
For example, understanding your climate how it difers from a climates natural one is an important factor. If you live in an area that is milder it might be difficult to grow certain fruits or veggies, so it’s best to stay away from those or move them indoors.
On that note, it’s also a good idea for a beginner gardener to start with an easier plant. Things like mint or chives are very easy to grow, take little maintenance, and are difficult to kill, making them great for first timers. This can also help server to boost your confidence, and get you excited to move onto something a bit more difficult.
Give Your Plants Enough Space
While your seedlings might look small now remember that they will grow much larger over their lifetime. A common mistake is to plant based on their current size and not on their maximum size. You should also factor in the plant’s type as many plants will like to be slightly contrained by their container.
This ties in with knowing what types of plants your growing, and understanding their optimal size. Once you know that, you’ll be able to choose a good amount of space for each plant to give them enough room.
When you plant too close, it can prevent plants from getting the nutrients they need. Plants too close to each other will fight over nutrients in the soil, which can lead to them getting less than they need to stay healthy. This is why it’s so important to give your plants the proper amount of space.
Watch The Water
Another big mistake newcomers make is with water. Often times they’ll sit at one extreme, either too much water or too little. Either case is not optimal and can lead to problems down the road.
Once again, this goes back to understanding your plants, noticing a pattern here? All plants have slightly different water needs, so what works for one plant might not necessarily work for another.
In my general experience, I’ve noticed most plants need less water than what people are giving them, and many plants like to have their soil almost dry between waterings. This is just a general rule though, and is no replacement for actually learning about your plants.
It’s easy to see why too little water is bad, but less people understand why too much is. The problem is that the roots of the plant will sit in the water, which can cause them to rot in a process appropriately named root rot. This is especially a problem for plants in containers where the water has nowhere to go, or in slow draining soil.
Create a Gardening Schedule
One of the most helpful things to me when starting out was to create a schedule for gardening and sticking to it. So many people get excited and go out and plant a beautiful garden, but then forget to water or check for pests and soon end up with a less beautiful garden. Don’t let that happen, set a schedule and stick to it!
While the first thing that comes to mind here is watering, there are actually a couple of things you should be doing with the same frequency. The first is to look for any signs of weeds or overgrown plants. These issues are much easier to fix when they begin, but can quickly grow out of hand. That’s why it’s important to catch them early, and prevent them from eating up too much of the nutrients your plants need.
This is also a good time to keep an eye out for pests. Things like dying plants, holes in leaves, or the pests themselves are all good things to keep an eye out for. Like weeds, the earlier you catch them, the easier it is to get rid of them. It also helps keep the damage to your plants to a minimum.
It’s a simple tip, but is a good practice to get into. Simply walk your plants a few days a week, give them some water, and keep an eye out for any problems.
Know The Best Time To Harvest
Lastly, a good tip for those growing fruits and veggies is to know your harvest date. There’s nothing worse than putting in the effort to grow delicious food only to realize you picked it too soon.
This once again goes back to knowing the plants, but can also have a bit of personal preference thrown in there. Many plants having a range of time that they’re good to harvest, but have a slightly different taste during that range.
Many peppers for example start off milder, and then as they age get hotter or sweeter depending on the variety. If you’re looking for a little less spice then picking a week or two early might actually be a good thing. It really depends both on the plant as well as the person.
Beginner Gardening Tips
While there’s much more to it than that, these tips should hopefully get you started with gardening. There really is no substitute for practice; the best thing you can do is get out there and start growing. If you like me live in a place with a harsh winter then growing indoors is a fantastic alternative, and we’ve put together a guide to getting started with indoor gardening. Check it out, and let us know how your garden grows!