Like pet ownership, gardening is an effective way to relieve stress. It helps ease tension from all the challenges you face in different aspects of life, from work or family.
You might be wondering why taking care of other living things actually helps you feel more relaxed. For gardening, it is most likely because of the fresh air you get to breathe when you’re outdoors.
Studies also found that this activity reduces the level of cortisol – or the so-called “stress hormone” – in your body more than other hobbies, like reading a book. Even the simple act of sitting in the garden does wonders for your physical and mental health, too.
Considering all this, it isn’t surprising that more and more people have started to turn to gardening for some stress relief. If you’re one of those newbie gardeners, you’ll want to read the four best tips for starting your own garden as explained by landscaping experts in St. Charles, MO below:
Don’t forget the basics.
Sometimes, people get too caught up in knowing every bit of a complicated step that they tend to forget the basics. The same is true for gardening.
In this type of hobby, you’ll need to keep the following things in mind:
The Planting Site
Starting your own garden is much like real estate – it’s all about the location. Picking a site in your yard to plant different foliage greatly affects how well they can thrive. It also determines their health and, thus, their appearance.
You also need to choose a spot where you can see your garden regularly. This way, you are more likely to spend time in it.
Plants need only a few things to survive and thrive, and water is one of them. Ensure that you have an irrigation system in place or have a regular schedule for watering your plants.
It would also be wise to plan your new garden close to a water source. This will make hosing the garden easier during your scheduled watering or whenever your plants look thirsty.
Pro Tip: How can you tell if it’s time to water? Push one finger about one inch deep into the soil. If the soil feels dry, your plant is thirsty and needs a drink.
Plants harness the energy of the sun to make their own food through photosynthesis. This means that they need enough sunlight to turn into energy to survive.
But take note that, like water, sunlight requirements vary from one plant to another. Some thrive better under a full six to eight hours of direct sunlight, while others fare better in a shady plot.
Considering this, observe the available sunlight in your chosen garden site during different times of the day. This will help you with your plant selection and placement later on.
Never overwater the plants.
People are under the impression that watering plants frequently is the best way to keep them healthy, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, some plants have a higher risk of dying from overwatering compared to underwatering.
When you purchase a new plant from a nursery, be sure to read the care guide that comes with it. If it doesn’t come with a guide, take the liberty of asking the seller about the plant’s basic care instructions, especially the frequency and amount of watering it needs.
You can also do some research before buying a plant you’re unfamiliar with. All it takes is a simple Google search or a short YouTube tutorial to start caring for your garden properly. Reading this article is definitely a good start.
A good rule of thumb is to water plants when the top of the soil (about one or two inches deep) is already dry. To determine this, you can perform the finger soil moisture test mentioned earlier.
Also, most plants don’t want to sit in soggy soil, so be sure to check if potted plants have good drainage and dump excess water gathered in the saucer after watering.
Nourish the soil.
Besides sun and water, plants – except Tillandsia or “air plants” – also need soil to survive. This is because the soil holds most of the vital nutrients they need to survive.
One way to make sure that you have good soil in your garden is through soil testing. There are two ways to do this:
- You can take a sample from your garden and send it to a local soil testing facility or agriculture office
- You can use DIY soil testing kits available in the market
Soil testing achieves one primary thing: determining the level of acidity of the soil. The soil’s pH level should match the specific requirements of the plants you choose to keep in your garden.
The neutral pH is 7.0. Any lower and it’s considered acidic, while higher means it’s alkaline.
Most plants require soil with 6.1 to 7.0 pH. Heathers and rhododendrons like a bit more acid and thrive on soil with pH levels of 5.1 to 6.0. Others need something higher, so you might need to use a bit of limestone to make the soil more alkaline.
Too much acidity can cause nutrients to dissolve and get washed away. Plus, bacteria won’t be able to break down nutrient-rich organic matter at 4.7 pH or lower, which means plants will get even less food.
But soil that is too alkaline isn’t good either as it will have less iron, phosphorus, and manganese – all of which are crucial for plant health. If this is the case, you can use acidifying agents like iron sulfate and sulfur to increase the soil’s acidity level based on your plants’ requirements.
Know when to hire help.
Now that you know how to do things around the garden, you might be tempted to do it all on your own. However, some tasks are too great, especially for beginners like you.
That said, never shy away from getting expert help. In fact, you have to admit and accept it when something is too complex or difficult to do on your own.
Lawn care treatments in St. Charles, MO, for instance, require proper training, tools, and experience to perform well. The key is to be open-minded and ask. After all, it’s better to hire someone to do it properly than attempt to save some cash by doing it on your own, only to spend more money in the long run from correcting any mistakes made later.
Start Your Own Garden
The success of your first attempt at gardening lies in how well you’ve prepared for it. Start learning with the best tips for beginners listed here and enjoy all the benefits of having a beautiful and thriving garden.