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Whether you’ve recently moved into your new home, or just haven’t ever tried your hand at gardening before, starting your first garden is an exciting and enjoyable time, with all kinds of unexpected benefits to come. From improving your mood and encouraging relaxation, to improving the appearance and even the buyer-appeal of your property, there are very few, if any drawbacks to growing and maintaining a nice garden. Gardening can involve a lot of work though, especially if you don’t know where to start, or how to give your early garden the best chance at being successful. To help make your first shot at gardening a success, take a look at our top 5 new gardener tips;
1 – Start small
You don’t need a full sized garden to get started, nor do you need to get your whole garden done at once. Start small by picking a spot or corner which gets 6 or more hours of sunlight per day and experiment with a plant or two that you’re interested in. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by the task, and leave you time and space to experiment and learn what you like.
If possible, choose a high rather than low area to start. Cold air settles in low areas first, so these areas will frost quicker. Stay away from trees which will shade and steal nutrients from your plants, and make sure it is in easy watering distance from your house.
2 – Invest in your soil
You can’t underestimate the importance of the soil you use in your garden. Whether the space you’re using is small or large it’s worth ensuring the soil you’re using is healthy, since poor soil will only hinder your garden and make the whole process more difficult and tiresome. You can buy topsoil compost, or just make your own using garden and food waste. The former might seem easier but if you really want to get involved in the garden there is no substitute to making your own compost. It can ward off diseases in plants, slowly release micronutrients, improve and restore exhausted soil. Healthy soil will grow healthy plants, fruit and veg, and is a starting point you shouldn’t neglect.
3 – Mulch
A mulch is a layer of material, such as leaves, grass cuttings, newspaper or bark, applied to the surface of an area of soil or around existing plants to regenerate the soil. It can conserve moisture, reduce weed growth and improve fertility, and is considered by many an essential early step before starting work on any new garden.
With weeds being the number one cause of failure for an early gardener, a good mulch can not only stop or slow them down, but also nourish your soil for next year’s planting. Find out what kind of mulch is going to work best for your garden and spread a layer around your plants to protect their roots from cold and nourish the soil.
4 - Feed the soil, not the plants
Just as our bodies can tell the difference between a vitamin tablet and a diet of vegetables, so can your plants. Healthy plants need healthy roots, which need healthy soil for air, water and nutrients, delivered in forms that the plant can use. Having soil rich in organic matter, your own compost for example, will keep your plants healthy and happy from the bottom up.
5 - Don’t over-tend
First time gardeners can often get caught-up in the excitement of seeing their plants grow and damage or kill them by over-watering, moving and replanting them. It’s tough to know exactly what your garden will need, since each is different, but you can cause as much harm as good by being over-enthusiastic. If you are unsure, it’s always best to ask someone knowledgeable.
If you’re a tenant in rented accommodation…
You should make sure that you get the landlords permission before starting any work on their garden. Garden improvements should be welcomed by most landlords but it’s always worth checking, especially if you plan on investing in tools and equipment. Remember to make a note of what equipment is yours and what belongs to the landlord, and remember to declare any major purchases such as mowers and shed’s to your tenant’s insurance provider!
In the early days of your garden you should expect to encounter problems – plants will die or not grow at all, but you shouldn’t let this dishearten you. With the range of variables that could be causing the difficulties, from poor soil to insects and the weather, the key is to persevere and find ways to make your garden successful.
This article was written by David Rendell – content writer for Confused.com, the tenants insurance online quotes provider.