Tips for Gardeners

More and more people are gravitating towards growing plants and spending time in the garden. Those who do not have the luxury of large ground space are growing house plants, flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables in their balconies, on the terrace, or in their backyard.  The growth of plants such as flowers, herbs, or vegetables is rejuvenating, and takes one’s mind away from tedious coronavirus talk. However, unless one is born with a green thumb, or is a natural Martha Stewart, everyone needs help and guidance to build a garden.

Below are some tips to get a newbie gardener start a garden, and an experienced one to revise the essentials of gardening.

1.Plan your garden according to your space

Do a reccee of the space that is available to you for growing a garden. Think long and hard about what you would like to see growing in your house. Do you want a garden full of flowers, herbs, green plants or a vegetable garden?  Then visualise where you will grow what. Plan according to the space. Map out where each and every plant will go, paying detailed attention to spacing. Like us, plants also need their own space.

  1. Pick the right spot

Most plants need some hours of sunlight daily. Some plants, such as champa, raatki rani, mogra, need direct sunlight. Roses too need sunlight while some plants, especially house plants, can do well with indirect sunlight. Avoid a space that receives strong winds, as it could knock over your young and budding plants and will also keep pollinators from doing their job. Also, plan the accessibility of water.

3. Healthy soil is important for growing healthy plants

Plants always benefit from the nutrient-rich gardening soil. Improving the quality of the soil is not as hard a task as you think, it comes with great benefits. Add organic compost to your garden to help your plants grow. This can be anything from tea bags, grounded coffee, lawn trimmings, crushed fruit peels, etc. Adding these organic fertilizers to your soil will help it to retain moisture, stimulate good bacteria growth, and fight pests and diseases. It will also help you to reduce your carbon footprint. Combine your wet, green vegetable waste with your dry, brown items. “Brown” materials include dried plant materials, fallen leaves, shredded tree branches, etc.

  1. Get basic gardening tools

You will require:

  • A pair of pruning scissors: To cut back plants and bushes, as well as  cut off the dead parts of these plants.
  • Tools for digging: a spade, a trowel, and a garden fork. Tools for watering: a hose (pipe) and a watering can.
  • Tools for weeding: a forked trowel and a gardening knife.
  1. Plant with care

Plant seeds about 3-4 times as deep as the diameter of the seed. Cover the seeds with soil and water well, ensuring that you do not expose the seeds.

For transplanting the young plants, dig up a hole twice as wide as the root ball. Fluff up the soil and add some organic fertilizer to boost the growth of your plant. Place the root ball and cover the roots entirely with the soil. Water the plants gently after transplantation.

  1. Water right

The goal of watering your plants is to give them enough water to sustain but overwatering your plants can lead to waterlogging which can damage your plants. The best way to water your plants is slowly, allowing the water to reach deep into the soil. Ideally, the soil should get moist at about 3-4 inches beneath the surface. Plants need more water in  summers, but avoid watering during the hottest part of the day.

  1. Do regular pruning

Regular pruning keeps most plants healthy and encourages new growth. But when and what to prune depends on the type of plant and the climate you stay in. Strip lower leaves on plants regularly. This will prevent fungal diseases from encroaching. Remove wilted blooms so that your plant will make more of them.

  1. Keep pests and diseases away

Pests and diseases are more attracted to plants that are not healthy. If you have healthy, well-nourished plants, your pest and disease problems should be lesser. If your plants do get infected, use an organic solution.Mix up some neem oil, water and a few drops of dish soap. Shake it well and spray it on your plants once every two weeks to keep the pests away!

  1. Do mulching for your plants

Mulch helps to feed the soil with nutrients and give protection against erosion. Mulch is any material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil as a covering. It is used to retain moisture in the soil, keep the soil cool, suppress weeds, and make the garden bed look more attractive. As organic mulch decomposes, it also helps in improving the soil’s fertility.

  1. Choose your containers for gardening carefully

Check for drainage holes in the container Without proper drainage, the soil might become waterlogged and your plants may die. The holes need not be large, but there must be enough space for the excess water to drain out.

11.Go for companion planting

Companion planting is growing different crops in the same area for a variety of reasons including maximizing the use of space, warding off pests, and providing nutrients. Some species thrive well when they are planted close together. For example, tomatoes produce better yields (and keep away mosquitos and flies) when they coexist with basil.

  1. Proper maintenance of plants is important

Proper maintenance of plants is the best thing you can do for them. Deadhead, weed, prune, tidy up regularly. your garden. Water your plants regularly and feed them with nutrients every once in a while.

There! Starting a garden is not as scary as it seems. Go and get your hands dirty!