Top Ten Tips To Start Gardening

Maybe you’ve moved into a new house and inherited a garden that you want to get involved in or that you have a blank canvas and want to get the garden going for you and your family.

Gardening is not an exact science and mistakes will be made at the start and during your gardening time in the garden but you as the gardener will always be learning and the reward will be great.

Here are some basic tips to get you started and going:

1. Know your soil

Soil, as a gardener is your best friend. There are many different types of soil.  For example, Sandy and Light or Clay and Heavy soils.  Different plants will suit different soil so seek out what soil you have and plant accordingly.  Soil test kits can be found in your local garden centre to carry this out.

2. Give your plants enough space

You will go and visit your garden centre as an enthusiastic gardener equivalent to that of a kid in a candy shop – sometimes we get carried away and buy too many plants suitable for the bed we have in mind – always give your plants enough space to grow.  The space required for each plant you buy will be on the label of the plant – packed in plants require more maintenance, more watering, more fertiliser and are more prone to disease etc such as powdery mildew.

3.  Be gentle

Plants are an investment for you and for your garden and  do require some TLC – after visiting your local garden centre, avoid just jamming into your car as they will break.  Why not, if you have a good load, get the garden centre to deliver them for you – they’ll take care of them and will be in great condition upon arrival to your garden. When you are planting them, turn the pot upside down, squeeze the sides slightly, tap the bottom of the pot and the plant should slip out into your hand ready for planting

4.  Have a garden design

If you are starting off with your garden and do not have a design your garden will be a mix patch quilt and bitty as there will be no cohesion to your garden – there will be a bit of a bed here, a bit of a bed there – a great garden will begin with a design so you can adhere to it as you go along.  This design can be done in stages or altogether but its important its stuck to it – yes you might change a few bits as you go along but overall it’ll be the design you started with.

The design can be either done by you or a professional.  there are many designers out there for yo to choose from.  If doing yourself, assess the garden and all aspects of it – make notes as to where the sun is througout the day – no point in building your nice new patio and then discover its its the shade!!!

5. Watering

Watering is one of the main requirements of your garden and will make it happy  and healthy.  A good watering of a new garden and a well established garden is key to its success – yes it does rain a lot in Ireland but a lot of the time, rain will get not much further than the canopy of the plant. When watering, its best to fill up a wheelie bin or water butt then using 2 10 litre watering cans, dip them in, fill them up and empty on the plants/beds – its a very efficient way to water as the amount is quantified – if you don’t have this, a hose will suffice but keep those plants watered

This shows the water butt technique we use for watering – fill it up, leave the tap running, dip in watering cans and pour away – its a great workout too!!!

When you’ve finished an area move it around so you are not waling too far

6.  Feeding & Fertilising

Up there with watering.  If you feed your garden – beds and lawn it will be lush, green and healthy looking – we would use chicken pellets a lot which again are available in any good garden centre – a handful per small plant with your garden going up to 3 or 4 for bigger specimen plants within your garden

There are Westland product available

Lawn fertilisers are pick a plenty – I like a fertiliser without any Iron in it as Iron will stain paved areas with ‘Rust’ like spots – Lawn fertilisers range with NPK quantities but a general one would be 24:4:4 but if you ask a garden centre assistant they will advise to which they stock –  a slow release fert is better too as  it will last for 3-4 months and generally it doesn’t burn the lawn like other products can

7. Labelling

For first-time gardeners, it can be easy to forget what you’ve planted and where. Take an extra minute to write a plant label (most plants you buy from a garden centre come with one) and pop it in the ground next to the seeds, bulbs or plants you’ve planted.  Its a good practice to get into

8.  Weeding

Its a love/hate relationship with most but weeding is an essential part of the gardeners program of works.  Weeds once controlled shouldn’t take long to do and its about having the correct tool for the job.  A hoe is used for this job and there are many types – for me personally I like an oscillating hoe – this has a pivot on it and moves back and forth thrashing thru your weeds.  They come in different widths too so you can be precise when required

Any weeds should be avoided being placed in your compost area as they will seed and will give you extra work when weeding out

9. Pick the Right Tools for the Job (Without Going Overboard)

Having the proper tools makes garden chores more pleasant — but don’t think you need to buy out the garden centre on day one. Just a few tools and supplies should keep your garden running smoothly. The basics include:

  • Gardening gloves –  Choose a pair that feels comfortable and protects against thorns.
  • Spade – This is essential for preparing sizable garden beds and for digging holes for trees, shrubs and large plants. A shovel with a pointed tip is more versatile than a flat spade.
  • Trowel and weeding tool  – Use these tools to dig holes for planting and pull weeds out at the root.
  • Long garden hose and spray nozzle or water butt – Select a hose long enough to comfortably reach each of the main areas of your garden.
  • Hand pruner – Sharp clippers can trim branches and cut back woody plants like rosemary.
  • Metal rake – Use this to spread mulch and prepare beds for planting.
  • Leaf rake –Use a flexible plastic or bamboo rake to gather leaves.
  • Seceteurs – for prunning
  • A snow shovel – to scoop debris into your waste facility

10.  Have Fun with your Garden

Allow yourself to experiment and try new things. If you realise you’ve planted something in the wrong place – either because it’s the wrong height or colour, or because it’s not growing well – you can move it. Most plants and shrubs, even young trees, can be uprooted and replanted.  We as gardeners are always learning and gardens always evolve – always have fun with it – it will reward you for years and years to come

Thanks for reading now go do some gardening,

Darragh

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Darragh’s work is mainly in Dublin and North Wicklow. He regards himself as a person that carries out all work thoroughly, to the highest standard possible and takes pride in doing so.

He builds his business through client referral and satisfaction. He is purely focused on garden care and will look after your garden like it’s his own.

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