Take your best shot at your plot in 2018 with these gardening must-dos!
Here we are, in the new year already! I was thinking over the festive season about the challenges that lie ahead for me in the garden this year. What tips would I give to a gardener who’s relatively new to the game?Overall, the most important thing is to enjoy the ride! Nature’s bounties are a huge source of joy to me, and I know as well as anyone what a delight flowers, plants and trees can be. There may be bumps along the way, but in 2018 let’s pledge to keep these resolutions to enjoy a beautiful and healthy plot.
Make sure you have time to enjoy your garden: Nurturing your garden can get pretty full-on, so it’s important to make sure not to bite off more than you can chew, or else you’ll never get a chance to just chill out and enjoy your handiwork! January is a great time to plan the year ahead in your garden so that you’re prepared when it comes to the hive of activity that spring and summer bring. Then, when those beautiful June and July days (hopefully) come around, you can spend evenings in the garden with your feet up!
Experiment with growing plants you can eat: Once you’re confident with growing and nurturing plants, a great next step is cultivating plants you can eat! A small patch of garden can lend itself really well to the growing of courgettes or beans, and beautiful yellow cherry tomatoes can even be grown in a hanging basket. For something a little bit different, grow edible flowers.
Protect your garden timber: This is an essential step to avoid wasting time and money on your garden. Make sure you protect wooden fences and furniture with a wood preserver or treatment, found at most garden and DIY centres, to enjoy them looking fresh for years.
Grow some plants for cuttings: There’s nothing more rewarding than looking out of your window and spotting some delicate, bright blooms in your garden.
Except maybe… bringing those blooms inside for their fragrance and colour. Roses, dahlias, asters, feverfew, zinnias, clary sage and loads of other fantastic flowers will bring structure, shape and interest to your garden and can last for ages in a vase indoors. With a bit of clever planting, you can enjoy garden-fresh flowers nearly all year round!
Waste not want not: Water is an extremely precious resource – there’s no two ways about it. Catch rainwater in a water butt, and use a soaker hose to minimise runoff when you’re watering.
Build your own compost heap: As mentioned up above, I’m a huge fan of home composting. Gather garden waste and food scraps to create your own ‘black gold’ and give your plants a serious nourishment boost. Here’s my article on making your own compost.
Say ‘see ya’ to slugs! Sorry, fellas, but this town isn’t big enough for both of us. Slugs are a menace in the garden, and will munch through seedlings, young plants and prize veggies with a voracious appetite. There are lots of ways to deter slugs, including copper tape, home-made slug traps and pellets – but for the latter, make sure you’re choosing a non-toxic brand that won’t harm the wildlife that feast on slugs too. It’s also a good idea to…
Welcome wildlife: Not only is it a real treat to spot birds, hedgehogs and frogs in your garden – these helpful critters will also help you keep on top of pest control. Here are my top tips on welcoming wildlife to your plot.
And… enjoy yourself! All the best for 2018. Katie x