It’s one of the most basic hobbies known to man, yet can also be one of the most frustrating.
Gardening and growing plants and crops is not just a science – there’s a distinct art to it too. Whether you’re brand new to the garden, perhaps having been allocated an allotment for the first time, or you’ve got seasoned green fingers, thre’s never a guarantee of a perfect crop or brilliant bloom. Perhaps that’s actually what’s so addictive, nature’s own gamble, a roll of the horticultural dice.
There’s the obvious place to start for beginners – daffodils and tomatoes, and any knowledgeable expert will tell you that even these simple plants can beat the most careful of gardeners, so what chance do we have if we’re growing orchids or other delicate species? As we’ve said, a good relationship with Mother Nature will carry you far, but to get across the finish line time and again, there’s a massive learning curve, and like so many professions, an entire career is barely enough to truly master the subject.
So, not to put a downer on things, let’s talk about the very simple bones of the matter.
Here in the UK, we don’t have a great climate for gardeners. A good climate is predictable. It’s less important what that predictable environment is – after all, a rice field thrives on torrential rain. On the other hand, that same storminess isn’t going to do much for your spuds and tomatoes. Knowing what the weather’s going to be doing months in advance would make any farmer a millionaire, but it’s just not going to happen. We’ve seen widespread flooding in June in the last twenty years, a perfect example of what you wouldn’t expect to happen. So, what can you do in such an unpredictable country?
Well, first and foremost, work to trends. Grow plants that like drier conditions in the summer, and leave the winter for preparing for future seasons or tending to the most resilient of shrubs. You’re quite simply going to fail if you start trying to grow strawberries to pick in the winter months, unles you’ve got some fairly impressive equipment. If it was that easy, Tesco wouldn’t be importing from foreign climbs.
Stick to what you’re good at. Brain surgeons are specialists in their field, so you wouldn’t expect to find them doing intricate spinal procedures. Similarly, once you get good at growing a particular veggie or fruit, stick at what you’re good at. Plants belong to families, and generally speaking, those families require common conditions to thrive. It’s not always true, but it’s a good place to start. Sticking to what you know can help you get more confident, and quickly. Gardening is a huge topic, and as we said before can be a lifelong skill to develop. Building on existing knowledge is always easier than learning from scratch, so take the garden path of least resistance.
Always Learn From Seeds
If you must follow the urge to move to new areas, start simple. Getting the basics in one area may be totally different to another. Some plants require a particularly specific climate, whereas others seek a more carefully balanced nutrition from the soil. Learning what these basics are in advance can save a lot of frustration in the long run.
Getting your hobby as a gardener underway is all about leveraging the simplest concepts which are easy to pick up from gardening magazines and websites. Remember that natural growth is something that stretches from months into years, so spending a few hours researching the essentials is critical. Finding out you’ve wasted hours in the garden is annoying, and sadly an inevitable outcome for the ill prepared gardener. No-one is that lucky without starting armed with their simple foundations!