Gardening for Beginners
Gardening refers to the cultivation of plants for various purposes like decoration, purification of atmosphere, consumption, and even for use in medicines.
The activity may range from growing the same type of plants in a garden to growing a large number of different plant types for purposes more than one and hence, may take one of the following forms:
- Residential gardening
- Indoor gardening
- Water gardening
- Container gardening
- Community gardening
Gardening as a hobby may prove to be very rewarding. It brings one closer to nature and oneself. But at the same time, it requires intense labor and constant attention. Here are certain guidelines for beginners who wish to opt for this environmentally friendly hobby.
Site selection for gardening requires certain features to be considered like sunshine, shade, moisture, air circulation, and drainage requirements of the plants. Different plants need a different amount of light and water. So one should choose the site depending upon the type of plants one wishes to grow in one’s garden.
The next steps after site selection are checking the soil for its pH and adjusting it according to the requirement of a specific plant type. Plants may vary in their tolerance to soil acidity and some may be very sensitive to it.
The chemical composition of the soil is subjected to climatic conditions as well. In humid environments, the soil is usually acidic and in dry weather conditions, it tends to be alkaline.
The help of a garden center can be taken to check the pH of soil or one may check it by oneself using pH test kits that are available in markets at very cheap rates.
After one knows the pH, one can adjust it accordingly. However, the best way to change the chemical composition of the soil is to do it on a gradual basis.
Plantation in Containers
Plants may be grown in containers also. Plants grown in containers offer certain advantages over the usual permanent plantation:
- Containers may be moved in dim or intense light. Also one can move them into the ‘limelight’ after they flower.
- If the soil of the site is acidic or alkaline in nature allowing just one type of plant, still one can grow one’s favorite plants in containers.
However, plants grown in containers need more attention from the gardener as they are totally dependent on him for food and water.
One must keep in mind the following points for plantation in containers:
- Choose the container that is not that porous or it will drain all the water.
- Prefer potting mixers available in the market over the soil.
- The diameter of the pot should be half of the height of the plant.
- Every pot should have a hole in the bottom to allow drainage of extra water. Also, it allows roots to grow and makes repotting easy.
- Repot the slow-growing plants after two or three years whereas changing the pot of fast-growing plants on annual basis.
When it comes to the growing option one may choose growing plants from seeds or propagation by cutting plants.
Growing Plants from Seeds
Growing plants from seeds is a very self-complacency process in itself. Though seeds of different species have different sowing and growing requirements and which are available along with the package in which you buy seeds still there are some basics to be considered while growing plants from the seeds:
- The Container in which seeds will be sown
- Chemical Composition of the Soil
- Temperature and Soaking Requirements
After seeds are sown, they must be watered well. Excessive water is bad for them. These should be exposed to the temperature as per requirements. Once they start germinating, they should be properly fed and watered. Fertilizers can be used to feed the seedlings properly.
After the plants are strong enough they should be planted at the proper site in the garden.
Growing Plants by Cuttings
One can create new plants for one’s garden by cutting. Early spring is considered to be the best time for cutting and propagation. Guidelines for proper propagation include:
- Use a sharp knife
- Cut below the node
- At least one node should be underground while planting these cuttings
- Water it well
Cutting is referred to as a sort of ‘plant surgery’ and requires effort and attention.
Garden tools are available in a variety of shapes and prices to fulfill your gardening needs. Some of the garden tools are shovel, spade, fork, hoe, cultivator, brake, shear, and trowel. One can add life to one’s garden tools if one is ready to take care of a few things:
- Keep the tools clean; remove the soil from digging tools after each use
- Keep the tools dry or they will rust soon
- Keep sharpening the cutting tools
- Clean the tools used in chemical application
Plant Purchase Guidelines
Choice of a certain type of plant is entirely up to the personal liking and disliking of a person. However, there are things that should be paid attention to while selecting plants at some nursery:
- Plants should not have any pests and disease
- Prefer short healthy plants over tall and spindle ones
- Select the healthy root and thick stem plants
- Leaves should not be wilted
- Select flowering plants with small buds instead of full blossom flowers
Fertilizers make an important part of the gardening activity. Compost is a mixture of dead organic matter that is the best fertilizer for plants. One can prepare compost on one’s own by making a mixture of the following things:
- A layer of straws at the base (for air circulation)
- A layer of green matter including leaves, grass, uncooked vegetation
- A layer of brown matter including hey, newspaper, dry leaves
Composting takes place best under the full sun but one must be careful enough to and should keep mixing the matter on weekly basis to hold it back from drying. The end product will be a rich fertilizer that will nurture your garden and eventually your soul making your corner of the world the happiest of places.