Choosing gardening for your hobby is a very wonderful decision. This hobby is a great and advantageous activity. It helps with stress management, weight loss, and most importantly helps provide groceries for the family. This, therefore, cuts down on the cost of feeding your family. Quite impressive, right?
However, there are things to contemplate before you decide and fully make up your mind about gardening as a hobby. Make sure you consider the following gardening tips before moving forward. Write your answers down so you don’t forget them.
Chew These Things over
What to plant?
Do you already know what you intend to plant in your garden? Have you thought about the type and species of plants that will look good in your garden? Do you already have a picture of what type of plant you’d love to have in the garden? If not, your gardening tips start with thinking about these things before you start preparing your garden.
You should decide what type of garden you want. Is it a flower garden? What about a veggie garden? Or both?! It’s all up to you to decide. Take a pick. The ball is in your court! If you are unsure what you want to plant a great place to start is by reading a book about different gardens, check out our article with the best books for beginners.
My garden space – Good or bad?
Having a garden is not always about how big or small it is (although that is also important). Your garden space should have the basic requirements that plants need to grow and thrive. Your plants will need access to sunlight and water.
Make sure that the garden is located in a place where access to water is going to be easy, and also, a place where the garden shouldn’t be too shady or sunny. Too much shade or sun could be harmful to your plants. Find the best location best suited for the plant type you have chosen then go to the next step.
Do I Need A Soil Boost?
Urghh, Soil, soil, soil, and soil again!! (I know that’s what the little voice in your head is saying). Well, Yes!! It is soil again my friend.
Don’t forget that gardening involves you getting your hands dirty in the soil. Although, later in this post, I am going to give you the general tip on how to escape dirtying your hands.
Now, remember, the soil is the most important feature of your garden. Without it, your efforts will be fruitless. Never plant in dead soil. Find out if your soil is going to require a soil boost before putting any innocent seedling or plant in it. This will save you from casting blame on anybody for not taking care of the watering properly.
Go ahead and get a soil test done. Although this might incur more cost to your budget, ask a professional gardener for help, purchase plant soil in the plant center, and boost your soil with organic matter before you plant.
Note: The best soil for planting is the loamy soil- what we popularly call the humus.
Baby or Adult Seed?
To plant, you must have seeds. This is the start of your plant. You should decide if you want a baby seed (seedling) or an adult seed (set plant or transplant).
Adult seeds come in the form of soil plants. All you need to do for adult seeds is transplant them into your already improved soil. Always have it at the back of your mind that baby seeds need to be moist at all times so they don’t rot.
Annuals, perennials, or Veggies?
Pick your plant type. Head to the garden center, look some up in the catalogs or ask any employee for help. Just puck a soil type that you are sure you will be able to handle. Some annuals that are best for beginners are sunflower, calendula, and zinnias.
Some perennials that are quite easy to handle and are also aesthetically appealing are daylilies, pansies, and lambs ears.
Our favorite veggies are tomatoes, lettuce, and pepper. These plants are the most popular and can be found in most gardens. You can also choose to opt for mixed cropping where you can include different species of the plants just as long as they are spaced properly and labeled accordingly.
Have you thought about these? Now, let us gather our tools. I mean not just any tool. Let us get the right tools.
Getting the Right Tools
Can you be a gardener without the right tools? No! You can’t go to the farm with just a piece of wood. This also applies to the garden.
These are the necessary tools every beginner gardener should have.
This is the general tip for not soiling bare hands that I told you about earlier.
A piece of advice: Never neglect this tool. This is going to be your favorite companion in your garden arsenal. You should not try to do without it.
Although this may not be regarded as a tool in the normal sense, it is the most important possession of a gardener. This accessory protects your hands (which will have to be at work all the time) from harmful scratches and from getting dirty. It also protects your wrist and fingers from the pest attack and injuries from plant branches.
This is an essential tool especially if you want to own a medium or large scale garden. All plants require water to grow (no matter what quantity is needed). This tool is used for watering the plants and makes it easier for you to feed your plants with water from whatever distance just as long as it is connected to a source of water supply. It might seem heavy and bulky to handle but there are still lighter and smaller sizes of this tool available for sale at the market.
But in the absence of this tool, there is an alternative- the famous watering can. This is quite popular but its fame has decreased as time goes by. This is because it is quite difficult and stressful to use. It requires you to fill it up over and over again. Nonetheless, it still serves the desired purpose- which is to feed our thirsty plants.
The secateurs or pruning shears prevent you from ruining your delicate plants (such as herbs) during trimming and harvesting. It is an essential tool for a flower or vegetable garden. It makes the work easier for a gardener.
Hand Trowel/ Shovel
This is used to dig holes, transfer dirt, and also to transplant set plants. The two tools can be used interchangeably. You can either use the hand trowel or the shovel.
The shovel comes in different shapes and sizes best suited for your needs. You might require a bigger shovel for your large garden.
The garden knife or popularly known as the Hori-Hori garden knife is a great tool for beginners. It is of Japanese origin and can work either as a knife, ruler, or shovel.
It is excellent for new gardeners and makes it easier to dig small holes for seeds as you can use the ruler-like blade to measure depths.
Is your garden space a large one and do you desire to clear leaves from your garden? Then, you will want a rake! Use this tool to clear your garden lawn and also to spread soil or mulch. In case of a smaller garden or a container garden, make use of a hand rake. It is just as effective.
This a versatile tool used for preparing beds or ridges for planting. It can also be used for weeding and cultivating. It comes in a variety of types and shapes but all are for the same purpose.
This makes up your garden kit. The spade is very important for cultivating, weeding, transplanting, trenching, and other gardening procedures. It should not be left out when you purchase your tools.
This is not a must-have especially if you own a small garden but it is an additional tool. It is used to lift heavy loads and to hold tools to make it accessible during the gardening process.
It is also an additional tool because some other tools can easily replace it. Use it to dig holes, clear beds or ridges, remove weeds and stones, and to loosen the soil.
The above are the essentials but there are still others that can be an additional tool to your arsenal, such tools include:
- Garden brush
- Garden scissors
- Soil knife
- Posthole pincher
- Wheel edge
- Planting dibble
- Soil scoop
- Hand seeder
- Twist tiller, etc.
Congrats! Now you know the right tools for your garden.
Moving on, we are going to the tips for beginner gardeners.
Top 10 Gardening Tips for Beginners
The following are top-notch tips for you as a new gardener. I have gathered these tips from experienced gardeners, and they all said that this was how they started out. So, be assured that these are not a fad but a tested fact.
1. Know What to Plant
This is the first of the ‘know’ series. To be a successful gardener, you should know exactly what to plant. Knowing what to plant does not just mean making up your mind because you like it; it entails doing in-depth research on the various plants. This way you know how to grow them, and what these plants require to thrive. Such requirements might include the perfect climatic condition and access to water and sunlight.
This might be on the seedling packaging or in the catalogs so visit a plant center for more information.
2. Know Where to Plant
Find the right spot and location. You should study your plants well before planting them. Some plants require direct sunlight while others prefer shady environments. Know the plant’s requirements before you go ahead to plant them.
3. Know Your Soil
Very important. Test your soil to know if it is suitable for planting so you don’t waste your time and efforts on gardening and catering for the plants.
Take your soil to a professional to test it. If you don’t want to do this as it may incur more expenses, just improve the soil nonetheless.
Purchase organic matter to add acidity or alkalinity to your soil. Organic matters such as earthworms, dog poop, etc.
4. Know How To Plant
Take a brief course on gardening 101 if you don’t have any idea how or where to start. You should learn the basics of gardening from digging the soil, making beds, to weeding and water your plant.
Having a basic knowledge of gardening will make your journey smoother and more fun.
5. Gather The Right Tool Arsenal
Gather your arms and ammunition! It is time to plant. Get your tools ready, know the function of each tool, know how to maintain your tools, and ultimately know when to use your tools.
6. Start Small
It is quite advisable that as a beginner, you start small. Do not start with a huge space before you master the art. Gardening requires time and dedication so make sure you start with the right size and type of plant that you will be able to maintain and care for.
7. Keep Watering In Mind
Every plant needs water to grow. No matter the quantity, it still requires water. You should know the best time to water your plant. Do not forget to water your plant. Feed your plants the right amount of water and watch it grow healthy.
Do this using the garden hose for less stress or make use of the watering can.
8. Regular Maintenance
This is the real work. You will need to care for your garden properly. Caring for your garden by pruning your plants, weeding the area, spacing the plants, clearing stones, fighting pest infestation, adding fertilizer to increase soil fertility, and other maintenance activities.
You will quickly become a pro at this and see your garden flourish.
9. Exercise Patience
Plants don’t grow overnight. They are just like living things. They require time and care to grow. Some take months, some a year and others two years, all depending on the type of plant and the current season.
So don’t be disappointed if your plant is taking the time to grow. Be patient! It will grow in its season just as long as you have taken good care of it all along.
10. Be Ready To Harvest
Yay! This is the fun part of the whole thing – harvesting. When your plant is fully mature, you reap what you have sown. Gather your cultivating tools and take out your reward. Cook, eat, sell it or keep it, whatever! It’s all yours!
Apart from gardening being a fun hobby, it has way more interesting benefits to you, the gardener. Let’s look at some of them.
Why Gardening is not Just a Hobby:
It Helps In Stress Management
This activity helps you relieve the stress of a long week or day and helps you relax easily. It gives you something to distract yourself thereby taking your mind off the stress and worry.
It Is Good For Your Heart
Digging, weeding, pruning and others help the circulation of blood to the heart thereby allowing your heart to be stronger and younger.
It Makes You Stronger
It is a physical exercise that strengthens your muscles and bones, thereby giving you a strength boost without you noticing it.
It Boosts Your Vitamins Level
Exposure to the sunlight helps boost vitamin D which produces calcium (which is beneficial for strong bones and teeth) in the body. It is good for elderly people and even children.
It Gives A Cut On The Price Spent On Groceries
You might need to get some veggies in the grocery store but when you have them in your garden, it is a plus.
It Keeps You Healthier
When you eat food grown by you, without pesticides and preservatives, you eat healthier than when you eat food bought at the grocery store. Eating fresh food from your garden is good and makes you healthy.
It Helps In Weight Loss By Burning Calories
Activities such as weeding, climbing, walking, squatting, and lifting objects all help in calorie burning. When you do these, you tend to burn some unnecessary calories which results in losing weight and staying fit.
It Reduces the Risk Of Dementia
Many physicians have prescribed gardening as a hobby for elderly patients. This is because it helps them focus on the present activities, distracts them from irrelevant thoughts which help prevent dementia which is a mental illness common with the older age grade.
It Gives You A Sense Of Responsibility
When you become a gardener, you have more responsibilities awaiting you. You have to weed, feed your plants with water, apply fertilizers, monitor the plants from pest attack, trim and cultivate. All these will become part of your routine and this gives you a sense of responsibility because you will know the repercussions if you do not do these things.
It Is Great For Relieving Anger
I do this often. When I get angry, I go to granny’s garden to help her weed. I actually feel a little less angry when I do this. It gives me something to put my mind on and take away my thoughts from whatever is bothering me. So try this whenever you get the chance to.
It Helps To Generate Income
When you sell items grown in your gardens such as various types of flowers and vegetables, it generates income for you. This can serve as an added source of money for you and your family.
Though gardening has got its benefits, it also has its disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Gardening
It Is Time-Consuming
This is one of the major disadvantages of gardening. The time involved from the preparation of the garden to the harvesting period is actually really much. This can be quite consuming especially when you have another job which is also time-consuming.
It Requires the Cost Of Maintenance
Fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides, tools repair, and other maintenance requirements all need money to be acquired. Owning a garden requires you to include the cost of maintenance into your budget.
It Occupies Space
In a situation where you live in a small apartment, you might not have a yard or a rooftop to grow your own garden. Trying to grow one in your living space might create a crowded habitat. Ensure you have enough space before you start a garden.
You Can Sustain An Injury If You’re Not Careful
When handling some plants or gardening tools, you might sustain an injury or even trip and fall from a ladder if you own a larger garden. Carefulness and safety measures must always be observed.
It Can Lead To A Loss
When insects and other forms of pests prey on your plants, this can result in them dying or having stunted growth which automatically affects the capital which you invested in your garden and also the return which you expect.
Many gardeners have testified that gardening is very beneficial. It is a hobby that I will personally recommend to anybody. It just takes the right knowledge and decision to handle.
Not just is it a hobby, it has so many proven health benefits that you might not even know about. Remember the tips I shared with you in this article, do not miss out on this fun hobby. They will surely be very helpful on your way to a beautiful, green space. Take note of every one of them, prepare your budget and tools, learn how to label and recognize plants and the plant away.
I sincerely hope that this post will help you. Have fun while doing so, and enjoy watching the fruit of your labor. There is nothing more rewarding than watching your garden come to life.