15 top gardening tips from folk who know

When Olia Hercules started out on her gardening journey, she asked advice from people who’ve been doing it for years. Here are the highlights…

15 top gardening tips from folk who know

“Grow things that are hard to buy, unusual varieties of common plants and plant fruit trees and bushes. Also, think of planting across three planes. Ground cover plants: thyme, marjoram. Middle height plants and then the taller height plants such as small fruit trees.”

“Ensure you make lots of shelters for bugs, frogs and hedgehogs. Feed the birds by buying or making a bird table and never use pesticide.”

“Grow both vegetables and flowers. Monoculture is not the way to go.”

“Google ‘companion plants’ (beets with cabbage, basil with tomatoes, broad beans with corn)

“Potatoes are great for opening up soil”

“Make sure to remember to sort out how to rotate crops, so you can choose how to plant them later”

“Get postage stamp gardening, so you can get lots of veg from a small patch”

“Don’t be afraid of getting rid of the seed that does not germinate, not everything does well every growing season”

“It’s really hard work and you never have enough time, but don’t be disheartened by weeds and retired people’s perfect allotments, because it’s just a lovely peaceful place to hang out and so satisfying when you actually pick your own stuff to eat for your dinner”

“Books are good, but better ask your neighbours. Every garden and terrain has its own microclimate. So what works in author’s garden may not work for you. Asking older people is the way to go.”

“Do not waste time trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. If your garden is damp and shady, the aromatic sun-loving herbs will not be happy unless you carve out a dry, warm, sunny spot for them”

“Raised beds are fine as long as you don’t import rubbish compost. But the point is to connect with seed and soil, let the earth give us its energy’

“Raised beds are useful as they help you keep everything tidy, and they keep grass way”

“Dig manure into clay soil”

“Keep a diary”

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