Eight essential tips for helping your garden grow

Woman gardening at Yoorala community garden

Whether you have a competition garden, balcony vignette or are getting ready to grow your own fruit and veg, gardening is a way to wind down, connect with nature and help our urban forest grow.  

To help you embrace your green thumb and pass the time while at home, here are some gardening tips and tricks from a pro.  

Gardening tips from a pro 

Dale Arvidsson, curator of Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, City Botanic Gardens and Sherwood Arboretum, has shared these eight tips to keep your garden green, lush and sustainable.  

  1. Just like we feel refreshed after a drink of H2O, so do your plants. Be waterwise by checking their soil moisture every few days to make sure you aren’t under- or over-watering. This way, your plants stay hydrated and you’re conserving water by not watering unnecessarily. Remember – over-watered plants can become stressed and prone to insect and disease attack.  
  2. Help protect your plants and keep their soil moist, roots cool and give beneficial insects food and a home, by adding mulch to your garden bed or around your potted plant. Mulch can improve your soil’s organic content, which means you’ll have healthier soil and happier plants!  
  3. Composting is a great way to produce some extra nutients for your plants. Check out our composting video and our Turn your spoils into soil blog. Use the extra time you are spending at home to make your own quality mulch or worm farm! With mulch using your garden waste and worm farms using your kitchen waste, these are some simple ways you can help your garden flourish, while reducing your household waste.
  4. Give your lawn some love. Hand-weed summer weeds like crowsfoot grass and bindii before they set seed and take over your yard (and get stuck in your feet!), feed your lawn with a good quality fertiliser, and aerate the lawn to ensure watering is effective. While you can go hi-tech with special aerating machines, for the average suburban backyard, nothing beats the humble garden fork to give your lawn an airing. Use the garden fork to make aeration holes by using your foot to push the fork into the ground (around 50mm deep every 100mm or so) and rock it back and forth. A healthy lawn not only needs less water to stay green, but is more resistant to weeds, pests and disease.  
  5. Plant trees to create shady spots in your backyard and grow your own urban forest. Choose the hottest parts of your garden to create a natural shade cover with trees or a vine trellis which will not only give you a shady spot to enjoy your garden, but you’ll also create a spot for native insects and animals to take pause in the cool.  
  6. Bee-friend the hardest workers in your garden by planting and growing flowering plants that will give the humble bee plenty of pollen and keep your garden abuzz. 
  7. Plant for our sub-tropical climate and have a few plants in your garden or on your balcony that thrive in our corner of Queensland. Look for shrubs like bottlebrushes or Golden Candlestick banksias to give a native flourish of colour to your backyard. 
  8. Consistency is key. A wilted or dead plant isn’t a failure (it can be added to your compost!). The key to honing your gardening skills is to keep practicing and to expect some lessons along the way! With care and the right attention, you’ll be rewarded with a thriving garden in no time.  

And if you find you need more inspiration or want to learn the best time to plant your new season veggie seedlings, be sure to jump on to Council's online library catalogue (eLibCat), where you can check out our amazing collection of plant-related eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and more. Not a member? We are currently offering temporary digital membership to help you kick your garden goals!

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This blog was originally published in March 2020 and was updated in April 2020.

Date posted:
Last updated:1 May 2020
Topics: green