1. Choose plants suitable for beginners
When you start your gardening and landscaping adventure, make sure to start with plants that are easy to grow. Some good plants for beginners to start off with include spider plants, snake plants, aloe plants and ZZ plants. If you are more interested in growing something to eat eventually, vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes or herbs like basil, chives and dill are easy to grow.
When creating your garden, choose plants that are suitable to the climate you live in. Always consider soil type, sun facing direction and the average temperatures when making your selection. Living in Cairns means you will need to purchase plants that are suited to a tropical climate.
2. Ask an Expert - Don't try to figure everything out by yourself
If trying to figure out what to grow becomes overwhelming, find a local gardener like AAA Landscaping Cairns who can point you in the right direction. Other great ways to get tips is by joining a garden club or Facebook group.
3. No space? No worries!
If your backyard is on the smaller side, consider starting a container garden! Growing plants in containers makes them a lot easier to maintain and keep track of since you can keep a better eye out for any weeds or pests.
4. Choosing the right type of soil
When buying bagged soil, make sure to opt for a garden or potting soil. Potting soil has good drainage and is free of impurities, which means your plants will thrive! If starting a container garden or growing plants indoors, stay away from using top soil or compost as it will retain too much moisture. This can rot the seeds of the youngest plants and may also introduce insects or diseases.
5. Pick the right place for your plants
It is important to pick the right place for your plants as some may be more tolerant of the sun and shade than others.
6. Purchase a good set of gardening tools
Good quality pruners are a must! While there are many excellent brands of hand pruners, the most important thing is to find a pair that is comfortable in your hand. A good pair of pruners will minimize the potential for a repetitive stress injury. A good soil knife is also recommended! A high quality, serrated soil knife will aid in cutting through roots in the soil, trim the roots of pot-bound plants and will also work as a trowel.
A list of gardener essentials include pruners, soil knife, gardening gloves, garden spade shovel, rake, watering car and hand trowel.
7. Water your plants in the morning!
Watering your plants first thing in the morning will give the water plenty of time to reach the roots. If you water too late in the day or in the evening, the foliage will remain wet overnight which can promote mould and mildew. Outdoor plants should have enough water available throughout the day to help manage the heat of the sun.
8. Pre-Water! Pre-Water! Pre-Water!
Remember, the soil should be damp but not saturated. Damp soil mixes absorb water more readily than dry soil. If the soil is too dry, the plant may not root well in the soil which can cause drying and hinder growth.
9. No need to water every day
Water deep but not too often! Watering deeply encourages the plant to set deeper roots. This means the plant will increase drought tolerance and will generally lead to a healthier plant. However, make sure to regularly check your plants to avoid drying them.
Vegetables in the ground only need about 1inch of water per week, while container plants need to be checked weekly and watered as needed. If you stick your finger into the top soil, you can check the dampness of the soil. Too dry means time to water but if the soil is still damp, check again in a few days.
10. Trim & prune plants regularly
Regular trimming and pruning is preventative maintenance for your plants, while keeping them neat and attractive. Other benefits include providing your plant with improved air circulation to even training the plant to maintain a certain shape. Pruning dead or infected parts can keep the main shoot healthier in the long run.
11. Weed control
While not all weeds are bad, some will soak up your plants light, water and nutrients which will negatively effect the health and growth of the plant. Regular weeding will keep your plants happy and your garden neat.
12. Fertilize but don't over do it
Fertilizer can be used to increase your plants nutrient intake but too much or the wrong type at the wrong time, can negatively effect your plants. ALWAYS follow the label and if in doubt, fertilize at half-strength, you can always add more if needed.
13. Keep track
It's always good to write down when you planted so you know exactly when to harvest. Another tip is putting proper labels on your plants and seedlings. Put as much information as possible and save the seed packets for reference later.
14. Take progress photos
Take weekly photos of your garden so you can keep track of the progress and see how much your plants have grown over time.
15. Learn from your mistakes
Don't become disheartened if you're not able to keep your plants alive, everyone has lost plants but we just learn from our mistakes and improve next time. Keep trying, don't give up and with your real-world experience, your garden will be blooming in no time!
If you would like any further expert advice, please click HERE to contact AAA Landscaping Cairns.