Gardening at home is a lovely experience, especially if you live in the city and have few chances to interact with nature in your daily life. The garden will decorate your home or outside space, support wildlife in your area by providing food and attracting small beneficial insects and other species, like birds and butterflies. In addition, the health and well-being of your family will be improved by the contact with nature and eating fresh food and spices from your garden. When you grow your own food through gardening at home, you also reduce the fuel consumption and carbon emissions generated by food transportation from farms to your local supermarket, contributing to fight climate change.
Your choices will depend on your available space and routine. Is the available space big or small? Sunny or shaded? Do you have time to care for your garden every day or do you prefer low maintenance plants? You should think about all these variables before choosing your plants and this link can help you choose the appropriate plants for your home.
All plants need some sunlight, water and a balanced temperature. However, some plants may have special needs and it is important that you read or ask someone for instructions every time you buy a new plant for your garden. Here we will give you some basic initial instructions and suggestions of plants that grow well in most places in the UK with the ordinary care.
You will not need many tools to start. After you choose the space, pots or planters, you will have to buy the adequate soil amount to fill the containers. Flowers usually require richer soil types, especially orchids, but the regular garden soil sold in shops and markets will do for most plants. We also recommend buying a hand trowel or scoop to help you work and mould the soil and gloves if you do not want to get your hands and nails dirty.
You can start planting even in the middle of winter, but if the weather is too cold where you live and there is a risk of frosting, you should start sowing seeds indoors (but the plant will still need sunlight!). Very small seeds can be simply scattered on soil with a thin layer of soil over them, medium ones can go into shallow holes and be covered by soil; bigger ones however may require some special treatment and usually come with instructions. Do not forget to water the soil. The optimal temperature for germination is around 12º to 20º C unless otherwise stated in the seed’s instructions.
Watering the plants is a very important process that most people get wrong, killing their plants by overwatering. Use your fingers to test soil moisture and only water it again if it feels dry. The soil must be moist and well drained. You can use containers with drain holes and saucers. In addition, most plants can survive a few days without watering and you will be free to travel. They will require more watering in the summer, however. The process is more efficient when done in the morning or at night, when the plants and soil can take more of the water before it evaporates.
To help your plant grow faster and stronger, you should remove dried flowers and leaves as they keep draining nutrients from the plant in vain. In the beginning, you can use your own hands to detach dried leaves and flowers as part of the maintenance process, but if you want to control the plants growth by pruning, you will need to buy secateurs as inadequate scissors can damage your plants.
Here is a list of plants for you to start. Flowers: daffodil (narcissus), cotton, lavender, chamomile, many types of tulips like red georgette and black parrot, dahlia, rhododendron, many types of roses and viola. Culinary herbs: spearmint, peppermint, hyssop, lemon balm, basil, rosemary, parsley and coriander.
Pests or diseases usually do not affect most of the plants suggested above, but aphids are the most common pests found on plants. Aphids are very small bugs, usually looking like white dots on the soil, branches and leaves. They feed from the plant and can eat its entire roots! Do not worry because you can get rid of them very easily: spray some water mixed with neutral soap on the branches and soil. Regularly dig the soil gently to check for this pest, particularly if you suspect the plant is not growing as usual.
We believe you will love to grow your own plants! We also recommend the BBC Gardening guides for more information. Do not forget they are living creatures and that many researches claim they are capable of feeling and reacting. Treat them like very well-mannered pets and they will certainly grow well and provide you with a better living environment. Get started and Green It Yourself Now!
Do you have a garden at home? Have you started one after reading our post? Please comment here!