Tips for a lus­cious gar­den for novice green thumbs

Pilbara News - - Property -

Start­ing a gar­den from the bare earth can be a daunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

It’s even more knee trem­bling if you are a novice and walk into a large nurs­ery and cast a glazed eye over the hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts that are hurled at the ap­pren­tice gar­dener.

So for all you be­gin­ner gar­den­ers, here is a con­densed ver­sion of what you need to know be­fore em­bark­ing on your first gar­den­ing chal­lenge.

Plan­ning

This can be as sim­ple as you want or a full-blown scaled draw­ing.

Ask your builder for the site plan, it will be to scale and you can mark out where you want the gar­den beds, lawn, clothes line, chook pen, swing, sand­pit, shade trees, vegie gar­den, bar­be­cue, etc. Sim­ply get an A3 draw­ing pad and start mark­ing out the spa­ces.

Mark out NSEW points so you un­der­stand where the sun trav­els across the sky.

Don’t think about the gar­den as an added-on af­ter­thought — it should com­ple­ment the de­sign of the house and pro­vide dif­fer­ent spa­ces for dif­fer­ent times of the

year. A gar­den needs to have beauty, longevity and pro­vide a peace­ful respite from the daily grind.

TIP: Re­mem­ber the gar­den should be seen as the most valu­able room in your house, par­tic­u­larly if you have chil­dren and pets. It can be the most ef­fi­cient air-con­di­tioner to your house.

Soil

Gar­den­ing is all about the soil. So, the first and most im­por­tant pur­chase you will get is a soil pH test­ing kit. They’re about $20 and worth their weight in gold.

You want the pH of the soil to be about 6.5-7, with added com­post or soil con­di­tioner and clay if you are in coastal sands or gyp­sum in the hills or clay soil.

Ma­nure and other or­ganic ma­te­rial will al­ways im­prove the phys­i­cal make-up of the soil and feed ben­e­fi­cial soil mi­crobes.

The best prod­uct to mix in with the ex­ist­ing soil is aged com­post.

TIP: It is essential to use a wet­ting agent to get new plants es­tab­lished. You can use ei­ther gran­u­lar or liq­uid wet­ting agents or both. Re­mem­ber you pay for what you get — it’s bet­ter to get a good qual­ity prod­uct that ac­tu­ally works and does what it says.

Plants

Plan your gar­den first be­fore ven­tur­ing out into the nurs­eries.

Spend as much time as pos­si­ble re­search­ing plants be­fore you pur­chase them — think of your gar­den as a long-term in­vest­ment for your whole fam­ily.

I can­not stress enough how im­por­tant trees are to put into your gar­den. We are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing warmer, longer sum­mers and a tree will make the world of dif­fer­ence to the tem­per­a­ture in and around your house.

TIP: Re­mem­ber all plants will need to be planted out with com­post or soil con­di­tioner, wet­ting agent, ma­nure and slow re­lease fer­tiliser, even na­tives. They are com­ing out of a nurs­ery that is wa­tered and fer­tilised so putting them straight into the soil with­out any prepa­ra­tion may be fa­tal.

Pic­ture: Iain Gille­spie

Frangi­pa­nis are a great plant for your first gar­den.

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