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New to gardening

Maybe you've just moved into a new house, you've got a balcony or you've just woken up to the beauty and energy it can give us to be surrounded by beautiful flowers and the animal and insect life it brings?

... But how do you get started?

I've had quite a few customers come to me and say something like "I don't even know which end of the spade to stick in the ground" or "It's completely beyond me to have to get to grips with all the theory behind it before I can get started"... But you don't actually need to know anything about the theory to get started. The best way to start up with gardening is just to try it out. Are you going to make mistakes? Will there be flowers that don't sprout? Are the weeds growing too fast for you? Yes, yes and yes... It's bound to happen for most, but that's okay. A garden can't and shouldn't be perfect from the start and it's perfectly ok to make mistakes. I do that every year too... Lots of them... And then I learn from it.

It's actually not that hard to get started. There are just a few tips you need to keep in mind and here they come:

  • Choose the right seeds: start with annual flowers (i.e. flowers that only bloom once, as opposed to perennials, which come back year after year in the same place) - they're the easiest to get right and produce beautiful flowers straight away, giving you a sense of achievement. For example, take a look here where I've collected all the easiest flowers to grow that you almost can't go wrong with.
  • Sow at the right time: the seed bags always say when the seeds should go in the ground. As a general rule, almost all annual flower seeds can be sown in May and June.

If you're a beginner, don't propagate your flowers indoors. Just sow them directly where you want them.

  • Prepare a piece of land: When you're about to sow, it's important to have a patch of soil in your garden that's reasonably weed-free and not too compacted - you should be able to stick a finger in the soil.
If you are a beginner, don't worry too much about soil type, acidity, etc. Most easy flowers can grow in any soil - if the soil is poor, the flowers may be a little shorter and fewer will appear.
  • Sow your flower seeds: when it's time to sow, there are two options
    1. Rows: you make one or more furrows in the soil with a rake/shovel/stick about 1-2 cm deep (It doesn't matter exactly how deep). You water the furrow so that the soil down in the groove is wet and then you distribute your seeds in the groove. Then you cover the groove with soil and gently press the soil down onto the groove itself with the rake. This is done to ensure that the seeds have good soil contact. Remember to mark the groove with a stick or sign so you can see where your flowers are sprouting. Or
    2. Area: you loosen the surface soil really thoroughly on a piece of land. Then you distribute your seeds on the area and rake the area with a regular rake. Then water the whole area thoroughly. There will be a greater "waste" of seeds with this method, as some seeds will be on the surface and some underground, but it can be a quicker method if you have a larger piece of land.
    • Keep the weeds away and avoid drying out: here comes the hard part. It's important while the seedslings are small that you keep the worst weeds away and if there are dry spells, the little sprouts need a little water. This is especially important while they're small, because their roots aren't yet deep enough to find water themselves further down in the soil.

    NOTE: It can be difficult at first to tell what are weeds and what are flower sprouts. Therefore, it can be beneficial to plant in rows - this makes it easier to identify sprouts that look similar and grow in straight rows. As a general rule: Look for the sprouts that are unique to the particular patch of soil you have sown the flowers in - 2m to the right, these sprouts should not be present. If in doubt, leave the sprouts until you can identify if they are your flowers - you can always remove them later if they are weeds.

    • Thin out your sprouts: If you have sown your seeds densely and many sprouts are coming up, it is a good idea to thin out the rows. If the flowers are well spaced, they will be bigger and better looking. If they are too close together, they will become rattled or smaller. As a general rule, expect the correct spacing for annuals to be around 10-15cm. If you don't manage to thin out the row, don't dispair. The flowers will fight for space and some of them will win over the others and set flowers.
    • Do you want them to breed? Many annual flowers can and will self-seed if allowed. That means, that the flowers, when they have bloomed, will set seed and these seeds will fall to the ground, where they might sprout the following year. If you don't want this, simply cut off the flowers that have finished flowering before they set seed. Not all annual flowers will self-seed, but most can.

    I hope you can use my little guide. It's not that difficult to grow flowers - they do all the work themselves and just need a little support and help from you.

    If you want to get started with some seeds for beginners, try looking at these seeds where you are almost guaranteed success.