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Beginner Gardening Tips – Get All the Easy Basics
Need container gardening ideas on what season is best for beginning gardeners? Which plants to use? Simple design tips for beginners? What are the really basic tools you will need? Consider this your beginner’s guide to gardening.
My first great idea if you are new to gardening is simple – Start Simple! Although you can fill your flower pots any time of year and any way you like, my best advice is to follow these tips:
- The right season: Start your container garden in a season where you can choose from lots of flowers and easy-to-grow ones. For most of us, these are spring and summer annuals.
- A simple design plan: Have a simple garden design plan – one large planter and three to five smaller ones is a great way to start (remember – stick with an odd number). You can experiment with different types (clay pots, window boxes, glazed ceramic pots, terra cotta) – lots of possibilities!). Try a corner: Using several outdoor planters gives you several different design options. Whether you garden on a terrace or balcony, or have flowers on a roof or terrace, try to start with one corner: you can arrange a large one, surround it with a smaller one (remember to use a triangular shape if you can raise it from front to back at the height of the pot). Place medium and smaller pots on a wrought iron stand (here you can effectively use the plants behind them), emphasize a large planter. Create an asymmetrical design by placing a large pot to the left or right, a few striking flower pots around it, and then a few left ones.
- Level the ground: Start with commercially made potting soil. It is by far the best choice. You don’t want to get sidetracked by trying to mix your own potting soil in the beginning. Plus, this gives you time to really learn what type of plants you want to keep growing. Cacti and succulents need significantly different soils than plants and herbaceous perennials. Learn what you like, then learn to mix the soil they like. Another good thing about commercial mixes is that you won’t have to deal with pests, weeds, and soil-borne diseases.
Get the Basics: Don’t go wild, just get the gardening tools you need. You’ll have fun adding more gardening supplies later. Start with hand tools:
- spatula (the spatula variant is great, with teeth)
- shovel (for a large pot)
- gardening gloves
- mixing bowl for soil, water gel crystals, fertilizer balls (a small wheelbarrow or any old tub will do – just make sure you can move it)
- A GOOD pair of garden shears. If you have to invest something, do it here. You won’t believe how much you will use your pruning shears.
Here’s a little more information on the basic gardening supplies you’ll want:
- Pruning shears: Be sure to get pruning shears, not pruning shears, which are too big for container gardening. And make sure you like the way they fit and feel in your hand.
- A watering can: Try to get one with a detachable nozzle so you can unclog it. This also gives you the ability to water without a tip and send a stronger stream into your plant container. Plastic is a good choice here – you can find large watering cans that hold a lot of water but are lightweight. Other materials such as painted pewter or decorative metal can be beautiful, but can rust and become heavy.
- Water nozzle: If you have the option, it’s always a good idea to place your container garden near the hose. It is much, MUCH easier to buy a nozzle with a bunch of settings (“jet” for cleaning, “shower” for watering, etc.) than to try to do it with a single watering can with only one setting.
- Optional: a knife (good for dividing plants), a hat and a plastic tarp (good for planting, makes cleaning much easier).
- Gloves: I don’t know about you, but I end up taking off my gardening gloves all the time. They are too bulky and clumsy for me and I can’t get a good feel for plants and soil – especially small plants and potting soil that needs a little softening. I use those really thin plastic gloves that you can buy at any grocery store. You can buy a whole box for little money. They’re cracking, I have to be honest. But that’s better than nothing – which is what I usually end up doing!
Okay, one last thought: Another great thing about container gardening is that you don’t have to weed! Well, not much anyway!
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