Anyone who knows me just a little bit will know that I spend most of my time traipsing around my garden, digging here, planting there, pruning this, and sprucing up that. My garden is my “happy place”, and all of my plants are regarded as my children, but how did I get here? Was gardening always second nature to me, or was it hard, especially in the beginning?
Gardening, in general, can be as hard or as easy as you make it. If you start gardening with no background, knowledge, or tools; gardening will be hard. If you equip yourself, do your research, gain experience, and take advice; gardening will be easy.
In my honest opinion, as a gardener, gardening did not come naturally or easily to me.
When I saw beautiful gardens, an interest was sparked in me, but what got me from the type of person that admires thriving fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers, to the type of person that consistently collects seeds from plants she meets in passing and adds them to her growing outdoor space? What got me to the point where I can confidently advise other people on gardening and help them to create a beautiful, thriving garden space of their own?
In my opinion, it all comes down to hands-on experience and a willingness and drive to learn. If you want to find out what you can do to make gardening easy for you, read on.
Gardening Made Easy (by Me)
When I first started gardening, I remember wearing my oldest clothes and grabbing the old family spade from inside the shed. I set to work on a piece of ground, churning and turning it. I watered it, threw a few seeds about, and waited for what I thought would be a flurry of growth and activity.
In fact, nothing ever happened in that spot because it was poorly placed, the soil was of inferior quality, no sun reached the plants, and the water runoff would just carry seeds away. Little did I know back then! Gardening seemed hard, but I pressed on.
Now, I know where to place a garden bed and what sort of living conditions my plants like. In fact, I have a thriving garden that I often feel warranted boasting about.
Getting to where I am in the gardening realm takes time and effort, so if you are looking for a quick and easy hobby that provides instant gratification, gardening is not it. Instead, gardening is a hobby that demands heart and soul from you. It takes time, and it is an investment of money too. What you plant now will need care and attention, but eventually, you will reap the rewards.
Let’s take a look at what you need and what you can do to make gardening easier for you.
7 Ways to Make Gardening Easier
Below are a few things you can do to make gardening easier and more rewarding.
1. Start small until you are confident.
If you are new to gardening and you are not entirely sure of what you are doing, start small. You do not need to have a fully flourishing garden from day one. My first garden actually existed on a balcony of an apartment I lived in.
The balcony did not have too much space, but I started container gardening, which actually got me hooked. I loved checking in on my container plants each day, and it became a fun hobby. I grew herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, flowers – I was not really limited.
2. Source the right space.
If container gardening is not your cup of tea, you are going to need to select a suitable garden plot. Having a piece of garden available is great, but is that piece of garden the best possible option? A garden patch needs good sunlight, access to water, and flat surface, and protection (think of birds and insects).
3. Get the right gardening tools.
When I first started gardening, I had no tools, and I must admit, it really affected the end result. You can’t dig in the garden or a pot without a spade. Some weeds become impossible to yank out of the earth, and you can’t prune back plants if you do not have pruners.
You might worry that getting gardening tools is going to cost you a fortune, but if you are smart about shopping around, you will be able to get everything you need at a low price. The first thing you can do is chat with your family and friends about your new hobby or project and find out if they have any old garden tools they no longer use, to donate to your cause. You do not need new items, you just need decent ones.
Next, you can shop online for second-hand garden tools for sale. You can also attend garage sales and get in touch with local charity shops to find out if there are any garden tools for sale. Some items you will need include:
- Gardening gloves.
- Small hand spade (trowel).
- Large spade (shovel).
- Weeding bag.
- Wedding fork.
- Garden hoe or a garden fork.
- Hosepipe (garden hose).
- Kneeling pads.
4. Feed the soil.
You will probably feel despondent if you spend time choosing seeds, prepping the ground, planting, watering, and more…and then your plants simply do not respond well to their living conditions, or they wither and die at an early age. Feeding the soil is a great way to make your gardening efforts provide more prolific results.
I strongly recommend using organic fertilizer. My favorite trick is to save all my vegetable peelings and to turn them into the soil to increase the organic matter. The healthier and more nutrient-rich the soil is, the easier your growing tasks will be.
5. Group plants according to their needs or keep plant types to a minimum.
It is natural to want variety in your garden, but that is not always possible. Understand that each plant has its own requirements when it comes to water, soil conditions, and sun exposure. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to gardening.
A good option is to keep your plant variety to a minimum. If you do not want to limit yourself, spend some time researching each of the plants you wish to nurture and then group them in the garden according to their needs. This will make the management of your garden a whole lot easier.
6. Get a head start on growing.
How do you plan to start your first garden? Will you buy already-growing plants (that can be expensive, trust me), or do you plan to grow your own plants from seed? Many newbie gardeners think that growing from seed is as easy as preparing the soil and poking the seeds in. This just is not the case.
Sometimes seeds do not do too well when sown straight into the ground. There are many reasons for this. One way to make the growing process simpler for you is to start growing the seedlings before you start your garden.
There is no need to invest in expensive seedling trays or growing bags, either. Simply collect your used toilet roll inners and stack them vertically into a container. Fill each toilet roll inner with potting soil and poke your seeds inside. Have the soil moist but not damp or wet. Once your seedlings have grown to a few inches, you can think about planting them into their designated garden beds.
7. Get help from those nearest and dearest to you.
When you first start gardening, the physical demands of the job and the time it tends to steal can be overwhelming. There is a lot of lifting, pulling, moving, bending, and digging involved in gardening. Here is where you can put the saying “many hands make light work” into practice in your garden.
If you have kids or grandkids, encourage them to spend certain days in the garden with you. It can become a fun time to bond over a shared interest. If you do not have kids or grandkids, you can invite friends over for a garden party. Garden parties are social and fun. Everyone comes together to tackle a particular garden task and then spends a few hours lazing on the lawn, drinking lemonade, and sharing a picnic. What could be better, right?
Gardening Can Be Hard, But It Is Really Not
Anything in life can be hard if you approach it incorrectly. If you want gardening to be easy, do your research, equip yourself smartly, and be ready to put in the effort required. As you become more familiar with gardening and the plants that you are raising, it will become easier and more of an enjoyment than a chore. Trying to get ahead in gardening early on? Make use of the abovementioned tips and watch how easy gardening becomes.