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Planning and Creating Your First Garden

By Sadiya Anjum

If you are new to gardening, then there is a lot to learn. Soil, climate, taking care of your plants regularly, arranging them, dealing with pests, fertilizers the list is long but there is no need to get overwhelmed. Gardening can be therapeutic, practical and improve the overall look of your home. They key is to start small and as time goes by, you can expand your garden and experiment with several different things.

A garden can be a vast expanse including a lawn, shrubs, flower beds, trees and a pond or a small container garden in your balcony. When you start out, you need to first determine your space and what the purpose of your garden will be. For instance, a vegetable garden should ideally be accessible through your kitchen and located close to it. If you are planning the front yard, you may think of adding a few trees, shrubs, perhaps a pathway and a seating area.

The area you choose should have plenty of sunlight. If there is a patch of great soil in your backyard but the space is dingy because of a looming building on one side, then it may not be the ideal place for gardening. Soil problems can be solved with relative ease but lack of sunlight is a problem.

Sketch out a rough plan of your garden and note the soil condition. Find out which areas get more sunlight and which get lesser and mark these areas. It is also important to consider the climatic conditions in your area as this will determine to a large extent which plants you can use. Some plants may not withstand extreme weather conditions.

Now consider the type of plants you would like to include or if you have a theme for your garden. You can think of a vegetable garden, or a garden with only shrubs, or plants which are only scented, etc. or you can combine different types of plants. This is usually a smarter option if you are just starting a garden and besides, a mixed garden gives a lot more room for experimentation.

Make a list of all the kinds of plants you would like to add. To make a good list, look up the internet, read books or visit a local nursery. For each plant you select for your garden, you need to note down the soil, climatic conditions, space requirements and any other special needs. This will determine which plants will specifically grow in your garden and how to place them. For instance, plants which require less sunlight can be planted in shaded areas.

Plant types can be categorized as annuals and perennials. Annuals are plants which grow only in one season while Perennials survive several years. Annual plants are usually bright and colorful. The options in both types are many and it would be wise to use a combination of both types in your garden.

After choosing your plants, read up the essential maintenance details about the plant. You need to make sure that your plant does not die in three days. When you have planned well, go to the nursery and buy your plants. You will have to choose between buying seeds or young plants. Plants from a seed may take longer to grow but they are comparatively inexpensive.

When you start planting, you need to make sure that each plant is placed well and the conditions it requires for growth are fulfilled. When you are planting directly in the soil, make sure you do not plant too close to trees or other structures which may prohibit the growth of your plants. Plants should be placed such that they do not crowd each other and you have enough space to move among them or at least reach them easily. Using containers is a smart option as it gives you the freedom to shift plants around easily.

Take good care of your garden and before long, you will enjoy the benefits of it. Do not get worked up or overdo anything. Gardening should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience so keep it that way. If something goes wrong with one plant, just try and rectify it and learn from your mistakes. As time goes by, you will learn more and be able to expand your garden as well as experiment with different kinds of plants.

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