Top tips for novice gardeners

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One of the biggest steps we ever make is that move into our first home and the garden usually is a big factor in the property we choose. Thinking of raising a family? A big garden is a must! Love entertaining? There’s nothing better than family and friends getting together and having drinks and a barbecue on the patio.

But of course, just as your home needs almost constant cleaning and maintenance to remain looking pristine, our gardens need just as much attention. And whereas most of us are able to do the dusting, washing, vaccuuming and painting without too much of a problem, gardening tasks can be a little more taxing. For the fact is that every new gardener will suffer from the same thing – a total lack of experience and knowledge.

Don’t know your top soil from your compost? Thinking of growing veggies but have no idea when or how to plant them? More scared of worms than they are of you? Perceive the mower as a potential death trap?

It is not difficult to learn to garden but to become a good gardener will take time. Ask most professionals and they will say that their skills and intuition are acquired and cultivated over the course of their lifetime.

Here are Stock Gardens’ top tips for the novice gardener…

How much time are you willing to dedicate to your garden? Get to know what you have!

You are unlikely to have hours every weekend to devote to gardening, planting, weeding, mowing and pruning, so we encourage you to start small. If you already have a large lawn but not many plants, don’t try to immediately create new beds and borders – get used to mowing and strimming your grass until it becomes something you are totally comfortable with. Over the course of time, you will notice your lawn’s little quirks; the parts that get a lot of sun and grow quickly; those lumpy bits in your lawn that will need careful attention when mowing.

Once you ‘know’ the parts of the garden you already have, you can then start thinking about adding to it.

How much sun does your garden get and where?

Tempting as it is, don’t just grab the ‘prettiest’ plants from the garden centre and plant them wherever you want. Some plants require full sun, some need partial shade, and others want mainly shade.

So when you are looking into which plants you want, consider where they will need to be located, and remember that the sun moves over the course of the day and its angle can drastically change with the seasons. A plant that enjoys partial sun in April may be exposed to intense rays in August, which could destroy a fragile plant.

Don’t go overboard with the watering and feeding

We’ve all done it – so worried that your garden isn’t getting enough water and nutrients that you’re out watering and fertilising on a daily basis. However, most plants need only about an inch of water per week; for example, basil – well known for its fragility – thrives in Italy, a country known for its heat and lack of rainfall. Too much water and that basil isn’t going to be happy.

Other factors for the first time gardener to consider are:

  • What sort of soil do you have?
  • What pests may you encounter and what are the best ways to get rid of them?
  • What plants, fruits and vegetables require minimal skill and attention to thrive?
  • What tools will you need?

Top tips for novice gardeners…

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