Gardening Hacks for a Newbie Gardener

by Ashley Wirgau

Spring has sprung and is calling to green thumbs everywhere, but what about the rest of us? What about those of us whose thumbs are a little closer to black, who long to coax tiny sprouts from the ground, but we’ve never quite had the time or the skill? Is there any hope for us?

There just might be! With a little knowledge, a bit of time (which some of us have a bit more of these days), and a pocketful of quick and easy gardening hacks, you could be enjoying fresh backyard foliage or munching on some hand-grown leafy greens by summer.

Plant Perennials

By far, the easiest gardening “cheat” of all time is to plant perennials. These faithful friends arrive year after year with little to no urging from the gardener. There is no contemplating what to buy or when to plant, no period of waiting, and wondering if the seeds are going to sprout. Typically, there is no human involvement at all; nature just takes over and – voila! – plants return each year, without fail.

But where should one begin, especially one whose forte lies in things outside the gardening realm? First, you must determine your planting zone, as this factor determines which plants will prove successful in a given climate. Next, compile a list of low maintenance flowering perennials if your goal is simple ornamentation or coverage. Those folks interested in reaping a bit more from their investment might consider planting an edible arrangement, as well, and should check out which perennial vegetables would do well in their specific area.

Good-bye Seeds, Hello Seedlings

Unless you fancy yourself a true farmer, there is really no reason to start from seed. Purchasing plants that are already in the seedling, vegetative, or even flowering stages can be much easier than attempting to persuade these leafy lifeforms into being. You might not even have to go to the store, which in our current pandemic-related seclusion makes getting started on a garden an actual possibility.

Whether you are interested in starting a few indoor succulents (which can be very tricky to get going from seed) or beginning your own vegetable garden, there are a plethora of online options available for ordering plants. Both house plants and fruits/vegetables can be purchased and delivered straight to your door, and yes, all you Primers, you guessed it – even Amazon is in the game.

Cutting Corners with Containers

Container gardening is a simple and effective way of maintaining both decorative and edible plants. Used as either an addition to or a substitute for your traditional garden space, container gardening allows plant growth without the hassle of ground preparation or the fight to find ample room. It also helps limit the number of pests that can invade your budding beauties by keeping the vegetation off the actual ground. This space-saving approach works both inside and outside your home and helps folks with little outdoor real estate get creative with their efforts.  

Self-Watering Saves

Keeping a plant hydrated is actually harder than it seems, but finding the right balance between flooding and starving your greenery can be easily solved by purchasing a self-watering planter. These handy hacks are built for people who spend days away from home or those who have seen their fair share of vegetation die on their watch. There are multiple options available for purchase in all sizes and shapes, indoor and outdoor use, including some designed specifically for herbs and vegetables.  

Create Your Own Compost

It is one thing to put plants into soil or make sure they get enough water. It is quite another to maintain their actual growth. The addition of nutrients to the soil in which plants live is essential for plants to thrive. There are plenty of additives for purchase at the store, but the very best means of feeding your plants is through composting.

Many people are nervous about starting such a process, believing it takes a lot of space or time. In reality, though, it is as simple as dedicating a bin or area of your yard to the collection of organic waste and turning it once in a while. Using fruit and vegetable scraps, lawn trimmings, and even discarded coffee grounds or eggshells, you can produce really rich compost in a matter of months. Just follow these simple steps to get you started.

Given the corresponding restrictions and chaos, many of us are under at the moment; we could all use some shortcuts to make life a little easier. It is spring out there in the wide, wonderful world, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it within the walls of our house. Let’s not let the things we can’t control take away from the beauty we could be creating right now through a few quick gardening hacks and a little time, time that many of us are finding a bit more of these days.

 

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