THE BASIC SKILLS YOU NEED TO BE A GARDENER

THE BASIC SKILLS YOU NEED TO BE A GARDENER

Most people are fascinated by the beauty of nature. The calmness, the eloquence, the meditative atmosphere and the sense of peace that a green environment brings to us, is one of many reasons why we are endeared to nature. Or perhaps it is that subtle gratification you get from walking into a beautifully rewarding atmosphere away from work and noisy cars and trucks, into a beautifully designed and laid-out garden.

More so, is the fact that a beautiful garden goes a long way in not only suiting our nerves but helps in our mental disposition, it is no wonder you often hear things like: “I went for a walk in the woods or in the park to clear my head.” Even psychologists are recommending it as a therapeutic means to help treat patients. So if you are interested in making your home a very exquisitely serene environment, then stay tuned for some basic skills that you will be needing.

Buying the basics

Before you launch into a gardening mode, it is very essential to first make a bit of research into first, the type of garden you want to build or make, and while factoring that in, make sure to think about the space, the seasons involved and the soil topology you have within your home. This will give you a proper insight into the kind of tools and materials you will need to propagate or execute your gardening plan.

The most common tools that you might need will include things like lawnmowers, sheers, chipper shredders, long-handled pruners, secateurs, rake, digging fork, shovel, hand fork, gloves, and a hand trowel. It will be to your advantage to also check for newly invented tools because we are in an age and time where there is a rapid advancement in equipment and technology. Who knows, there might be an invention that will make work easier. Speaking of inventions—this creates the next platform for what we will be talking about next.

Soil/soil blocking

Preparing your soil for planting is a very crucial part of gardening. The first thing you want to do is evaluate the type of soil you have and be sure it is going to be suitable for the plants you intend to grow. When evaluating your soil, you want to make sure it will provide nutrition and provide water retention and drainage. The ground has to be loose enough to provide aeration and dense enough to retain moisture.

Some gardeners prefer to first plant their seedlings in pot or container before transplanting into the garden bed or floor (depending on which you choose to go with). But from experience, it is way better to use a tool called a soil blocker, which was invented by a British engineer named Michael Ladbrooke. I find this tool particularly suited for small scale gardening because it not only saves you the trouble of planting in containers but also helps in making hundreds of soil blocks of different ranges, sizes, and most importantly, makes for easy transplant.

Arranging your garden

You obviously want to make room for an entrance to your home above everything else, but you probably already have a concrete pathway into both your front and rear entrances and in most modern houses, possibly a driveway and a garage. If you also intend to keep poultry and livestock, you will need to consider the best location for their homes and exercise areas, and then you will also need to design paths to these areas, as well as walkways between the beds that you will design next,

To get the most out of your money, you will want to plant in both the front and the back extensively, but the front (the space between your house and the street) is better suited for plants that are going to be there permanently as compared to annual crops or vegetables. This will be a good place for having fruit trees, grapevines and berries, always bearing in mind the likely size of the plant when it is fully grown—I mean you obviously don’t want to block the view to your home. You just need to plan their placing and you will end up with a good combination of trees and shrubs all blended into one amazing home-front.

Dig or fill

The fundamental idea behind intensive small-space gardening is the raised bed. Raised beds are spaces of especially rich and nutritious soil placed above ground (i.e on the top level of your existing lawn). By topping the raised bed with 8 inches or more of soft, fertile, compost-rich soil, you avoid the possibility of dealing with the original soil composition. All of which may include but are not limited to packs of hard rocks, hardpan, construction trash, and poor clay soil.

The exceptional advantage of this top filling is that plants growing in this superb condition can be planted much closer together, thereby eliminating much of the hard work of traditional gardening—tilling, digging and weeding. You can work your raised bed while sitting down using a garden trowel instead of a hoe. Plus, yields per square foot increase dramatically, and you spend a lot less effort on the whole.

Arranging your beds

In making your planting beds, you need to arrange them so as to allow enough room to plant, weed, harvest, and generally maintain them. This implies that your beds should not be so wide that you can’t reach the centre (assuming there is a walkway on both sides) or half that wide if only one side is accessible. The breadth of the paths between beds can be determined by your taste or personal liking, but it is always better to make them narrow so as to conserve your overall area. You don’t have to spend a lot of money making pavements, but if you don’t use some sort of stones or boardwalks, then you will need to consistently do something in order to control the weeds and grass that will grow in the paths.

Also Read: Things to do in NYC this weekend

To conclude the gardening skill tips for beginners, I’m going to answer one question mostly asked by people who are new into gardening, and that is the question of; “how much garden area do I need to provide food for my family?” You may have even tried to solicit for answers by various means, up to no avail. That is because the answer is often not straight forward, and there are often too many variables to consider in answering that. But here is a tip—grow a variety of different crops in the area available to you, and allocate the same space to all the crops you have grown. This will not only teach you what crops that do well in your environment but also the quantity you should expect in case you plan to do a repeat planting.

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