A great way to get the most from your garden is to follow the advice and guidance of generous gardeners who’ve already been there and done it. Here we bring you some top growing tips from expert gardeners and bloggers – green fingered folk who know their onions.
Rule number one from Patricia from The Forgotten Garden in North Devon is simply to relax and enjoy what you’re doing: “Don’t spend time focussing on what you can’t do, just focus on what you can, with an eye on the wildlife that shares the garden with you.”
Although it must be said that Patricia, in a true modest gardener way, would never describe herself as an expert. She rightly points out that all gardeners are “learning as we go, and enquiring minds discovering more!”
Another horticulturist with a laissez-faire attitude is professional gardener, Judi of Judi Samuels Garden Design who sees many clients over-pruning shrubs to force them to conform to a particular space in the garden. Instead, she advises growers not to impose their will onto a plant, but rather, “allow it to be what it knows it is.” She says:
“Part of my life’s work is teaching clients about right plant, right place – celebrating the form of a plant and allowing it to be.
In the same vein, Mike at Flighty’s Plot is all about “enjoying what you do”, which for him involves giving yourself the space to simply try things to see what happens without putting yourself under too much pressure to succeed every time.
Less is more
Why not let the earth itself tell you what it wants to grow? Says James of Totally Wild. He recommends leaving a 2m square patch of soil bare so that “so-called” weeds can fill it:
“Once you know what grows there, discover what you can do with it. The nettles are edible, the dandelions can make coffee, the chickweed a salad, and ground elder is fantastic wilted.”
And don’t bite off more than you can chew says Jono of Real Men Sow: “Even if you are lucky enough to get a full size plot, don’t feel pressurised to use it all.” Keeping things small and manageable makes sense, he says:
“Concentrate on growing the food you enjoy, and not trying to grow so much that you can’t maintain a neat and tidy plot.
Do always take note of the weather says Matt of Grow Like Grandad – it will catch out the hasty gardener:
“Don’t be in a hurry to sow seeds early or plant out tender crops, you’ll only end up doing the same job twice.
A sure-fire way to expand your gardening knowledge is to make a note of all the interesting plants you come across while you’re out and about says Sally of Sally’s Garden Blog: “I always keep a gardening notebook and pen to write down any interesting plant I come across and a camera to remind myself of great plants.”
Reduce, reuse, recycle
If you’re growing in large pots in an urban garden or on a balcony, Ellen of Ellen Mary Gardening says you can make them much easier to move about by half filling them with packing peanuts before planting:
“It’s a great way to recycle packaging and lessen waste and all you need to do is place some landscape fabric on top, then your soil and plant up.
Meanwhile, Mal of Mal’s Edinburgh Allotment has a great tip for reducing waste. He says: “Use writable tape to transform single use plastic labels into multiple use plastic labels.”
Got an old plastic striplight cover? Rachel at The Good Life Ain’t Easy’s ingenious tip is to use it as an outdoor propagator to get your seeds to germinate. Hers “worked like mini greenhouses warming up the soil” – what a great idea.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our contributors’ fab gardening tips; if you have any of your own to add, please leave us a message on our Facebook page. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this little pearl of wisdom from Thomas at Thomas Stone Horticultural Services:
“Take 15 minutes to enjoy your garden; sit down and relax in it and enjoy your hard work.
And that’s perhaps the most important tip of all…