If you're interested in becoming a gardener, here are some simple steps you can take to get started:
Preparation is key: ''In gardening, preparation is key'', says gardener Kathleen McCarthy. ''Be sure to start with great soil. It should be weed free, with great soil nutrients, and worked to eliminate heavy clumps of rocks. This isn't the most glamorous task but it makes all the difference to the ease with which your plants will root and grow to bloom''
Make sure the environment is suitable: Kathleen recommends that you mimic the environment in the best way possible so that you're successful with a particular plant. ''Evaluate your growing conditions such as sun exposure, temperatures during summer and winter, and the average rain fall, to determine the right plant sections,'' she says.
Take notice and make notes: ''If a plant's label says it needs full sun ''give it lots of sun. It simply will not thrive in shade conditions, and the reverse is true of shade loving plants' those levels are important, '' Kathleen explains. Her top tip is to make notes about what is working, what needs a change, and how the condition in your garden changes with the season. ''Failing is learning; accept now that some plants will die. That's okay! You will learn from that and make changes''
Revitalise your soil: Plants live by their roots, so the most important part of your garden is below the ground. Over the winter, your soil becomes hard and compact with little to no moisture. Add organic material such as compost or manure to add moisture, giving your soil the right nutrients. You can also grind eggshells into powder for a calcium boost and use a soil thermometer to gauge when the soil is prime for planting.
Prepare your tools: Clean and sharpen all the tools you plan to use. Sharp tools work better. Make sure to clean your tools after every use as this prevents diseases, insect eggs and weed seeds from being spread around the garden.
Create a checklist: A garden checklist will help you stay on track of all your gardening activity. Choose a format that works best for you, whether it's a daily or weekly checklist. Include maintenance tasks such as weeding, watering, fertilising and trimming. Also, make sure to include a checklist of new actions you will need to take throughout the season such as planting new seeds.
Embrace variety: Some plants are quick to leap into bloom while others are geared toward longevity. Plant some of each to maintain your interest.