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New to gardening? Here’s what our readers want you to know

03rd April 2020

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If this is your first year growing your own, let our growing community give some advice from their experience

“I’ve sowed carrots in flinty soil before, they all came up as deformed beasts, but you quickly learn from your mistakes,” Alan Titchmarsh admitted in his interview in the latest issue of Grow Your Own magazine.

Speak to any veteran gardener, and they’ll probably have a similar story to share; however much of an expert they may appear. Once you realise this, any of the overwhelm you might be feeling about dipping your toe into the unknown world of growing your own should disappear pretty quickly. And, if not, do stick with it because gardening has a lot to offer.

To keep you on track we asked our Grow Your Own community to share some of their tips, tricks and snippets of advice that they wished they knew before they began their gardening journey. Here are a few of our favourite comments: 

Mary Cook says: “Don’t give up. Our first year of growing we had a late frost that killed nearly all of my seedlings (early June). At that point I would usually have packed up and thought it was too difficult. I didn’t though. Just potted more seeds and had a great year. There are always going to be things that work or seemingly disastrous events that occur, it’s the nature or nature, and life in general. But keep on, try something new, listen to advice and use it where needed.”

@C_Veggie says: “Cut-and-come-again salad crops are very easy to grow in containers or a small makeshift raised bed. I will even grow salads and maybe kale plants in my flower borders this year. It’ll look good and give you some yummy veg.”

Mabel Samuel says: “Grow things you love to eat and things that are more expensive in the shops. Sow only a few of each. Don’t sow too soon. Cold is a killer. Later sown crops soon catch up. Have fun!”

@upsidedown431 says: “I am still relatively new to veg growing but the biggest thing I learnt last year was on the benefits of properly spacing/thinning any crops - I’m definitely sowing a few less seeds in each space this year.”

Matthew Oliver says: “My advice; be patient, don’t rush, the info on seed packets isn’t the gospel truth.”

Petrina Smith says: “Think outside the box. Grow in pots, beds and recycled guttering! As soon as the weather improves, I’m going to be popping some salad leaves in guttering.”

Sarah Richardson says: “My best tip is to keep a notebook. Keep notes of what you are growing and where, what worked and what didn’t. Then the next year, you can rotate the veggies around knowing exactly what you did last year.”

Nigel Bennett: “Get composting now and also upcycle plastic pop bottles for mini propagators, pots and even trays.”

Jane Towers says: “Grow what you like to eat, you don’t need to sow the whole packet of seeds at once, weeds grow faster than anything so keep on top of the weeding and you will have a great harvest.”

Paula O’Neill says: “Take your time. Decide what you like to eat and grow only that in your first year, experiment after that. Don’t be disheartened if something doesn’t work, all gardeners go through this.”

Follow Grow Your Own magazine on social media to stay up to date with our community of growers: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For details about subscribing to get the magazine delivered to your door, please visit here.

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