Gardening is a great hobby to take up, especially as spring begins. It gets you outside to enjoy the fresh air, gives your home some added curb appeal, and can produce beautiful and rewarding results. Gardening on your property is a simple, and (sometimes) inexpensive way to DIY when it comes to renovating the space around your home. Whether you’re looking for an escape from a home in need of a renovation or just want to spend time outdoors while your home is being renovated, some basic gardening tools along with these 7 tips and tricks will give you the confidence to get growing.
1. Know Your Location
Take the time to get to know your space. Choose a place in your yard to start your garden that you’ll see regularly. Look at the characteristics of your garden area including the climate, sun exposure, and size. It’s important to become familiar with the space so that you’re able to know the limits and possibilities in terms of what you can plant.
2. Choose the Right Plants
It’s best to start off with easy plants that will work well for the conditions of your garden. You can find more information on this by exploring the United States Department of Agriculture’s plant hardiness zone map (http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/). When you’ve confirmed that your plants will grow in your zone, make sure you plant them at the right time of year.
3. Start with Great Soil
When starting a garden, one of the top pieces of advice is to make sure you are working with soil that is nutrient-rich and well-drained. To get a thorough reading of your soil’s pH and nutrient levels, try an at-home testing kit which you can find at any gardening or home improvement store. This will tell you how acidic or alkaline your soil is, which affects how plants absorb nutrients. Since different plants flourish best in different pH levels, this test will help you decide what to plant or if you need to treat your soil. Make sure to examine the texture as well. It should be easily shoveled and crumble in your hands. If not, try adding fresh soil, mulch, and compost as well as aerating the area prior to planting. Ensure proper drainage of the soil as well. If you’re using planters of any type, be mindful that stagnant water left in the pots will cause root rot over time and kill the plant.
4. Water Access
Make sure you are watering your plants on a consistent basis and that they are in fact getting enough water. This can vary from plant to plant. As a general rule of thumb, newer plants will be watered more frequently as they are just planting their roots. The time of day that you choose to water is also an important factor. Try watering earlier in the morning before it gets too warm so that your plants have a chance to soak up the water.
One of the best gardening tips you’ll often get is to plan your new garden near a water source, like a hose. That way, you don’t have to lug water to your garden each time you go to water. On particularly hot days, you may want to check if your plants need more water by pushing a finger an inch down into the soil. If it’s dry, it’s time to water.
5. Start Small and With a Plan
To avoid crowding, research your plants first so you know exactly how big they will get and how to space them out accordingly. It’s also important to know how high your plants will grow. This way, you can be mindful of taller plants that would block smaller ones. Also remember, the bigger the garden, the more time and energy it will require to maintain. Examine what you want and then scale it down. You can always expand your garden as time goes on. If you’re not sure which plants to buy, take a research trip to a local nursery and snap photos of plants you’d like to consider adding to your garden. Look at the tags and note down when they bloom, as well as sun and water requirements. Pulling this information together into a sketched-out plan takes extra time initially but will make for a more successful garden in the end.
6. Mix up perennials and annuals
When selecting your plants, try not to grab too many plants from the “annuals” section. Doing so will make for a garden that dies back within a single year. For longevity and color, go for a mix of both perennials and annuals.
7. Learn your frost dates
Planting too early or too late in the season can be detrimental to your garden. You need to know the last average spring frost date for your area so you don’t accidentally kill plants by putting them out too soon.
Seeking out local workshops is a wonderful way to learn more about gardening and connect with other gardeners in your community. Check local plant nurseries and community gardens, they usually offer free or low-cost workshops on a wide range of gardening. Remember, this hobby is a lifelong learning experience, so don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. What’s important is that you start somewhere and learn what works for your space and what doesn’t. Once you have your garden perfected, then you can focus on some home renovations to perfectly round out your entire living space. When that time comes, contact Northern Craft Construction to make your home just as beautiful as your new garden.