The novice gardener’s survival kit

Branching into the world of gardening can be a little overwhelming to begin with, particularly when working in a small, urban space. It’s difficult to know exactly what to invest in and where to store it all. If you’re not careful, costs can spiral out of control quickly and gardening can feel like an expensive, unsustainable hobby.

In light of this, I have put together a kit list of things that are certainly worth investing in during the early stages of gardening when you’re still finding your way and learning the tricks of the trade.

The kit list

  1. A bag of multi-purpose, enriched compost. Lots of things will grow in this type of compost, particularly things in pots. Seedlings and plants being repotted will need lots of nourishment which is why enriched compost is best. There are, of course, loads of different types of compost for different needs, but for now stick to the generic until you become more expert. Make sure you fold over and seal the bag between uses, to prevent the compost from drying out.
  2. A small spade – for getting compost into pots/ the ground, and digging little holes etc. Hands do work well too, but you can’t go wrong with a nice little spade.
  3. Some standard multi-purpose plant food – just to keep everything nice and nourished. Don’t overdo it, but give the plants a little feed every now and again.
  4. A watering can. This really needs no explanation. If you’re really tight on cash though, just resuse milk cartons or plastic bottles, they get the job done just fine.
  5. A big bucket or container – to store everything in. Sheds take up space, and even the smaller options can be fairly pricey. It’s probably best not to invest huge amounts of money in fancy storage options until you know that you’re serious about this gardening malarkey, and the things that you’ve planted haven’t all died within a few months.
  6. A decent pair of scissors. These will always come in handy. Having some especially for outdoor use means you don’t have to worry about frantically scrubbing your kitchen ones after using them, for fear of contaminating your food!
  7. Some pots. Nothing too fancy to begin with – scour eBay, Gumtree, and the likes for people selling off old pots. I often search by location and come across people nearby selling something like 20 pots of different sizes for £15. Alternatively, you can purchase plain terracotta pots at most garden centres – this is obviously more expensive than buying second hand, but cheaper than purchasing fancy glazed and painted versions.
  8. Vermiculite. For anyone looking to grow seedlings. Most garden centres cell huge bags of the stuff, but you can by smaller packets for around £1. During the summer, if the weather is good, lots of seeds will grow on a sunny window ledge – no need to invest in other expensive apparatus.




Gardening hacks

  • Keep and reuse as much as you can. I always keep the little plastic pots that new plants come in – in fact, I recently reused loads of plastic pansy pots for growing basil in.
  • Visit salvage yards and use the internet (sites like eBay and Gumtree) to find different pots, planters, and even furniture that is second hand, and thus cheaper.
  • Be neighbourly! Have you spotted a flourishing shrub in your neighbour’s garden that you’d like a cutting from? Consider nipping around and asking them if they’d be willing to do some sort of trade.
  •  Don’t bother buying a pair of gardening gloves – get your hands dirty!




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Reading, blogging, baking, gardening. Lover of all things edible.

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