The glory of gardening…

Hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Though we’d like to claim it, that was a quote by Voltaire and it makes all the sense in the world.

When you feed the soul, you become radiant. Okay! Off you go…start gardening

Or Not

If you are just starting a garden, you have to wonder what the next step is, what kind of soil you need and secretly all the hacks you can get your hands on.

We’ve got you. See simple tips to help you set up your garden.

You should note,  it makes the whole process easier if you:

1.  Define why you want a garden in the first place (Host barbecue parties? Sounds like a good idea!) and

2. Picture how you want your garden to look.

Feeding the body and soul is amazing, but you’ve got to feed the garden first. How much time, energy and resources can you devote?

You have answers to these questions, read on!

1. Start Small

The lovely thing about your garden is that it is YOUR garden!

You can do with it as you please and you are not answerable to anyone. Which is why you need to start small. It doesn’t matter how many tips you get from this article, this is the ultimate tip.

Starting small gives you the leeway to experiment, learn and have fun!

Bonus tip: Once you have agreed to start small, you have to decide what you want to grow. Remember the part about having a picture in mind? Here’s where it comes to play.

So what do you have in mind? Vegetables, flowers or herbs? Your choice!

2. Choose a spot

Your garden picture (the one you have in your head) where is it located in the house?

If you’ve pictured what you want your garden to look like, odds are in your mind’s eye, you’ve already pegged a spot for your garden. Did you do that? Brilliant.

Image: Balcony Garden Web

Before we move on, we need to perform a tiny check on your selected spot (just mentally tick as you read on)

  • Is there access to sunlight?
  • Do you have access to water?
  • Any wildlife in sight?
  • Is it away from children play areas?

Bonus tip:  Make sure your garden is somewhere you can see it without effort. If you see it all the time, you can’t ignore its plea for attention.

3. Clear the spot

Now you’ve got your spot. What next?

You clear it. Get rid of weeds or unwanted material covering the area you want to plant. If you are in a hurry and want fast results, get digging. Seriously, you have to dig them out.

Remember not to overdo things. Clearing the spot is just one of the steps. We’d recommend a 3 feet by 3 feet plot. Don’t know how to measure that? You can try planting half a dozen good-sized pots.

4. Invest in basic garden tools

With the right tools, working on your garden becomes pleasurable. Some basic gardening equipments are:

Garden Rake: The Garden Rake is used in breaking up clumped soil, removing stones and other debris in your garden.
Leaf Rake: The Leaf Rake is often used for collecting dry leaves and grass, something you will have to constantly do as you work in your garden.
Shovel: For digging, lifting and moving soil, you will often have to use the Shovel.
Scuffle Hoe: If you want to get rid of small, just-emerging weed in loose soil, use the Scuffle Hoe
Garden Hoe: This tool is used for piling soil around the base of plants, removing weeds, and harvesting root crops
Pruners: Pruners are used in cutting thin pieces of wood, trees and shrubs, and the non-woody stems of perennial crops

These tools and more are designed to make gardening easier and enjoyable. There’s no need to break the bank, invest in what you can afford or buy them one after the other.

5. Prepare the soil

If you are digging, know that digging when the soil is too wet or too dry can ruin its structure. Dig only when the soil is moist enough to form a loose ball in your fist but dry enough to fall apart when you drop it.

Digging, however, loosens the soil so roots can penetrate more easily. Use a spade or spading fork to gently turn the top inches of soil, mixing in the organic matter you are using to improve your soil.

6. Choose your seeds

Part of the benefits of picturing what you want your garden to look like, is that you already have an idea of what you want to plant.

For beginners, here are a few easy-to-grow plants;

Vegetables: lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers

Annual: Marigolds, Impatiens, Geraniums, Calendula, Sunflowers, and Zinnias

Perennials: Hibiscus, Canna Lilies, Angels Trumpet, Alpina, Ginger, Heliconias

There’s no need to pore over catalogs. You can get right on to planting.

Plants have their peculiarities. As a new gardener, you should start with some of thee easy plants we have compiled above.

Be sure to read the seed packet for information, especially about when to plant, how deep to plant, and how far apart to plant the seeds.

7. Nurture your garden

Now that your seeds and or seedlings have been planted and your garden is well on its way, you have to nurture it.

Seedlings should never dry out, so water daily while they are small. If you have transplants, know that they also need frequent watering—every day—until their roots become established.

When your plants start to wilt slightly in the heat of day, they are asking for water. Water slowly and deeply, so the water soaks in instead of running off. Also, check the soil before watering. Overwatering is as bad as under watering.

There will always be something to do in your garden: planting, watering, weeding, etc. Some plants are more demanding than others, but garden maintenance is a given.

Maintenance is the real essence of gardening.

Nature is rewarding. You put in the required work, you can kick back on a sunny afternoon with your friends and family to have a rewarding picnic or a barbeque, and stay healthy in the process as gardening has been found to be a great exercise that encourages weight loss.

When will you start? if you need help send us an email at info@omargardens or you can send us images of your garden. We’d love to see it!