Gardening newbie? Here are some ideas to ease you in

Do you have a garden full of weeds and no idea where to start? Are you baffled by all the guff about perennials and biennials and pH and clay soil? Don’t worry; there are easy ways to get started!

Gardening newbie

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Take those weeds, for example. A good selection of healthy weeds probably shows that you have the kind of fertile soil that lots of plants love.

How to get started

Most guides for beginners start with testing your soil and improving it, but few new gardeners start this way. It’s akin to the boring bit at the beginning of the recipe book where they tell you how to equip your kitchen. Most people go down to a garden centre and pick out a plant. Help your chances of success by asking the staff whether the plant is likely to grow well in the local soil. After all, they know what the soil is like. There are composts for every possible circumstance in the garden, nearly all peat-free, so ask what kind of compost you should use to help the plant get off to a good start.

As for the lawn, hand propelled petrol lawn mowers are now quite reasonable, and few things beat the smell of freshly mown grass.

Beds and bedding

Why not start with some bedding? These plants produce lots of colourful flowers but only last one year. You’ll see them in the garden centre in “plugs”, which are little plants each in their own section of a foam box. These are already growing and well on their way to flowering, making them very good for impatient gardeners.

You can grow bedding plants in flower beds (hence the name), in pots, or in virtually any kind of container. If you’re using a pot, make sure it has a hole in the bottom and put some broken crockery or the foam packaging the bedding came in at the bottom to help the water drain. Leave a couple of inches so that when you water, you will have room for a couple of inches of water. Water them often; those at the top of the pot dry out quickly on a hot summer’s day. For a bed, you could go completely mad and add some soil improver – ask at the garden centre.

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