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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Are Your Gardening Efforts Going to Waste?

Spending time outdoors is good for us. It helps to top up Vitamin D levels, brings down stress levels and when we’re spending time gardening, we hopefully improve our surroundings in a noticeable way. However, according to new research, lack of knowledge and foresight are causing the efforts of many enthusiastic would-be gardeners to go to waste. Let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes and how to rectify them.

Not doing your homework
Not knowing the finer details like the difference between a weed and a plant, how and when to plant seeds out and how often plants need watered, are just some of the issues causing newbie gardeners to waste time and lose precious plants. A survey of 1,500 British homeowners found that one in five people aren’t confident in what they’re doing when it comes to gardening, and almost one in ten (9%) admitted they don’t know the difference between weeds and flowers. Overwatering is another common gardening sin that 32% of those surveyed had succumbed to.

Protecting your efforts
There’s lots of evidence that taking youngsters outdoors and teaching them about flora and fauna at an early age will not only set them up as successful gardeners of the future but can also aid their development too. Unfortunately, gardening is not a skill that’s taught in many schools, so to protect your gardening efforts you’ll have to do your own homework. Many colleges offer evening classes in the basics, and you may even find that your local garden centre offers free or low-cost taster sessions too. If you prefer to teach yourself, YouTube is a treasure trove of advice and how to videos, while you’ll find plenty of landscaping inspiration by following gardeners on Instagram. Once you’ve honed your skills, don’t forget to pass them on to the next generation.

Not having adequate tools
Are you well equipped for gardening tasks or does your tool collection leave a little to be desired? Could you save yourself some time by investing in tools specifically aimed at completing certain tasks? Maybe looking out for generators for sale would allow you to run your tools more easily without to-ing and fro-ing back into the house?  Sometimes not having the right tools for the job merely slows us down, while other times it can be downright dangerous or give substandard results. For example, ten per cent of those surveyed admitted they’d used a strimmer without a line inside, and 8% had accidentally blown the petals off their carefully grown flowers by being heavy-handed with a power washer.

Protecting your efforts
Gardening equipment can be expensive but well cared for tools should serve you for many years to come. Ahead of each project, consider what bits of kit you’ll need for the job and if you find your collection lacking, borrow from friends and relatives where possible. As we get older, friends and family can find it trickier to choose suitable gifts for us for special occasions. Why not suggest they gift you a tool off your wishlist or vouchers so you can pick up the perfect companion for your next project?

Not planning
Is pottering in the garden your thing? While there’s a lot to be said for taking things slowly and enjoying some downtime in the open air, failure to plan projects properly can mean that you overlook potential obstacles and end up with a space that lacks direction. In fact, 15% of those surveyed said their garden lacked character and was ‘a real mess’. Failure to zone off specific areas for kids and pets to roam can also result in damaged lawns and plants that leave an outdoor area looking unloved. If you’d like to tidy things up a little and give your outside purpose a sense of direction, a little planning will go a long way and ensure your time is well spent too.

Protecting your efforts
Sketching out your gardening goals will allow you to visualise how you’d like the end result to look as well as helping you to identify any jobs that must be completed in a particular order. This can also be a great way to break things down into mini projects that can be completed in an evening or weekend, this way, you can ensure your pottering is always heading in a productive direction and that you’re left with a space that’s a fair reflection of the time and effort you’ve put in.

Would you like to get to grips with gardening? What are your biggest gardening challenges?