What is the first step to starting a successful garden?
You must test your soil if you want to get the most out of your garden. There are 5 types of soil:
Soil can also be acidic or alkaline and different plants prefer different soil types, which means a plant in its preferred soil will always grow better.
If you would like crops in your garden, you need to consider whether the fruit or vegetables would be eaten fresh off the crop or if you would like to store them. Some produce is easier to store than others e.g. potatoes only need a cool, dry place to be cured and stored, whereas pumpkins need a warm, sunny place to cure before they can be stored and this will be difficult during colder seasons.
Another important factor to take into consideration is the climate that you live in because this can have a large effect on the yield of the crops. Watermelons need long, hot seasons with no frost and this is difficult to achieve in cool climate countries where the weather is unpredictable and prone to change. However, green houses can help to keep your crops in a very warm, frost-free environment during the colder months of the year.
After this you can make the very important decision about which plants you would like to see growing, as a garden isn’t a garden without them.
What to do next?
Next on the agenda is choosing where to put your garden.
When choosing where to position your garden you need to consider what plants you want to have in it. This is because some plants will require a larger growing area than others e.g. melons need a lot more space than leeks, this will affect how wide you can have your garden/ flower beds.
A typical flower bed should be around 4ft wide and 10ft long, this is so the center of the bed can be reached comfortably from either side, ensuring plants in the middle don’t get neglected. This also gives enough room to have multiple columns and rows of plants without competition occurring. It shouldn’t be more than 10ft long, so you don’t walk across the beds and compact the soil, instead of walking around it.
Your placement will also depend on the amount of sunlight your plants require, fruits tend to need around 5 hours of sunlight a day and this will not be achievable in a place that is constantly shaded. Lower parts of your garden may not be ideal for most plants as these are known as frost pockets and when it gets cold, they’re more likely to form frost which can easily kill the plants.
The flower beds should also protected from kids and animals, such as dogs, cats,rabbits and moles as they can cause a lot of damage. This can easily be done by containing them within a fence or even a floating row cover, as this will protect the flower bed from birds and frost also.
The final stretch
Now that the plants and the positioning of your garden have been decided the last step is to put your garden together.
Most seeds, bulbs and flowers come with simple planting directions, which will generally tell you how close together to position your plants, how deep to plant the seeds (a general rule is to plant the seed around 3 times its diameter deep), how often to water them and when the best time of the year to plant them is. It is also sometimes worthwile to take into consideration what part of the country you live in, if the climate in your country is variable by geographic location.
You must maintain your garden throughout the growing season of your plants. To do this you must remove all weeds that grow, which will need to be done once a week. The garden must be inspected for pests e.g. aphids, as these can eat your fruit and veg and make it inedible.
All edibles must be harvested as soon as they ripen otherwise they can begin to rot and attract pests, which may lead to them also attacking the rest of the plants and crop in the garden.
There are many tools that can help you to maintain your garden, whether they are for removing weeds or turning the soil to spread nutrients. We have a range of gardening tools perfect for beginners from hand trowels to hedge shears, although you can find exactly what you need in our gardening section.
You may also find these other articles of interest -