If you’ve been thinking of becoming a hobby gardener, we have some tips to get you started

Gardening can be one of the most rewarding hobbies around. As a family activity or by yourself, gardening is more fun and exciting than people make it out to be.

Gadgets are nice but you can do without them

These days anyone looking to start a hobby starts off by getting a boot full of gadgets and paraphernalia. When it comes to gardening, a lot of the stuff is nice to have but not absolutely necessary. To start with, stick with basic gardening tools and get better tools as you garden, figuring out what would be helpful as you need it.

Decide on what type of garden you want

One of the biggest determining factors to what type of garden you’re going to have is the type of yard or space you are working with. For many people on rented property or property without a garden, container gardening is the simplest choice.

You should also decide what you want to grow. While you can grow edible and decorative plants at the same time, you need to make sure the chemicals or products you are using are suitable for edible plants and will not grow toxic food.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

What’s your ideal gardening style?

Get to know the plants you’re planting

Gardening by trial and error can be painful. Watching as your plants die or struggle despite your best efforts is horror-movie-worthy stuff. A little research and preparation can go a long way to keeping your garden and your heart intact.

Read about the plants you are interested in and pay special attention to the type of soil they need and how much and how often they need to be watered, then prepare accordingly. Make sure that plants that are planted together share the same soil, sun, watering and nutritional needs.

Be prepared to get dirty

Even with all the gadgets available, if you’re working in the garden you’re going to get a bit of dirt under your nails.

This may be a deal-breaker if you’re growing your nails or have your nails perfectly manicured and bedazzled. Wearing gardening gloves while you work is ok when you prune your plants and water them, but to feel the texture and the moisture in the soil (and you will have to do this) you’re going to have use your bare hands.

Anxiety and depression: Why doctors are prescribing gardening rather than drugs

Take care of your environment

Gardening sounds like a very eco-friendly hobby until you start planting invasive plants and using toxic chemicals to grow your plants and stop them from being eaten.

Warning: These invasive plants might be taking over your garden

Ignorance can make your gardening a hazard to the soil, the environment, the animals, birds and insects that share your space and even yourself.

Read about the chemicals and products you plan on using from other gardeners and the news – not just the product’s website – to find out more about its effects.

Research on your plants will also show if they are indigenous to South Africa (which is the best option) and what their effect on the environment is. It is also important to make sure you do not have poisonous plants near small children and pets.

Related: How to make a safe, natural weed killer