Planning a Garden

When should I start one? What do I need? A garden is a space to display the enjoyment of growing and tending to plants. Some contain shrubs and flowers for ornamental purposes while others have vegetables and herbs that produce food on a smaller scale. In this blog, we will be concentrating on floral and vegetable gardens. One of the first things to is to have a rough idea of what it will look like, what plants would you like to start with and the space you will need. It will be a work in progress and you can adjust along the way. Gardens can have various design features – it’s up to you.
An easy way to get some inspiration and ideas on what you would like to include in your garden is to take a walk through your neighbourhood. Take photos and notes of what you like and what grows well in your area. Go to garden shops. Ask your neighbours and florists. Go through a few gardening and landscaping books. Select species that will thrive in your region; take into the amount of sunlight and temperature ranges. Give thought to creating a balance between lawns, shrubs and flowers. Consider form, colours and textures. A lawn can provide comfort and serve as a lovely compliment to flower beds. A well-maintained lawn can also offer a space for grounding - to walk over a lawn on bare feet for health benefits. Flower gardens can include plants of different colours, sizes, textures and fragrances. Flowers are wonderful to create curb appeal but also take into account the surrounding foliage and bark from other plants that can provide other colours all year round to extend the attractiveness of your garden. Some other things to consider are gardening tools. Pick up some good sturdy hand tools, a shovel and a trowel that will last for years. Don't forget some comfortable gloves! A good soil mixture and some compost will serve you well. Next, purchase a few pots, plates, buckets and a quality hose and nozzle. You will be pruning and trimming your plants and some pruning shears and clippers will be very useful. There is nothing as rewarding and tastier than picking your own fresh vegetables. Tomatoes and sweet peas would give a splash of colour and sweetness to your dishes. When you are just starting out, start with a smaller patch and limit the variety as you build confidence. Plant vegetables that are easy to grow. Tomatoes and zucchini grow well in mid-summer. Lettuce, spinach, and root vegetables (carrots and radishes) are cool-season vegetables and ideal for the fall. Consider how much time is required. A vegetable garden requires attention for the best yields.
Sketch out a map and note where the sun shines throughout the season, the shaded areas, water and drainage. Most vegetables require 6 to 10 hours of sunlight each day. Pick a spot and mark out the area. Outline the garden with string and stakes, dig up about 12 inches of soil and install any edging to keep the boundary intact. A common arrangement, to begin with, is a rectangle anywhere between 5 to 10 feet in width. Consider the height and width of your plants as they grow and mature. Give your plants room to grow. Will you have enough room between plants? Will they overgrow onto others and crowd out the sun? Large trees and shrubs might provide too much shade on other plants. If some plants are going to be taller than three feet high, they should be two or three feet from other plants to accommodate as they get bigger. Most evergreen shrubs need sun while broad-leafed shrubs thrive in the shade. Large plants should be planted in the back while smaller plants are advised to be placed near in the foreground. With your plants in pots, place them in locations to see how they look before you transplant them into the ground. This is a time you can add splashes of colours here and there, noting height differences, the fullness of species and even which plants may help keep insects and pests away from others. A rule of thumb is it is better to plant a fifty-cent plant in a five-dollar hole than a five-dollar plant in a fifty-cent hole. Use soaker hoses with a timer to mitigate overwatering. Keep thorny plants like roses back from the walkways. Pathways should be wide enough for two people to walk side by side – no less than five feet. If this sounds like too big of a job to manage or you live in an apartment without a yard? Not to worry. You can create an oasis on your balcony or entranceway. Perhaps even on a window ledge. A small herb garden could be a really fun start. Some grocery stores have seedlings in small containers you can transfer into a larger herb pot. Combine several herbs you like to use and they can be very convenient when you need some
flavours in your cooking!

A garden does not need to be stressful or difficult. Use it to relieve stress, get some fresh air and share your bounty with your neighbours. Appreciate your patience and hard work. Have fun with it and don't fret if the first time things do not work out. Try again. Eventually, your green thumb will come. Stay tuned for the next blog on soil preparation. What plants do you like to start with? Have you decided on a flower or a vegetable garden? Maybe both? The Healthy Way Vibes - Health Warriors Please comment below, like and share!

References: Andrew Shulman – A Gardener Designer Offers Advice for Creating Enjoyable, Livable Garden Spaces; Pixels by Markus Spiske and Cottonbro. 


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