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Top Five Gardening Basics

Have a new garden or just new to gardening? Follow these tips to get your landscape in control:

1. Clean Up - If you don't have tools, buy at the very least, a rake, a shovel and a pair of pruning shears. Walk around your yard. Rake the grass, trim dead branches and dig up diseased plants. Instead of throwing all this perfectly-good garden waste in the garbage, toss it in a heap in the corner of your garden to make the start of something essential to every gardener: a compost heap.

2. Weed - Now its time to get dirty. Roll up your sleeves and head into your garden beds. Its time to tackle the work you've been probably putting off. Although a rose can be considered a weed in the wrong place, you should be able to tell the weeds from the plants you want to keep by looking at your existing garden bed closely. Weeds tend to be voracious spreaders, with special structures like wings, spines, hooks, sticky hairs etc. on account of which they can be easily disseminated over long distance.

3. Mulch - Mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch. Have I stressed the importance of mulch enough? If there is one garden nugget of gold I can pass on to you, it would be to add mulch to all your garden beds. Why didn't I pop it to the numbero uno spot on this list? Because you first have to clean and weed before laying mulch, but its a top 3 factor for sho. (Read my blog about mulching here.)

4. Edge - No we're not talking about cutting-edge fashion, but edging your garden beds and lawns. Still cool though for a gardenerd like me! There is nothing that looks more polished than a clean line separating your gardens from lawns and your lawns from walkways. If you don't have a trowel (a nano version of a shovel), then buy one. It should be on the list of tools from Tip #1, but I didn't want to overwhelm you all at once. Take your shiny new trowel and get edging - cutting a clean line between the soil of the garden bed and the lawn.

5. Planning - Before you go to your local nursery (try to avoid big box stores for plants) and spend a small fortune on all the plants that catch your eye, its important to plan. Yes boring old planning. But planning your garden space can save you money, time and heartache - especially if all your hard work ends up with dead plants due to incompatible moisture or soil type.

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