JLife speaks to local gardening expert Pauline Lozoya Hocking, for a simple guide to preparing your garden for spring.
As spring comes around, many of us are thinking about adding some life to our gardens, but don’t know where to start. From planning to planting, environmental charity Hubbub has been hard at work with In Our Nature, a city-wide campaign helping the residents of Manchester prime their gardens for the warmer days ahead. Involved with the project is gardener Pauline Lozoya Hocking, who shares some expert advice to improve your gardening skills for the season ahead.
Pesticides and weed killers can destroy other life forms and cause serious pollution from their
own residues. Absolutely avoid chemicals if you can, using your hands rather than herbicides to remove weeds. There are also alternatives to most of the chemical fertilisers and feeds on offer, such as kelp, which stimulates soil development and increases overall yield.
Use your own compost
The richness of your soil determines the health of what grows. Feeding it naturally with your own compost is not only an excellent way to save money but a chance to use otherwise discarded material and prevent unneeded waste. Basic materials to start your own compost corner can include fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and dead leaves and grass.
Say “no” to digging
The “no dig” gardening principle is the best way to hold soil together. Each time we dig, we pull apart intricate soil structures and disrupt micro-organisms. A good dig is still unavoidable for very poor soils, but once you have established a good soil, you can minimally disrupt it by mulching to suppress weeds and hand weeding when needed.
Plant for all seasons
Gardening shouldn’t be a spring- only activity, and with the right mixture of plants, you can present something new to admire in the garden each month. A strong backbone of shrubs and trees look good in different seasons, such as those bearing spring blossom and colourful autumn foliage. Thinking of all four seasons when planting also ensures your garden will have colour and wildlife all year round.
Explore, explore, explore
Getting started on gardening for the first time means entering a wonderful world where you will learn by doing. Don’t be afraid to pursue your own vision and make the most of your existing space, so you can make your green patch a unique space where habitats and fauna can thrive. Good luck, and happy gardening!