Clever Gardening Tips for the New Year

Every year, we chat to customers who have decided to start a "proper" garden as part of their new year's resolutions. Owning and maintaining a garden can be such a joy - there's a certain amount of pride that takes hold when your own outdoor space begins to flourish. Once you get your garden started, you're going to have the most relaxing and enjoyable hobby on your hands.

When you're starting out, it helps to have some useful tips handy. Garden maintenance can be a bit tricky when you're new to it.

We've compiled a list of clever gardening tips to help you in the new year. Give them a try - you'll thank us later!

gardening tips

1. Plants need a calcium boost from time to time Grind up your leftover eggshells and sprinkle them in the garden. Grinding them into a fine-ish powder makes it easier for plants to absorb the nutrients they need.

2. Use takeaway forks to protect your plants against pets When you've just managed to get your flower beds and veggie patches looking perfect, the last thing you want is your pets frolicking around and destroying your hard work. Simply place some plastic forks (spiky end up) in the ground and you'll have found a cheap and effective deterrent.

3. Epsom salts for healthier plants You're probably aware of the many uses of Epsom salts around the house but have you ever thought of sprinkling some in your flower beds? It's rich in magnesium and sulfate which are both crucial to keeping your plants happy and healthy. Add a few tablespoons of Epsom salts to your watering can once a month and watch the magic happen.

4. Don't throw out the veggie cooking water Vegetable cooking water has tons of nutrients in it. Simply pour this over your herbs and growing veggie patch (once cooled, of course). It's a really effective way to fertilize your garden without any extra fuss.

5. Practice pinching It sounds crazy but it's true: pinch the ends of your herbs when you've picked a sprig or two. This encourages new buds to grow.

gardening for beginners

6. Soap is your fingernails' friend If you're the kind of person who can't deal with dirt under their fingernails, this one's for you. Drag your nails across a bar of soap before you set to work. You'll basically be creating a barrier that doesn't let the dirt through. When you're done working, give your hands a wash and rinse under warm water.

7. Vegetable oil isn't just for cooking Spray or rub some vegetable oil on the nylon cord before installing it in your trimmer. This will stop it from jamming or breaking.

8. Don't throw out those coffee grounds Coffee grounds are a fantastic source of acid for certain plants. Sprinkle a bit above the soil once a month to keep your azaleas and camellias happy.

9. Water early in the day The trick to avoiding mildew is to water early in the morning when it's still cool.

10. Don't trim your lawn too short "Scalping" occurs when your lawn is cut too short. You'll notice brown patches and a large number of weeds - none of which is what you're looking for in a lush garden. Most people cut their lawns as short as possible in an attempt to reduce mowing frequency. To keep your lawn healthy, however, aim for the longest setting your lawnmower will allow. The thicker your lawn is, the less likely weeds will be able to grow.

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