Q. I have never done gardening before and would like to give it a try. Do you have any tips for me? Stuart, Concord, MA
A. Here are some tips for beginning gardeners to follow:
- Decide the amount of time and money you’d like to spend on your gardening project. It’s best to begin with a small garden as there will be a lot to do.
- Learn about the areas where you will be gardening before you purchase any plants and plant them. Is it sunny or shady? Windy or protected? You should put the right plant in the right place.
- Check out the soil to see if it is sandy, clay-like, rocky or loose. No matter the condition of the soil, dig in some organic compost to enrich it.
- Buy some basic gardening tools; a trowel, spade, shovel, rake, hand pruner, a garden hose and nozzle.
- Learn about plants, particularly the ones you like, by reading gardening books, reviewing garden labels at a garden center, asking knowledgeable gardeners, joining a local garden club.
- Follow the basic plant care listed on plant tags. Water, fertilize and prune regularly.
- Learn to identify pest, disease and environmental stressor symptoms before they become problems. This gives you time to respond and take care of them.
- Keep a journal and record what has worked and not worked in the garden. Refer to it when planning for next year’s gardening.
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