Contrary to what most people think, gardening is actually for everyone. We were led to believe that there are people born and blessed with ‘green thumbs’. The truth: gardening is a skill that can be learned.
If you’ve been thinking about gardening but don’t know where to start, don’t fret. All of us have been there. Even the most seasoned gardener started from a complete ‘newbie’. What’s more, even experts can sometimes fail.
There are no inherent talents nor a ‘divine gift’ when it comes to growing plants. A plant can be grown by anyone given the right conditions. What you need to become a successful gardener is a lot of patience, dedication, and knowledge (which comes through experience).
Your gardening journey may or may not bear immediate results. However, there are a lot of plants that are easy to grow especially for beginners. Here is a list of ten plants that are suited for gardeners who are just starting out.
Before we jump straight ahead to the list, let me give you a couple of gardening tips first.
Not watering enough and watering too much are both a no-no. Plants need just the right amount of water to survive. One way to find out if you need to water your plants is by poking your fingers about two inches into the soil around the plant.
If it feels dry, that means it needs water. Otherwise, leave it be.
Improve the soil
Plants benefit a lot from nutrients in the ground. Unfortunately, these essentials get depleted over time. One way to make sure that this doesn’t happen is through composting.
For beginners, working compost into the top 8 to 12 inches of the soil using a spade or fork should be enough. Ideally, this should be done during winter or early spring.
It’s likely that you’ll forget what’s planted on which part of the yard. This can happen considering that you’re new and especially if you plan to grow different plants. To avoid this from happening, you can make small labels placed alongside your plants.
Get rid of weeds
An essential part of gardening is learning that weeds are one of the greatest enemies of plants, along with those pesky slugs and snails who will gladly feast on your garden.
If not taken care of, weeds can easily outgrow and choke your plants.
Weed regularly, making sure that all of their roots are removed. If part of the root stays in the ground, it can quickly re-grow and you’ll need to pull it again. Putting weeds in the compost might seem like a good idea, but don’t! They will easily re-root themselves and start growing in your nutrient rich compost.
Plants to grow as a beginner
Now that we’re done with the tips, it’s finally time to plant. The following plants were selected based on how easy it is to grow them. Most of them need very little to no maintenance at all.
The ideal time to grow them is during late February and March using potato bags partly filled with compost. The process is quite simple as you only need to cover them with more compost when you see green shoots above the soil.
Rinse and repeat this process until the bag is full and don’t forget to water them when needed.
10 to 20 weeks later, you can now collect your home-grown potatoes. Enjoy them boiled, mashed, chipped, or baked — it’s entirely up to you.
Tomatoes are so easy to grow that even kids can do it. That makes them even better for beginners without any gardening experience. They’re not picky so you just need to water and feed them to grow.
Bush varieties are preferable for novices since they don’t require training or side-shooting. Cherry Cascade, for instance, can be grown in hanging baskets or window boxes. You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the fruits have gained full colours.
Salad leaves can easily be bought from supermarkets. The problem though is that you can’t always guarantee that they’re fresh. If you want a consistent and fresh supply, you can grow them yourself.
Many salad leaves are ready for picking 21 days after sowing. You can grow them in raised beds, pots, or even in the ground. You can also plant them in between other plants to prevent weeds from growing instead.
Keep them well-watered and pick leaves regularly from around the outside of the plants. This encourages new leaves to grow.
Spring Onions and Radishes
Why not complete the salad dish by growing these ingredients as well? After all, there’s no better way to get your ingredients than getting them right from your garden.
These plants grow so easily and quickly. You can sow them directly to the ground or in pots. Start growing spring and summer radishes late April while autumn and winter varieties thrive best in June.
‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’
An apple tree is one of the most common and easiest fruit-bearing trees to grow. When you want to start growing apple trees, they come in two forms: bare-root stock, or in containers. The former should be planted from late autumn to early spring while the latter can be grown any time of the year.
And just like most trees, this one requires pruning to get the best crop. You will need tools similar to a tree surgeon’s to do that, like a ladder and hand saw for those harder to reach, thicker branches.
An indication that your apple tree is ready for picking is by tasting it. Another sign is when you see fruits lying on the ground.
Although these can be grown from seeds, ‘sets’ are the quickest and easiest method. ‘Sets’ are small, dry onion bulbs that have been grown the previous year. All you need to do is push them into damp soil until just the top is showing and the onion will start growing immediately.
Onions only need occasional feeding using a general liquid fertiliser. Water if the weather is dry and mulch the soil to conserve moisture. Only stop watering and feeding them once the onions have swollen.
Strawberry plants can be grown almost anywhere which makes them another excellent choice for gardening beginners. This fruit is extremely popular and growing them outdoors is not a very tough job.
These plants need frequent watering while new plants are growing. Don’t water your strawberries overhead as this can cause the crown and fruits to rot. Instead pour water straight onto the soil at the base of the plant, avoiding the leaves and fruits.
Strawberries can be picked when they turn bright red all over, and it should be done during the warmest part of the day.
Just like tomatoes, sunflowers are a common science project for kids. That’s because they grow very quickly and require very little maintenance.
Sunflowers should be planted in an area that gets a lot of sunlight, hence the name. A well-drained soil is also advisable. Once they start growing, you’ll need to support the stem by loosely tying it to a stick embedded in the ground next to the plant.
Colourful flowers can be pretty intimidating to gardening newbies. But don’t worry, Marigolds are sure not to give you a hard time.
These flowers also need well-drained soil and full sun to keep them happy. Sow them from March to May, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful yellow-orange flowers come summer and autumn. And by the way, the petals of Marigolds are edible and can be added to salads.
Eschscholzia (Californian Poppy)
If you happen to have a dry soil in your garden yet you’re not a fan of frequent watering; the California Poppy is perfect for you.
The only thing that they require is a full sun. Pretty much, this plant takes care of itself although they do need to be pruned after flowering. They’re also disease and pest-free in general, so you have two additional things not to worry about.
Now is the perfect time to start gardening. It provides you with so many benefits like your own produce, a beautiful landscape to enjoy, and it is even proven to do wonders for your health!
Take your pick from these easy to grow plants, and enjoy the sense of accomplishment you get from watching them grow, flower, and fruit. You’ll soon discover more and more plants that you can grow without any problems, and before you know it, you’ll be a seasoned gardener!
Kevin is an avid gardener and DIYer and enjoys reading related gardening and home improvement articles. Working forGrabco, he gets to see a lot of the projects that homeowners embark on and the resulting transformations. He also picks up a lot of fresh ideas and current trends, so enjoys writing about them to share with other like-minded readers.