Green Living

What to Know If You Are a Novice Gardener

Story Highlights
  • Know What Is Best to Plant
  • Familiarize Yourself with Common Pests
  • Calculate the Amount of Space Needed
  • Best Soil and Watering Practices
  • Find Creative Uses for Your Crops

If you are looking into gardening as a new hobby or interest, it is important to educate yourself on some key information before you begin your journey.

Here are some basic things to get you thinking before you start planting your garden: 

Know What Is Best to Plant

Depending on what area you live in, it is vital to research what types of plants and crops will grow the most successfully in your area.

For instance, plants native to the area will thrive in your garden because they are specifically designed to grow in your climate.

If you live in the Johannesburg area, then plants that require much less water will be better suited to your garden. Places that receive more rainfall, such as Cape Town, have much more variety in terms of crops that will be able to grow. 

Familiarize Yourself with Common Pests

There are many different types of critters that can cause problems in your garden.

Although they can vary depending on what climate you live in, the main ones to look out for include the aphid, the caterpillar, and the whitefly.

Many of these pests are small and travel and breed in swarms on your plants. A good way to keep them at bay is to use solutions of water and dishwashing soap. Spray them on your plants regularly if you are having problems with insects.

Additionally, preventive measures such as live ladybugs can consume large populations of aphids to help your garden. 

Calculate the Amount of Space Needed

Particularly, if you are starting a garden to provide food for your family, it is a good idea to calculate how much space you will need for the crops you want to grow.

Research online for the vegetables and fruits you would like to plant, how many people you are going to feed, and then simply add up the square meterage needed for each plant to get the total.

You should also take into account whether or not you are consuming your produce fresh, preserving it, or both.

If you want to can or jar your harvest, you will need to factor even more space into your overall garden plan. Doing this the first time you plant your garden can be a good estimator for future harvests.

Best Soil and Watering Practices

Two factors that are extremely important when gardening are the composition of your soil and how much you are feeding your plants by watering them.

Make sure to break up your soil to prevent compaction, which in turn can limit the growth of roots and how much water they are absorbing.

Your soil should contain a good population of organisms such as fungi and insects. Earthworms are a great indicator of how much nutrient content your soil has.

The more abundant the earthworm population, the healthier your soil is. Water your plants according to how much each requires. 

Find Creative Uses for Your Crops

You do not want the fruits of your labor to go to waste, especially if you are using your gardening space to grow fresh produce for you and your family to eat.

Your food will last longer depending on how you store it. For example, foods such as potatoes and onions stay good longer if they are stored in a cool, dark place.

If you want to save your produce for even longer, learning how to can or jar it is a valuable investment of time that can save you money, as well as provide you with delicious food in the autumn and winter months. You can also vacuum seal bags of produce and put them in the freezer for later use. 

Starting your first garden does not have to be a difficult task. With these tips, you are sure to plant the right crops for your specific needs and grow your own successful garden. 


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