4 Tips to help a Gardening Newbie

Ready to try and grow something?

First of all, don't panic. Most people are worried that whatever they try to tend would shrivel up and die. Believe it or not, even the most experienced gardener or farmer experiences this from time to time for a multitude of reasons.

Just remember that if at first you don't succeed, like everything else in life try, try and try again! The rewards are truly satisfying.

So here are a few tips to get you started slow and easy.


Pick a plant that you see on a daily basis. Either on your commute to work, or on your jogging trail or a plant near or within your home etc. A small plant would work best for this (a small tree may work also). As long as it is something you can observe fairly closely for at least a minute a day. Take a close look at this plant. Notice the stems, the leaves, the roots (if visible) and flowers (if any). Notice the colours of all its parts, the soil it is growing from, the surroundings, the weather on each day you see it and everything else related to it. Do this for a few weeks and make a mental or physical note of the changes you see.

The goal of this exercise is to learn how a plant changes, adapts or is adversely effected by weather, man, pests etc. You can learn a lot just by observing a plant in its natural state. It will help you understand your successes and challenges in the garden as time goes on.

Tend to a small and easy to care for plant.

I suggest a succulent for total beginners.

Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves. A cactus plant is a type of succulent. There are so many types of succulents and there are a few places you can get one in Lagos. As a result of their water retention abilities they do not like to be watered very often so a little neglect won't kill it. Succulents need very little attention especially when indoors. A good amount of light, weekly watering (try to water the soil only and not the plant itself) and removal of any dried up or dead leaves, will keep it quite happy in a small container. They come in small enough sizes that you can keep one on your work desk, window sill or any small area where you can keep it in sight.

Tending to a small plant like this will help to cultivate the gardening habit so when you move on to other more demanding types of plants, you will have an idea what to expect.

You don't need a lot of space or money to get started.

As most of Lagos has been pretty much paved over, it is very likely that most people do not have direct access to the ground, so if you are in that category, then containers are your new best friend!

You do not need to spend a fortune getting fancy containers unless you want to of course, all it takes is a little upcycling. e.g. an old paint bucket, an old food tin, some old rain boots, a condemned tyre... the sky is the limit. Just ensure that you put in some drainage holes in what ever you decide to use.

Learn the 3 basic gardening rules

Fertile soil. Water. Light. Learn more here.