Are you new to gardening? If you are, you might have heard that spring is the perfect time to get outside in your wellies, brandish a trowel and find yourself ankle deep in soil. And, you’d be absolutely right! As soon as spring breaks, flowers begin to bloom and many gardeners think about what they want to achieve with their garden over the coming year. But, where does a beginner gardener start? Follow this advice and you’ll see your backyard flourish with colour and life!
The condition of your soil is the single most important factor in gardening. If it’s wet, you’ll need to wait until it’s dried out (otherwise it will turn to rock hard clumps when you start digging it). To find out its condition, take a handful of soil and squeeze it: if it turns to a ball, wait a few more days, but it crumbles through your fingers, it’s ready to go.
You’ll also need to make sure your soil has the right pH level (the correct balance of sulphur and lime to provide the optimum condition for your garden to thrive). You can do this by buying a kit.
Prepare your planting areas
To get the ground ready to accept new seeds, you’ll need to dig the earth over by turning it on itself and ‘fluffing’ it up. Remove weeds and debris and any bits of rock that will get in the way of your precious seedlings. Add a layer of compost (about 4 to 5 inches will do) and incorporate it into the soil using a gardening fork.
Choose your plants
Seeds, half-matured plants and flowering shrubs are readily available from reputable outlets. Some plants are easier to grow than others, so give yourself a fair start by choosing something forgiving and pretty: for instance, sunflowers, sweet peas, marigolds, fuchsias and pansies are great flowers to begin with.
If you’d like to grow a vegetable garden, try growing lettuce, kale and radish. In fact, radishes are one of the fastest vegetables you can grow and will be ready to harvest and enjoy in your summer salads within a month!
Care for your lawn
During spring, your lawn will be growing fast. You’ll need to ‘feed’ it using a fertiliser, weed it regularly and mow it often too. Mow your lawn once a week during spring, upping it to twice a week during summer (unless there are periods of drought, in which case, once a week is plenty). For more advice on how to care for your lawn in springtime, check out this helpful video from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Give water, but not too much
One thing beginner gardeners fear above all else is over-watering or under-watering their gardens. It’s a tricky thing to get right and it all depends on the type of soil you have. Light, sandy soil needs watering more often than heavy soil, but less water can be applied at each watering. However, heavy soils can be watered less frequently, but will need a heavier dousing each time because heavy soil holds more water within its structure. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need about 25 litres of water per square metre of garden every 10 days to maintain plant growth. Just bear in mind that rain water counts towards this limit.