15 Skills you Need to be a Good Gardener

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Spending your free time building a garden bed has become more and more popular. Harvesting and eating your homegrown food is not just healthy but also fun. The great thing about gardening is that anyone can learn how to become a gardener. 

To be a good gardener, growing healthy and flourishing crops requires a particular set of skills. These skills are: creating nutrient soil, understanding plants and plant growth, working in alignment with nature and not letting pesticides take over, and lastly, youll need to know how to harvest.

Gardening is way more than picking weed and waiting for trees to bear fruit. It is a playground where you can experiment and learn from nature. To fully enjoy your garden, it is handy if you know a bit more about gardening techniques. 

What Skills do you Need to be a Gardener?

Many factors play a role when it comes to gardening. Every garden is different and has its own needs. If you obtain the following fifteen skills, you will be well on your way to success, no matter how big or small your garden is or where it is located.

15 good Gardener skills

1. Soil

As a gardener, it is essential to understand the soil. The soil is a crucial part of your garden. When there aren’t any nutrients in the soil, your plants will not grow no matter how hard you try. 

PH- level
There are a few ways to know if your soil is suitable for gardening. First of it is essential to understand the PH level in your soil. Online there are PH kits available. Once you know the PH level in the soil, you can act according to the outcome. For example, some plants can help restore PH levels. These are plants like beans, broccoli, and garlic. Also, adding things like wood ash, pine, and compost (read more about compost below) will help the soil rebalance itself.

Structure
Another way to see if your soil is suitable for gardening is to look at the structure. Soil needs to be damp, not excessively wet. Also, if the ground is too hard, it will be hard for organisms and plants to live in it as it doesn’t contain the right conditions. Restoring the soil will be the first thing you need to do.

2. Compost

Composting and gardening are best friends. The one doesn’t go without the other. Compost is a way to build nutrient rich and healthy soil. It is straightforward to make your own compost at home. Collect the scraps from organic matter. Put it in a composting container. For the best result, add microorganisms and other animals like worms. The worms will decompose the organic matter leaving behind matter full of nutrients and a fertilizer that will get your plants thriving. 
A popular form of composting is vermicomposting. This is compost that exists of worm manures that will produce rich soil amendments.  

3. Location

A good gardener understands the location of the garden. Plants live on the nutrients from the soil, water, and sunlight. If one of these components is missing, the plants in the garden will not grow. Therefore, a good gardener will always look at the location before choosing the plants they want to grow. He or she will ask themself questions like: what is the warmest area in the garden? From what direction does the wind blow through the garden? Where has the most shade? How much rain does the garden get during the seasons and throughout the year? Etc. When a gardener understands the location, it will prevent plants from growing in areas that are not suitable for them. 

4. Seeds

After choosing the location, it is time for the gardeners to work on the seeds. The gardener will need knowledge of the different kinds of seeds. How to grow them, how deep they should be covered with soil if they should be placed in the garden straight away or first in a greenhouse, etc. This is all depending on the species that the gardener wants to grow. There is much knowledge to be found in books and on the internet about plant species that can help choose between what you want to grow.

5. Plants & flowers

Like with the seeds, a gardener must know what plant is getting planted. Every plant is unique and prefers its own conditions and surroundings. Plants can benefit from each other, and on the other hand, some plants prefer not to be too close to the other. Knowing this will save a lot of time when trying to grow a garden.

Apart from planting, it is also necessary to understand a plant’s needs. A good gardener will know if a plant likes to be in a warm place with lots of sunshine or if it prefers shade and cooler temperatures. Also, knowing the amount of water it needs and how well it can cope with windy conditions will give the plants the most significant chance to grow successfully. Another essential skill a good gardener knows is if and when a plant needs to get trimmed.

6. Pollination

Once the plants are happy and growing, a good gardener knows that a tree won’t bear any fruits if there is no pollination. Pollination is a natural process that happens when bees and moths visit the garden. Adding plants that attract these animals could be crucial when wanting a nice-looking garden, especially when wanting edible produce.

7. Gardening techniques

There are multiple ways to create a garden. A good gardener will know different kinds of techniques. Choosing a particular type of technique can depend on the garden owner’s needs, the plants they are trying to grow, and personal preference. Strategies can be building a greenhouse, raised bed gardening, and container gardening.

When the area is either too warm, too cold, too wet, or too dry, gardeners often pick to grow their plants in a greenhouse. The benefit of working with a greenhouse is that it is possible to regulate the circumstances that plants are trying to grow in yourself.

Raised garden beds often get chosen so that the gardener doesn’t have to bend down all the time. A raised garden bed is usually built out of wood and sits on poles. This way, it is raised from the ground, making it easier to cultivate.

Container gardening is simply growing flowers and plants in small plastic containers. This can be nice if you live in an apartment or if you want to decorate the outside terrace.

8. Water & Drainage

As described above, water is an essential element for plants to grow. Every plant needs water, but too much water can cause plants to drown. Therefore, a good gardener knows the amount of water that plants need and can place drainage if necessary. 

A good gardener will never water a plant directly when the sun is on it. The sun will otherwise burn the plant. The best time to water a plant is early in the morning before the sun comes out. 

9. Mulch

Most gardeners don’t like weeding. A good gardener knows a trick or two to keep the weeds out. One of these methods is mulching. Mulch can be made out of different kinds of materials. A popular one is wood chips and cardboard. Placing the mulch underneath a thin layer of soil and around the plants will keep unwanted weeds out of your garden.

10. Prune

A good gardener understands the method of pruning. Depending on the species and the time of year, a plant can benefit significantly from being pruned. This will keep disease away and allow the plant to use its energy to produce fruits and vegetables that contain more nutrients instead of sending its energy to places of the plant that are not necessary.

11. Harvest

Harvesting is, of course, part of growing a garden. Especially if the garden is edible or has lovely flowers, a good gardener will know the time of year when fruits or vegetables can get harvested. Also, he or she can tell when a fruit or vegetable is ripe. When a gardener waits too long with harvesting, the produce will rot. Harvesting too quickly will make the product less tasty and, in some cases, inedible. 

An easy way to know if herbs can get harvested is by looking and seeing if they start to flower. When a herb starts to flower, you are on the cusp of picking the herb too late!

Another skill that a good gardener has is that he or she knows that it is best to rotate the plants in the garden. Once all the plants are harvested, and new plants need to be seeded. It is best to place a different kind of species than the one that was there before. This will help the nutrients and microorganisms keep the soil balanced.  

12. Pests

Gardens are situated outside, where other animals and microorganisms thrive. Therefore, it is common for pests to grow inside the garden. A good gardener will know how to get rid of these pests without destroying the soil or plants. Chemicals will ruin the soil and the garden. 

Pruning and organic pest control can help remove pests from the garden. Organic pest control is easy to make at home. They also sell it in gardening stores. Organic pest control often contains garlic as most pests don’t like them.

13. Keep a close eye

It isn’t just about obtaining physical gardening skills. Observation and keeping a close eye on the garden is essential too. A good gardener knows and sees that each plant and each garden are different. Sometimes it’s all about trial and error. One plant might grow, the other might have trouble growing. Writing down what is happening in the garden and what plants grow well in a specific area will give a lot of helpful information. With the information, a gardener can take the next step in changing or adding certain factors to an area so that specific plants can grow there and flourish.

14. Commitment

Growing a garden is only possible if there is a gardener committed to checking on the plants every day. Some plants require more attention than others, especially seedlings that are more vulnerable. A good gardener has this skill and doesn’t mind spending free time observing the garden and looking into improving the circumstances.

15. Patience

Last but not least, a good gardener has patience. Figuring out the way a garden works, knowing different plant species and what they like takes time. From seed to harvest is a process that will go quicker for one plant than for another, but it always requires a gardener’s patience.

As you can read above, a gardener contains many skills. Every time one skill gets obtained, it is easier to acquire a new one. A good gardener understands the process and is willing to learn.

What are the Basics of Gardening?

A garden consists of a few key elements. When growing a garden, there are a few basics that a gardener knows these are:

  • Soil
    The soil is where the plant gets its nutrients from. If the soil is healthy, it will give plants a head start when trying to grow. The nutrients in the soil are absorbed by the plant, making it strong and healthy. Composting like written above can help bring your soil back to life. Healthy soil is also referred to as being “alive,” meaning many insects and microorganisms are present. These creatures will help decompose matter from the soil, turning them into fertilizer. When checking on the soil, keep an eye out for these tiny helpers.
  • Sun
    Without sunshine, a plant can’t grow. Understanding this principle is essential. Photosynthesis is how plants live. This is the process where light energy, carbon dioxide, and water create energy in the form of carbohydrates and sugars. When starting a garden, take a close look at the different areas. The parts that have the most sun, where the shade is, where the wind comes from, how much rain the garden gets during a year, etc.
  • Water
    The third key element is water. Just like humans, plants consist of a significant part out of water. The water keeps them alive. Without water, a plant will not grow. When there is too much water, the plant will drown. Plants must get the right amount of water. Each species differs in the amount of water they consume. Check the soil daily. It should be damp like a wet sponge. When the soil is too dry, it crumbles. When it’s too wet, the water will sit on top of the soil. If the garden is located in an area that gets a lot of rain, it can be worth investing in a drainage system.
  • Plants
    Without plants, there is no garden. Knowing what is growing in your garden will help take care of them. Basic knowledge of how a plant grows and what it needs is the first step in growing solid plants. There are two types of plants. One is the annual plants, and the second is perennials. Knowing the difference between the two is very handy, especially when understanding why one grows and the other doesn’t. Annual plants are seasonal, whereas perennials can regrow for years.

Beginner Gardening Tips:

Three tips to prevent making beginner mistakes

  1. Give plants space
    Plants like their space. Don’t plant them too close together. Depending on the size of the plant, place the plants at least about one hand or 5cm apart from each other. Once they are growing, it is always possible to relocate them if necessary. Doing this too often changes a plant’s surroundings frequently, which can harm the plant in the long haul.
  2. Label
    Label the plant that gets planted. This will prevent not knowing what plant is growing where. There are multiple ways to do this. For example, write the name on rocks, make a plastic label, write it in a notebook, etc.
  3. Start small
    It is best to start small to keep it clear. Starting small will allow the possibility to learn from mistakes and figure out a future solution without getting overwhelmed. Once the basics are well balanced, the garden can grow as big as desired.

    So, in the end, if the basics are there, the garden is well on its way to success.

Conclusion

After reading this article, you will have more knowledge about what is essential to become a good gardener and what critical gardening skills are. Applying these skills to your own garden will help plants grow strong and give them room to flourish. Making the process more fun and worth the hard work. We hope you enjoyed reading and that you are already in your garden testing your soil.