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Expert gardening advice

Expert gardening advice
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So you’re about to start establishing your very own garden. Read these tips before picking up a trowel.

No yard? No problem!

No yard? No problem!
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If you don’t have a yard or your soil is inhospitable, you can still do some fruitful urban gardening in containers. The bigger the pots, the better, says Trail. “The soil will stay wet longer in a large container,” she explains.

Gardening has benefits you can’t put a price on

Gardening has benefits you can’t put a price on
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In a 2011 Dutch study, two groups of people were asked to complete a stressful task, then assigned 30 minutes of either gardening or reading. The gardeners’ stress hormones were found to be significantly lower.

Discover 10 habits of people who never get stressed.

Starting a garden is expensive

Starting a garden is expensive
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Build a thrifty patio garden with containers you find on the kerb – just drill drainage holes. “The only thing you should splurge on is good quality potting soil and seeds,” says gardening writer Gayla Trail. You’ll save later on produce.

Dirt has surprising benefits

Dirt has surprising benefits
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What makes digging in the dirt so satisfying? It might be the dirt itself. M. vaccae, a healthy bacterium that lives in soil, has been found to increase serotonin and provide anxiety relief when inhaled.

You’ll love these 14 small yard landscaping ideas.

Gardening’s physical benefits increase as we age

Gardening’s physical benefits increase as we age
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Digging, pulling weeds and planting help strengthen your hands, which is especially important for seniors, whose loss of grip strength worsens arthritis pain and leads to difficulty performing tasks.

These are the everyday habits that can make you look younger.

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Maintenance may take as little as five minutes a day

Maintenance may take as little as five minutes a day
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“As much time as it takes to walk around your garden and put your finger in the soil up to the second knuckle,” says gardening columnist and broadcaster Mark Cullen. “If it feels moist and cool, there’s no need to water.”

These simple gardening hacks will come in handy.

Learning your soil type is key

Learning your soil type is key
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Understanding your soil type – sand, silt, clay or loam – is crucial when starting a garden. Your soil type can tell you which plants will do best and which amendments you’ll need to add, such as peat moss for better drainage. “Grab some earth and squeeze it,” Trail says. “Sand feels gritty, clay will stick together in a ball, and loam feels light and fluffy, like cake.”

Here are 7 hacks that will revive almost any plant.

Don’t disregard weeds

Don’t disregard weeds
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Weeding several times a week provides the best return on your time invested. “Weeds are competition for desirable plants, so you need to get rid of them to maximise the productivity of your food plants and flowers,” says Cullen.

Mulch is a gardener’s BFF

Mulch is a gardener’s BFF
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A five- to 10-centimetre layer of straw or shredded leaves around the base of your plants will do double duty holding moisture in and preventing weeds.

Prevent weeds in your garden with these tips.

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