Are you planning on starting gardening in 2018 – these tips are going to help set your right.
My questions are still many (Why do so many different variations of compost exist? Who makes use of rubbing alcohol? Has the plant died or is it simply dormant?), however, I have learned plenty along the way as well. Allow me to share some of those things with you:
It’s More Than Likely That You Are Over-watering It
It really is a tragic thing that many plants suffer from ‘death caused by great intentions’. It is a lot easier to kill something because you over-watered it than because you under-watered it. One method of finding out is to stick a finger in the soil – if you can feel moisture it is more than likely that you don’t need to water it. The same can be said if the soil feels moldy, it has discolored leaves or, as was the case with my last year’s petunias, you have mushrooms sprouting.
Don’t Expect Everything To Bloom At The Same Time
A huge frustration when it comes to gardening in small spaces is that end-of-season plant flowers can be more than obvious without other foliage either hiding them or detracting from them. However, unless you love that hotel look where perfectly shaped plant balls make their appearance everywhere, you are just going to need to get used to it. However, you can get around the issue by having beautiful evergreens taking up the bulk of your pots which will give something of interest all year around, and don’t hesitate to re-pot or even get rid of unpromising performers so that new replacements can shine.
You Need To Plan
We can all be tempted to buy every attractive plant that you see and hope it will make it. Certainly, following this method and seeing what makes it and what doesn’t serves as an educational lesson, however, you will (I did too) find yourself with a reigning chaos in your plant range which hardly looks attractive in a small space. Take the time to work out what you like then sit down and plan what is going to look good where in your urban garden and how much time you want to spend there.
If you have a dark, windy corner there is little point in filling it with a fragile vine that loves the sun, just like there is no point in putting a plant that loves the shade into a window box with no covering. In addition, you will not likely have room for a big garden patch and a table for dining so you need to plan your space to get the most from it. At the end, when you see all of your plans coming together over the season, that sense of satisfaction is sure to outweigh the momentary gratification you would have had from an impulse buy – granted it did take me a whole two years to learn that simple fact.
Get Reading (Or Get Googling)
It may be boring, but it is very true. I only have a small gardening knowledge but I gained it through online forums, library books and RHS guides. You don’t need to learn the A-Z of gardening, in fact, it is likely better to research one issue at a time. If something sounds way too good to be true (like a boiled lemon will keep the greenfly away) it likely is, but you are still glad that you learned the fact. If your advice is coming from an online source make sure the climate is the same as your own – reading about flourishing Basil plants in December in California isn’t going to be of much to use to someone in London.
Start A Gardening Journal
Soothing Walls recommend that when you document how you are getting on you will be able to see your improvements
Make a record of your progress
During September and October plant bulbs and enjoy the fact that in six months time you will see the benefit. Waking up on a cold February morning to see new shoots peeking their way out is great, however, it is pretty undermined by the guesswork that has to come with not noting down what you planted. Take plenty of photos during the season so that you can see how far you’ve made it and where there is room for improvement.
You Don’t Need To Make Thing Perfect At Once
You are not going to do much for your beginner gardening motivation labels if you spend half of your day drooling over professional photos of urban gardens on idyllic patios and balconies. As is the case with a lot of what we find online, many of these gardens are not completely connected to reality. Instead, decide on a few small goals; try out a few growths from seeds or plant a summer container and then try to keep it well maintained. Once you see your garden growing, your ambition won’t be far behind.
Head To The Supermarket For Stock Bargains
If you are just a beginner, you can get yourself rather overwhelmed in a garden center. However, adding a tray of sweetpea seedling to your basket already containing Corn Flakes and bread can be a simple way to add some summer color. Then, once you know what you want to do, head over to the garden center for plants that will last longer. If there is a plant nursery nearby, get yourself over there to get some inspiration, as well as advice – I find the staff where I go are always able to answer my questions and give me suggestions of new things to try.
You Really Don’t Need All Those Things You Think You Need
Up until the point that I inherited an old Beldray watering can from my grandfather last summer I used to use recycled pop bottles to do all of the watering on my balcony (just punch a few holes on the top). By accident I bought a child’s trawl and never did upgrade, I think snips are useful but when your garden is small you want all the space you have to be about the plants.
Wooden crates have been pot stands, olive oil cans have acted as pots and jam-jars as lanterns. When you improvise it means you can use your money on what you finally figure out is your plan.
When You See New Growth You Know It’s All Worth It
I won’t be the fist or the last person to boast about the benefits of growing things. There really is a simple and rather addictive enjoyment that comes from seeing colored petals or green leaves on a wintry day. Be sure to indulge in the results of your labor and if something doesn’t grow, don’t worry about – you can be sure something else will do.