Beautiful weather and lots of sun are usually enough to entice most of us outside, even in the middle of winter.
Sometimes the weather alone isn’t enough to get some of us into gardening but in times of hardship even the most reluctant seem ready to give it a go. It’s amazing how many people have taken up the hobby while they’ve been working from home or practising their social distancing skills!
If this has got you even a little bit interested in trying your hand at gardening, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a few of the best and easiest flowers and vegetables to get you started. There’s no time like the present to start digging, planting and getting your hands dirty.
Gardening Steps for Beginners
1. Plan what kind of garden you want: Do you want a flower garden, a vegetable patch, a herb garden or a bit of everything?
Maybe you just want to add a few pots or hanging baskets to add some splashes of colour to outdoor living areas. Whatever it is you want, the first thing you need as a newbie gardener is a plan.
2. Consider the weather and environment: How much light do you get? Do you get a lot of rain? It’s really important to check out what will grow well in your location by looking at neighbours’ gardens and looking at what’s available in your local garden centre. There’s no point trying to grow a tropical plant in southern Australia, for example. Failure at the first hurdle is often enough to discourage any further attempts at growing things.
3. Before you plant anything, improve your soil: Aim for soil that’s like a chocolate cake – crumbly and moist! You can give your garden a boost with a healthy dose of organic material such as Performance Naturals Soil Improver, that’s easy to add direct from the bag.
Three Favourite Flowers For Beginners
If you’re a beginner looking to add colour to the garden, seasonal flowers (annuals) are a great starting point. They “live fast and die young”, adding explosions of colour to your garden. They’re easy to plant and easy to care for.
Here’s our “Top Three” easy-grow garden flowers that won’t ever disappoint:
Even the kids can sow the seeds and grow sunflowers easily and with minimal input from parents. Go for giant varieties if you want to transform your garden into a playful haven, with huge, eye-catching yellow flowers followed by heads of seeds that native birds just love.
The garden can be quite drab in winter when flowers are scarce on shrubs and trees. Add a splash of bright colour with pansies – their pretty faces in shades from white through to almost black will delight children and adults alike. They will flower right through from late autumn well into spring. Keep them blooming by pinching off faded flowers regularly – this encourages them to produce more buds.
If you want an addition to your garden that is not only going to look beautiful but smell beautiful too – sow some sweet pea seeds or, if the thought of waiting for seeds to come up is too much, plant out seedlings. In Australia, sweet pea seeds are traditionally sown around St Patrick’s Day (March 17). Seedlings can go in from late autumn. All you need is a sunny spot and plenty of water – enjoy.
Three Favourite Vegetables For Beginners
Growing potatoes at home is really easy. You can buy certified disease-free seed potatoes from the garden centre or simply use some of the old spuds that have started to sprout in the bottom of the basket in the panty! Cut them up so there’s only one or two ‘eyes’ or shoots per piece and leave them out in the air for a few days for the cut surfaces to dry out before planting about 10cm deep in the garden.
Salad leaves are a sure winner over the warmer months. Crunchy leaves picked fresh from your own garden are bound to be the perfect base for a summer salad. With such a large range of flavours, colours, and textures to choose from there is something for everyone. Choose from cut and come again lettuce (pick outside leaves every few days), traditional lettuce (where the whole plant is cut) or greens like rocket and Asian vegies.
With the summer months approaching, every garden should have some room for French or green beans. They are a perfect vegetable to grow for beginners as they take up a small amount of space and are really easy to grow. Seeds will sprout within a few days and they’ll be cropping in less than two months. They are quite susceptible to cold weather and frost, so wait until mid to late spring to sow seeds.