Choosing a Garden that is Perfect for You
If you're thinking about starting a garden, the first thing you need to consider is what type of garden you will have. There are many different choices and often it can be hard to pick just one, but hopefully you can narrow it down. But by narrowing it down, you'll make the gardening experience easier on yourself and the plants. If all your plants are similar, then it shouldn't be very hard to care for them all. So here are some of the main garden ideas for you to choose from.
If you're just looking for something to look nice in your yard, you'll want a flower garden. These are usually filled with perennial flower. Perennial flowers are flowers which stay healthy year-round. They're basically weeds because of their hardiness, only nice looking. Different areas and climates have different flowers which are considered perennials. If you do a quick internet search for your area, you can probably find a list of flowers that will bring your flower garden to life. These usually only require work in the planting stage - after that, the flower take care of themselves. The only downside to this is that you don't have any product to show for it.
Another choice for your garden is to have a vegetable garden. These usually require a little more work and research than a flower garden, but can be much more rewarding. No matter what time of the year it is, you can usually find one vegetable that is still prospering. That way you can have your garden be giving you produce almost every day of the year! When starting a vegetable garden, you should build it with the thought in mind that you will be adding more types of veggies in later. This will help your expandability. Once all your current crops are out of season, you won't be stuck with almost nowhere to put the new crops. A vegetable garden is ideal for someone who wants some produce, but doesn't want to devote every waking hour to perfecting their garden (see below.)
One of the more difficult types of gardens to manage is a fruit garden. It's definitely the most high-maintenance. When growing fruits, many more pests will be attracted due to the sweetness. You not only have to deal with having just the right dirt and fertilizer, you have to deal with choosing a pesticide that won't kill whoever eats the fruits. Your fruit garden will probably not produce year-round. The soil needs to be just right for the plants to grow, and putting in another crop during its off-season could be disastrous to its growth process. If you're willing to put lots of work into maintaining a garden, then a fruit garden could be a good choice for you.
So now that I've outlined some of the main garden types that people choose, I hope you can make a good decision. Basically, the garden type comes down to what kind of product you want, and how much work you want to put into it. If you're looking for no product with no work, go with a flower garden. If you want lots of delicious product, but you are willing to spend hours in your garden each day, then go for a fruit garden. Just make sure you don't get into something you can't handle!
Picking the Right Gardening Tools
If you’re thinking about taking your gardening seriously and getting out there every day to increase the attractiveness of your garden, then you will want to get the right tools to help you in this. You might be tempted to go out to the store and just buy the nearest things you see, but you’ll be much happier if you put lots of thought into the styles and types of tools you’re buying. There are styles designed just for gardening, and you’ll be better off buying those.
You can find most of the tools you will need at your local gardening or home improvement shop. Usually the employees will be simply thrilled to assist you in finding the ideal tools. If you go to a shop that specializes in gardening, you can usually get some advice in addition to service. Gardening store employees are usually an untapped wealth of wisdom, and they are how I learned almost all that I know about gardening today.
If you are having a hard time finding the right tool or if you want to save some money, you might try looking online for the supplies you need. You’ll have to pay the shipping costs and wait an extra week or two, but often if you buy more than one tool, the total savings will be worth it. You should always buy from a reputable seller, though, and search around beforehand for anything negative that people had to say about their buying experience.
As far as basic digging tools go, you might already have all you’ll need. There are several types that you should get though, for different specific tasks. A round point shovel is good for digging holes for plants. A spade is necessary for all the more intricate work. A garden fork you might not use as much, but I have one in my tool shed and I’ve been thankful for it on multiple occasions. Having these different varieties of digging tools can help you to minimize the work you have to do. For example, if you try digging a big hole with a little spade then you’ll end up rather tired. The same goes if you are attempting to do more detailed work with a big clumsy shovel.
A rake is an absolute necessity. You most likely already have one, but I’m guessing it’s a lawn rake and not a garden rake. There is definitely a difference, and if you try to use a lawn rake in a garden then you will not be happy with the results. Same if you buy a grading or a contractor’s rake. You’ll want to look for a bowhead rake. I’ve found these are the best for gardening purposes. They will provide you the maximum control and accuracy, so you don’t accidentally tear up your precious plants.
As far as hoes go, I don’t believe any gardener should have less than 3. There are so many useful varieties on the market that I have a hard time recommending just one, and that’s why I’ll tell you all the ones I usually use. The one I use the most is the onion hoe, which is very lightweight and ideal for small cultivations and weeding. The Warren hoe is a larger model, with a pointed end. If you need to make a hole or dig out a pesky weed, this is the one for you. There are several other varieties, but I recommend starting with the ones I mentioned. As you progress in your gardening savvy, you will find the need for more types.
Most people believe that gardening just consists of a simple spade. But there are many, many tools with many more variations that you will use in your gardening career. Usually you can start with just a few different tools, but you’ll always find that you can use more varieties for special situations. It’s just a matter of recognizing when one tool could be more efficient than another.
Preparing Your Garden fo the Winter
Some people believe that when the weather starts getting colder and the leaves start to fall, it is time to put away the gardening tools and wait until next spring to work on their garden again. Wrong. Winter is an important time to maintain your garden's health and assure yourself a good crop for next year. You may think that might take to long to prepare your garden, but the truth is that it takes less than one day to prepare your garden for the upcoming winter.
When the nighttime temperatures drop to less than forty-five degrees Fahrenheit for more than four days in a row, or frost is forecasted for your area (usually around late October or November) you know its time to begin preparing your garden. You should begin by evaluating your garden design, check which plants grew well in the past season, and which plants did not do well. Fall is a good time to decide which plants will remain in you garden next year, and which ones should go.
It is also a good time to decide which new plants you want to grow. To make your garden more colorful and healthy, be sure only to plant the more hardy plants during the fall so that they can withstand the winter. Some plants that will do fine being planted in fall are: rudbeckia, Aster Novi-belgii, Anemone Japonica, panicle hyandea, endive, escarole, and Brussels sprouts. You can find all of these and more in gardening magazines or your local nursery.
After you have finished this you should begin cleaning up your garden. Begin by pulling out weeds that may have cropped up, and raking fallen leaves. Weeds and rotten leaves can carry insects and diseases that might be harmful to your garden. You should also rid your garden of spent annual plants, and harvest your vegetables and other plants that cannot withstand the winter weather. After fall has come and gone, the leaves will be off your trees and you can see the rotten branches. Trimming off the unwanted branches from your trees isn't necessary to your gardens health, but may help later on by not dropping branches on your plants and not blocking too much of the sun.
If you have younger trees you should consider wrapping them and supporting them with stakes to help them survive the winter wind and cold. Putting mulch over your garden for the winter can be a helpful way to protect plants from sudden temperature changes and heavy snow. For mulch you can use about five inches of shredded bark, pine needles, or a variety of other materials. You have to be careful not to mulch too early, because some insects may still be alive and able to take shelter in it for the winter.
Once you are finished with your gardening tools you should clean them and make sure they are in a safe place where they won't rust and you know where they'll be for next year. Before winter comes you should always set out slug repellent, as slugs are one of the worst bugs to have in your garden. If you have a pool or fountain in your garden, be sure to take out any fish that you have in them and bring them inside. There’s nothing sadder than a fish frozen in a block of ice.