Keep gardening fun
Keep it fun
Don't stress about getting things right or not. It is so important to have fun, experiment and learn new things. Gardening doesn't have to be a serious hobby. It's all about getting outside and discovering new and exciting plants and gardening styles. Once you start worrying if you're doing it 'the right way', you will take the fun out of gardening.
Only grow what you love
Love tomatoes but hate chilli peppers? Then only grow tomatoes. Don't waste time, space, money and energy growing something that you will never get to enjoy. Same goes for flowers. I'm not a huge fan of Buddleia, so I don't grow it. I have one small buddleia bush that I keep for the butterflies, but that's it. I ripped out an old buddleia tree to make room for my lavender patch, which I love so much more.
Giggle at your mistakes
We all make mistakes. We're human. When the pigeon decimates my peas in one whole morning, yes it's annoying, but I still try to crack a joke and just get on with it. If I sat and cried over all of the stupid mistakes I have made as a gardener, I'd have no time for actual gardening. I'd also probably ruin the soil structure with the salty tears.
Don't suddenly decide to become self sufficient and rotovate your whole back garden up in one go. For your first few years you will want to take it slow and steady, keeping things to a small scale. Too many plants to care for and lots of land to tend to can be hugely overwhelming. If it's your 1st year gardening, try plants in pots or just 1 raised bed. You can always do more next year when your confidence has grown.
Get good at scavenging
Setting up a gardening can be a costly thing to do. Of course you will want to buy some lovely new items for your garden, but be sensible about what things can be found for free (or very cheaply!). For example, if you need plant pots, put out a request on your social media. I can guarantee you, someone will have some for you for free. Find some novelty items to grow things in. Last year my children grew peas in old wellington boots. I also like to swap seeds and cuttings with my family and friends.
Become a friendly neighbour
If you decide to start a heavy garden refurbishment, your neighbours may wonder what is going on. As we live self sufficiently in suburbia, our garden is a very busy place. Our chickens can be noisy, and so can our 4 kids. I keep the neighbours sweet with fresh egg deliveries and bundles of just-picked fruit and vegetables in the summer.
Get a water butt installed
Last summer was very hot. The hottest one we have ever had to cope with since becoming self sufficient. We have 3 huge water butts collecting rainwater and every single one was drained completely empty by the end of the summer. If you have a lot of plants to water daily (sometimes several times a day) you will find your water bill creeping up if you don't have a water butt. They're so easy to install, and fill up surprisingly fast!
A garden is never finished
One day you will realise what this really means. Every year there are jobs to do, you will always want to grow more plants or produce more food. You may want to juggle some flower beds around. A gardener's garden is never really finished. There will always be something to do. So, embrace it. Don't expect to circle a date in your diary and expect it all to be done by that day. A garden is a forever journey, that will grow with you.