5 Handy Gardening Tips

Healthy Recipes and Nutrition
on April 13, 2012

Planting a garden brings an enormous amount of pleasure to a countless number of individuals. The satisfaction of tending plants and seeing them grow can be a great way to relax and enjoy your leisure time, but it’s worth remembering that it takes a lot of hard work, too. If you are considering planting a garden, whether for the first time or as an experienced gardening fanatic, follow these tips to make your life easier.

Choose the right plot. Gardens come in all shapes and sizes, and regardless of how big or small your plot is, you can almost certainly plant a successful crop. You need to be realistic about the size of plot that you can look after, however, so try starting off with something small and manageable and then, if space permits, expand the area to include more land. Look for a plot that gets as much sun as possible during the day, and, if possible, where there is some shelter from the wind.

Get the right soil. The soil in your garden is extremely important to the well-being of your plants. Ideally, you should have a sandy loam, which should form a ball when dry. The ball should then fall apart when touched. This allows for adequate drainage and offers great growing conditions. If the soil is predominantly sand or clay, then you can amend by adding compost.

Develop a plan. A great garden requires planning. This plan should include which vegetables and plants you intend to grow and their relative locations in the plot based on the time of year. You should aim to grow different plants throughout the year to take advantage of seasonal conditions. Without a plan, you will be unsure what to plant and when you can expect to harvest your crop. If you are inexperienced, use online resources, such as the University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center for research and advice.

Preparation is key. The more work that you can do to prepare the ground, the more successful your planting is likely to be. Mark out the area to be prepared and use a fork or spade to loosen the soil. If the soil is very dry, water it first, but don’t dig if the ground is muddy. Turn over the soil, break up clumps, remove rocks and weeds, and then mark out beds where you will plant seeds or plants. This is a time-consuming exercise, but it reaps dividends later in the year.

Develop the right practices. Tending a planted garden is an ongoing process. You cannot simply plant something and then wait. While one crop is growing, you should be planning and/or planting the next one so that you have a continual output. Learn when to water, when to fertilize, and when to prune or stake plants that need support to grow. Lastly, remember that there is still sometimes a little trial and error required before you start to see results.