Get Your Garden Started
The Very First Point
Getting started with gardening can be a daunting task, although with a few basic tools a bit of imagination, you'll have a luscious, colourful garden in no time.
Firstly, look at what you've already been accumulating around the house, the shed and the garage.
What tools are already in the back shed? Can you borrow what you don't have off your Mum & Dad or even your next door neighbour?
What land do you have to work with to create a garden? Is there a garden or an outline of a garden already?
Are there already plants growing you can use? Or do you have an overgrown, out of control garden that needs cutting back?
Gardening doesn't have to be a big, expensive task. Use some tips from here, look around, check out the street you live in...there's plenty that just needs a bit of elbow grease instead of cash.
What You Will Need To Get Started
The most basic tool you will need, is a shovel. Depending on whether you're starting a garding from scratch or re-vamping an old garden, will determine what other tools you require.
- If you have a lot of heavy digging a mattock or a pick axe will also be needed, but not necessary.
- A large gardening fork, as shown above, to turn the soil. Again, this task can also be done with a shovel, by using the fork the chore will be easier, more efficient and simply faster.
- A small, hand tool. A fork or small trowel will be sufficient to either dig holes for plants or weed. (HINT) If things are really tight financially, a kitchen fork will also work.
- Clippers will also be needed if pruning and tidying up an established garden. Scissors will just not cut it, sharpen any old tree secateurs you attempt to use for a clean, sharp cut. (HINT) Always cut any branches etc on a diagonal, so water drips off easily.
- Watering can or hose. (HINT) A cheap option is to use a plastic drink container i.e milk container with holes pierced in the lid for the water to flow out of.
These tools are the most basic required to get you started gardening. Nowadays, there is a tool for absolutely every task you have to do, the above are a few suggestions to get the garden started. Maintaining it may require further equipment.
Getting Your New Garden Rolling
Creating a map or plan, will assist with the general layout of your desired garden. It will make the task of creating a whole garden more manageable, as well as give you an opportunity to design a garden with a particular theme or style. (HINT) If creating a garden from scratch, lay carpet over the grass where you intend to dig. The grass will die after approx 3-4 days making weeding the grass much easier.
Dig and turn the dirt to approx 50cm deep. Break up any large clumps of dirt with the tip of your shovel, mixing the topsoil, with the bottom layers of soil.
Sift handfuls of dirt through the head of a rake, picking out any large clumps of dirt, rocks, weeds, roots or anything that's not dirt. This job can go on forever, so clear as much as you can, within reason or at least stop before your fingers start bleeding!
Add some animal manure to your dirt digging it into the soil. The dirt will retain more water and have some nutrients for your plants to grow.This will assist in developing your raw dirt into soil, over time.
The most common animal fertiliser available is often horse or cow manure. Both can be mixed in with the soil and can be reasonably close to your seedlings. Chicken poo is best soaked in water overnight ina bucket and poured in a large ring, around the seeding or plants as it can often burn plants roots.
Start a compost bin where you store your food scraps and green waste (NOT WEEDS), to break down and also be worked into your soil. (HINT) Retain any water that you've boiled vegies in, once cooled this can be immediately poured in a circle around any plants.
Plants, Plants and A Few More Plants
Plants will grow in just about any area of your garden. The trick is matching what grows best, in the environment you naturally have to work with. Look into your neighbours gardens, what's growing well in there? There's your answer.
Obtaining plants can be quite inexpensive, if you have some patience waiting for them to grow.
- Purchase a packet of root solution and take cuttings from your neighbours plants. Only take cuttings from healthy, luscious plants. (HINT) Never take cuttings from plants that have disease or insect indicators as they will develop in your garden.
- Plant a packet of seeds. This will take at least 8 - 12 weeks to have flowers on small flowering plants.
- Find the discount rack at local plant shops. Often plants are drastically reduced that just need some tender loving care, and to be out of the big black pot bounding up their roots. (HINT) Gently beak away with your hand fork some dirt and roots to assist root bound plants in their transition to the garden. Water new plants vigorously.
- Ask family and friends if they have any un-wanted plants. You'll be surprised at the variety of your donations.
Some Extra's That Won't Break The Bank
- Snail bait - snails will eat just about every plant you care about. There are many natural methods to eliminate snails but I believe, snail bait works the best. (HINT) Take care with animals as snail bait can be poisonous. Dogs who eat snail bait can die so if you have dogs, don't use snail bait.
- Wood chips or mulch - Spread a layer approx 4 cm deep of either wood chips or mulch. This will help retain moisture in the soil and stop snails attacking your plants.
- Planters, bathtubs, containers, decorated pots, discarded furniture - Make your garden as unique as you are, plant a variety of plants in anything your imagination thinks of. Depending on the material a layer of plastic may be required before adding dirt and plants.
- Bush Rock, bricks, pavers - Build boundaries around gardens to help contain soil and mulch, particularly when watering.
- Sprinklers, underground drip system, weeping hose - Regularly watering you plants is a must, particularly at the establishment phase. (HINT) slow, thorough watering every 2-3 days will promote deep root growth in plants. Turn the hose on to slow and let water trickle over plants until saturated to a depth of approx 20 cm, depending on the maturity of the plant.
Getting started gardening is something any person can do. With a bit of ingenuity and recycling, you can create a unique, personal garden without it costing a fortune.
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