20 Tips for Cultivating Your Garden

This week I thought I’d share with you some great tips for making the best of your garden.

Some of the tips below save you time, some even save you money, but all of them will help you to grow the best garden you possibly can.

20 Gardening Tips

  1. Plan and make lists.  It doesn’t have to be detailed but it does need to be able to tell you two vital things; where are you going to sow/grow and when will you need to do it?  Set it up in Jan and you can refer to it throughout the growing season.
  2. Photograph your garden through the yr.  This way when the perennials die back you can remember what plant’s you’ve already got before buying more.  It also helps to remind you what crops grew where each year as you need to rotate.
  3. Don’t cut your lawn – or at least not every week.  Not only will it save you money, and create a good habitat for small insects, but the lawn will retain moisture for longer saving you from watering.
  4. Grow mint in pots, that way you won’t be overgrown with mint (which can take over your garden pretty quickly).
  5. Chives, nasturtiums, rosemary and thyme all produce edible flowers which can be used for decoration, colour while bringing some texture to your food plate
  6. Crushed eggshells can be used as a semi-slug deterrent (you need a lot of shell to make it work well).  Add eggshells to your watering can.  It will enhance your soil with minerals and calcium, which plants love.
  7. Coffee grounds are excellent for plants.  Add spent grounds to your composter, or as a mulch around plants.  Fresh coffee grounds can be used and added to the top of soil as a food for acid loving plants.
  8. Don’t be afraid to try different planting shapes.  Lines are great for allotments but consider other configurations, like diamonds, to get double the crops in smaller spaces.  Use a space calculator to see what you can space crops and flowers really need.  I use this one.
  9. Wonder if any of those old seed packets will germinate?  Tip the seeds in water first.  Any that float to the top discard to the bin.
  10. Keep newspapers to line plant trenches, pots or just planting holes.  Especially good for water hungry runner beans.  This is a really cheap way to retain moisture which breaks down into the soil naturally.
  11. Grow plants up as well as in rows.  To maximise space grow up fences, walls and even other shrubs.  Climbers and vines come in all shapes and sizes adding a new depth to your garden both visually and creatively.  Avoid planting any perennial climbers (ivy etc) that way you can remove the plants easily if you decide on something else.
  12. Soap shavings can detour squirrels and rabbits from digging up your bulbs.  Just make sure the soap you use is really smelly fragranced!
  13. Deadhead.  Remove flowers from plants as soon as they die.  This will encorouge even more flowers.  This is espcially true for bedding plants.
  14. Make mistakes.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes when planting.  It’s great to get something wrong.  How else do we learn otherwise?
  15. Want some plant ideas?  Take a walk around your neighbourhood.  Not only will you see some far-out planting scheme but you’ll see what plants establish best in your temperate zone.
  16. The best plants to attract bees and other pollinators don’t always have to be the most colourful.  Raspberry, chives and rosemary are really easy to grow and will have your garden buzzing in no time.
  17. Add some water and bring calm to your outdoor space.  Whether it’s a bog garden, a pond or a water fountain it will instantly make you feel more at ease and creates a feature all of it’s own.
  18. Mulch, mulch, mulch.  Where ever you have plants add mulch.  That could be anything from eggshells to gravel, wood shavings to newspaper.  Anything that stops the top of the soil (or any part of the soil) from drying out quicker.  Use as liberally as you can.  It can also help to prevent slug and snail damage (depending on material used).
  19. Companion planting.  To repell the bad pests and attract the good bugs consider planting flowers and vegetables or herbs and flowers, or even shrubs and fruits together to maximise your gardens organic potentials.  A good list or companions can be found here.
  20. Don’t look for perfection.  Grow what appeals to you. What you like the look, smell and taste of.  Cultivating is about enjoying the garden in all shapes and sizes.

Until next Monday Greenies…have a great week.

Question of the week:

What is the best gardening tip you’ve ever had (whether it worked or not)?