It can seem difficult to fit a garden into your busy schedule and limited space, but gardening is a relaxing and engaging hobby that can also have significant benefits on your mental health. Spring is the perfect time of year for many plants, making it a great time to start your first garden.
On the other hand, plants can die for a number of reasons, and managing your first garden can be overwhelming with so many tasks to stay on top of. These tips will help you keep your plants healthy throughout the spring and have the garden you’ve dreamed of by the end of the summer.
Find a Well-lit Area
There may not be many places in and around your home that see consistent natural light, especially if you live in a small apartment. That said, most garden plants need several hours of light each day in order to grow effectively, so it’s important to put them in the best location possible.
If you aren’t able to find a place for your plants that receives a sufficient quantity of light, consider switching to seeds that grow well with less light. A variety of suitable house plants, including ivy, snake plants, and a wide selection of ferns, can be grown effectively in a low-light environment.
Supplement Your Soil
It’s common for new gardeners to assume that their plant will grow to the same size in any soil, but the truth is that the pH level of the soil as well as other factors can influence plant growth. Soil test kits are widely available for purchase, or you can contact a local laboratory for professional services.
Gardeners often choose to add compost and other natural ingredients to their soil, all of which promote plant growth. When working in a yard, a lightweight wheelbarrow can help you carry these materials; you don’t want to hurt yourself lugging around heavy bags. Start with a mixture of compost, grass clippings, old leaves and manure if available for the best possible results. Additionally, a laboratory will also be able to provide information on any nutrients lacking in your soil sample.
Regularly Check and Maintain Your Plants
Much of the work involved in gardening happens at the front end, but growing plants require consistent watering as well as weeding and fertilization. Newly planted seeds should be watered every day, but you can eventually reduce the frequency as they begin to grow.
Fertilizing your plants can also have a positive effect on their growth, so use a dry fertilizer roughly halfway through the growing season to help your plants stay healthy. Liquid fertilizers, on the other hand, should be applied roughly once a month for best results.
Gardening can be an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding hobby, but it’s easy to become discouraged quickly if things don’t go your way. These gardening tips are all you need to get your first garden started and do everything you can to help your plants grow.
Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food and writing.