If you’re thinking about starting a garden, the most important thing is not to get overwhelmed by the idea. As soon as you start talking about a new interest, experts on the subject come at you from every angle with mostly some great advice, although not all of it will be. Gardening is no exception!
It doesn’t matter what month it is, or whether you think you are too late to start your garden this year… you’re not!
The first and probably the most important question to ask yourself is…
“What do I want from my garden/outdoor space?”
One way to uncover your wants that are appropriate to the size of your garden, is to take a while to contemplate… Sit outside, weather permitting of course, and allow the environment to take over your thoughts. Ideas will turn up unexpectedly, especially if you really are serious about starting a garden.
If it’s really not warm enough to sit outside, grab a coat and wander around for a few minutes or even try for a good view from an upstairs window and consider the layout.
There are many garden ideas you can use to brainstorm to come up with the right ideas for your space, and what would suit you and your family.
Starting a garden should be fun 🙂
Veggie patch: Are you longing to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs to ensure the best possible diet for everyone?
Containers: Are you facing a concrete yard and can’t face the building work involved? Containers may be the answer.
Flowers: Are you a rose enthusiast? Or how about edible flowers to jazz up the family dinners?
Themes: Your whole outside space could be a theme to enhance your home, an attractive outdoor art form, or even a wildlife sanctuary.
If you have the space to explore a few different ideas, go for it! While you’re in the process of starting a garden, the sky’s the limit. The next best thing to do, while still relaxing in your garden of course, is grab a notepad and roughly draw out a plan of the garden and start playing with design. It doesn’t have to be to scale, although it has to be realistic. When you start getting down to work, the plans, no doubt, will be adjusted!
NB:Allow space for fun and relaxation – especially relaxation. Sitting in your garden will encourage more ideas and will also melt away stress.
Before starting a garden, there will be a few tools to acquire. Not necessarily that many, but you will need a few bits and pieces. Get the tools first; it’s so frustrating when you are on a roll and you have to stop because you haven’t the right tool for the job. Scroll down for more about tools and the ideas you can get started with straight away…
** When you’re starting a garden there are a few essentials, especially seeds, to buy. Amazon is a great place to start looking. Even if you’d rather buy locally or elsewhere online, you can get some inspiring ideas by browsing the garden products available from Amazon . This link takes you to their garden department. Type vegetable seeds or flower seeds etc; into the search box or just go with the flow.**
Starting a Garden… let’s get going!
If you’ve decided to grow fruit, flowers, herbs or vegetables in open ground, the main tools you will need are a spade, fork, rake and probably a Dutch hoe. Buy good quality tools that feel comfortable and not too heavy to use. Smaller tools, such as a trowel and watering can are also important and are needed if you are container growing. For wildlife gardens, you may simply need a sharp pair of shears to cut down any invasive plants from time to time. Check out this article for Garden Supplies
Wear heavy shoes or boots in the garden when you are digging or using any larger tools. And protect your hands with decent gardening gloves. If you’re facing a bramble patch before starting a garden, make sure the gloves are bionic!
Seed trays, pots and a few pot markers are the basics if you’re intending to sow seeds or start off young plants. This is a good moment to recycle and get some free pots!
Collect cardboard tubes from toilet rolls or wash, dry and save yoghurt pots with a few drainage holes punched in the bottom. Cardboard tubes are ideal as they only last for a while and can be planted in the garden without having to disturb the roots of small plants.
Larger containers should also be bought, or acquired, for container gardening ideas. Remember you can buy specially designed potato barrels and strawberry planters nowadays and you can grow many herbs, fruit and veg in large pots and containers. Starting a garden can be as decorative and artistic as you like.
In an ideal world, a veggie patch should be divided into four or more sections to allow for crop rotation. In a smaller garden, the vegetable patch should be replenished every year with well-rotted manure or compost, or other food for your soil. Every plant that grows takes nutrients from the soil – a good reason to get rid of weeds!
Consider raised beds and containers to increase the growing area for fruit and veg. And if you are growing food, keep some notes. I put together a printable Garden Journal you may find useful or just grab any old notebook to start! My Garden Journal
Containers can be very useful as well as practical. Grow herbs in containers on the patio so they are available to add directly to your ‘al fresco’ summer meals. Pots of herbs can be grown on windowsills and other bright spots indoors. Many vegetables can be grown in large containers so there’s no excuse if you have a couple of pots lying around!
Look for old and interesting containers in markets or car boot sales. If they don’t have drainage, put a well-drained pot inside and plant into this pot. All plants need good drainage. Water-logging will rot the roots very quickly.
NB: Put pots and containers on a stand to avoid bugs making a nest underneath and to ensure good drainage. The stand doesn’t have to be fancy. A couple of bricks should do it.
There are so many incredible flowers that can be grown at home that you can get lost for days in a seed catalogue! Go for the ones you like, or if you have no idea, consider a few points before you start:
*height and space required
*colours and scent
*support structure needed? i.e. for climbing plants
*ground cover plants
If you are simply crazy about roses for example, experiment and grow as many different varieties as you dare. Flowers can also be designed with colour in mind. Grow flowers to match the decor in the lounge perhaps? 🙂
Again flowers and colour could be themes to stick with, or there are other possibilities. How about a butterfly garden? Or maybe encourage ladybirds to your garden to deal with the greenfly on your roses?
A herb garden can take over the whole space if you so wish and many herbs will grow well in containers.
Starting a garden from scratch or even with a residue of someone else’s past efforts, is probably one of the most creative experiences to enjoy, with many practical bonuses – fresh organic food, sweet smelling flowers in the house, a little physical exercise and a general feeling of well-being. And it’s never too late to start. Many plants will survive and stay green right through the winter as well as the summer months.
PS. Just in case you’re longing for a herb garden this year, this handy download will help you get started.
The Herb Garden
Learn how to grow herbs indoors or in the garden, in pots and containers, from seed and other propagating methods!
Find the best ways to design a herb garden, whether you’re growing a few herbs on the windowsill or have enough outdoor space to create an outside herb garden.
The Herb garden is packed full of tips on growing herbs indoors, in pots and containers, ideas on herbal displays, different propagating methods, and pests and diseases to watch out for.
This is a comprehensive guide to general growing requirements for many herbs. Choose from your favourite online book store: