I’ve compiled a list of 10 simple gardening tips that I found to be most valuable, and not too difficult to implement. Lately I have been thinking about tips for any garden, not necessarily only a self sufficient one because a greener environment can start right at home. No matter whether you are building a full self sufficient garden, a vegetable garden or even an urban garden for those small little patches of green that some of the more built up areas possess, these tips will be very useful. There are a few common elements to take into consideration, or to put into place that people are recommending. I plan on writing more articles on tips as I come across them but for now, let’s start with these.
Ta-Da! Here They Are! My 10 Favorite Tips To Date.
The following tips are not placed in any specific order.
Number 1 – Friendly Fertiliser
For a nutrient rich fertiliser, place 10 – 20 crushed eggs shells in 1 gallon or 3.8 liters of water that has been boiled and soak overnight. Strain the following morning. The resulting solution is full of nutrients for your plants that you can pour straight onto the soil of the plants and even put the soaked shells in the compost bin..
Look At These Nutrients
Egg shells soaked in water release calcium, potassium, and some phosphorus, magnesium and sodium, which will all benefit your plants.
This solution also provides a fertiliser that is completely non-toxic to you or your plants, you can’t overdo it, however please note that plants do not only require these nutrients, they need other substances also.
Number 2 – Keep A Record
By keeping a garden diary, you will be able to remember what you planted, when and where, and use it to plan for your future garden needs.
If you noted any particular patterns in terms of growth rate, if something grew well or not, what you used and when, overcrowding situations, etc., you will be able to do it better next time or maintain what you did.
This would also serve to draw out your plans for a plot, or to start looking into planting items in a complementary fashion or seasonal growth. It helps to lay it all out on paper.
Record the costs as you go so you can work it into your budget too.
Number 3 – Your Greenhouse Needs To Breathe
Your greenhouse needs to breathe as well. Open the vents, door or windows daily for a couple of hours. This helps maintain the temperature a little better by preventing the heat from becoming too hot, and also helps recycle the air for more fresher air. The ideal temperature for a greenhouse is around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit or 27-29.5 degrees Celcius
Hot And Cold Weather Needs To Be Monitored
You are able to keep it cooler in a very hot environment by placing shade cloth over it and in winter by using layers of horticultural fleece attached to the walls. In very cold climates, a solar powered (or other green energy source) heater can be used if you can find one.
Number 4 – Integration Of Compost Into The Soil
If you are patient and can wait a few weeks, you can leave the planting for a little while until the compost becomes ready to produce maximum benefits.
When you add the compost, allow it time to settle before planting.
Waiting 2-4 weeks before planting anything gives the compost time to integrate into the soil and accomplish this.
Number 5 – Be Careful Of Planting Conifers
As beautiful as they may be, there are certain considerations to take into account if you are planning to add Conifers of any kind to your property.
Conifer trees apparently cause the soil around them to become acidic, therefore making it almost impossible to grow anything underneath them and they also have an extensive root system that competes with other plants. Avoid planting your garden underneath conifers if you want anything to survive there.
Conifers Are Gorgeous When You Pay Attention To Where You Plant Them
If you love conifers and truly feel you want them in your garden, place them well away from the house and other parts of the garden. There are some plants that will thrive underneath conifers and add aesthetic aspects too. Cyclamen and Crocus can work well, and some forms of Ivy as well.
Number 6 – Tea Bag Fertiliser
You can recycle used tea bags as another source of nutrients for your garden. The tea bags add nitrogen to the soil allowing it to provide a balancing affect against the carbon-rich matter already in the soil and plant.
Tea bags suitable for using are those that are biodegradable such as muslin, paper or silk, otherwise tear the bag open and disregard. You can put the bags into the compost bin or place them directly into the soil around your plant.
This is another non-toxic fertiliser and helps with keeping moisture in the soil. It also helps with oxygenation and encourages earthworm activity.
Number 7 – Water Features Need Some Love Too
If you have any water features, it is necessary to oxygenate the water to keep it fresh. You can do this by using other plants. I have heard water violets can do the trick, but you could look for other styles too. There are nearly always some kind of water lily in ponds that are bound to be serving just that purpose.
Beat Those Mosquitoes
It is also a good idea to make sure you keep your water clear of mosquito larvae, otherwise you won’t enjoy your water feature as much if you are continually slapping at mosquitoes. There are several non-toxic to humans and to the Earth options out there. One is to use a Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (or Bti), which is a bacteria toxic to the larvae of mosquitoes. Another is to use is a kind of barrier that uses garlic juice as a deterrent. More on these items in another article to come.
Number 8 – Give Them Some Elbow Room
Plants compete for space and nutrients, if they are planted too close together the soil will be stripped of nutrients and the resulting produce will be of poor quality and size. Space them far enough apart to give them room to grow.
When in doubt, many seed packets have the instructions on them as to how deep and how far apart to position the seeds. If not remember Google is your friend. You can simply research the most common recommendations provided and go with that.
Number 9 – Aeration Is Required
Our lawns need care too. We rely heavily on the belief that rainfall and the existing nutrients in the soil for the most part, will keep our lawns lush and green. Making sure our lawns are mowed, fertilised and watered can go a long way to mastering a happy lawn. But there are also other factors in terms maintaining the health of a lawn.
Did you realise air is also a nutrient?
Who Would’ve Thought?
Soil gets compacted which makes it difficult for air, water and nutrients to get through. Aerating the lawn involves poking little holes in it to allow this movement of water, air and nutrients to get down to the roots of the grass. A pitchfork is probably one of the most versatile and appropriate tools for this purpose, or you can purchase aerating plugs and spikes. Aerating on a regular basis enhances drainage. The process is much simpler if you first ensure the lawn is moistened already.
Aerating also encourages the insects beneath to keep moving around and doing their bit to improve the nutrient quality of the soil.
Number 10 – Not Quite Sure Where To Put Everything Yet? Never Fear A Tip Is Here.
If you are like me, you may find it difficult to make a final decision on how you would like your garden to be laid out. You can make your decision a bit simpler by creating a movable garden.
What do I mean? If you plant your seeds and seedlings in large pots or tubs, it allows you the luxury of being able to move them around until you find the perfect layout for them. You may like to put the tubs or pots on boards with wheels to help you move them from one place to another more easily.
Experiment First And Get It Right First Go
This way you can experiment a little and find the right planting system that suits your climate, soil, sunlight, watering needs, style and location. You may find an area that suits one plant better than others, or a spot in your garden that doesn’t get the right amount of sun or shade for a particular plants. If you let them grow a little, you will be able to get a better visual picture of how they will look certain way.
I hope you have found these 10 simple gardening tips useful. You may even choose to write them down in your gardening diary so that you will remember them. If you have any questions or other ideas that you have found useful yourself, please let me know in the comment section below.