Gardening Tips For Beginners
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So you want to start a garden. What do you have to do? How do you start? What do you need?
We are here to help you start your journey into the wonderful, beautiful and challenging world of gardening!
What type of garden space do you have? Will you be doing some pots on your balcony or patio? Do you have a small city yard with lots of shade or sun? Are you on an acreage with plenty of space to grow whatever you want?
Each of these types of spaces has some advantages as well as disadvantages. Potted plants will need to be watered more often than those that are in the ground.
Some plants will not grow very well in shade and some not very well in sun.
A good gardening guide can help you with deciding which plants will grow under your specific conditions. Lois Hole has a great selection of gardening books from vegetables to perennials and everything in between!
Top Beginner Gardening Tips:
Decide What Kind Of Garden You Want
First, decide what kind of garden you are going to do. Will you be growing food primarily? Flowers?
I would suggest both for sure because the flowers will bring in pollinators like bees, wasps and flies that will ensure proper pollination for your food crops.
You can prepare your garden bed(s) in the spring, seed directly into it and have a successful garden this very year! You don’t have to wait while you try to kill the grass.
Prepare Your Garden
Prepare your garden prior to planting:
- Turn the soil over, rototill bigger patches.
- Amend the soil if and as needed, which means adding organic material and fertilizer components to make the soil rich, loamy and fertile.
- The type of soil you have is crucial to success. It needs to be light and loamy. If it’s sandy all the nutrients and water will drain away too quickly. If it’s too heavy with clay then the water will just sit there and will drown your plants.
- Adding organic matter like peat moss and compost will help both sandy and clay soils.
- If you have good soil already, just keep adding that organic matter every year to maintain it.
- You can read more about soil types here.
Have A Water Plan
Make sure you have a water plan, a water source that will be adequate for your plants needs.
In general, a garden needs at least 1/2 inch of moisture every week during the growing season, more during hot dry spells.
A good deep watering is much more effective too than just sprinkling on some water every day.
A deep watering will encourage the plants roots to grow down deeply so it can weather the dry spells much more effectively.
Get Fresh Seeds
Get fresh seed, either from a store or from a friend, family member or neighbour who has grown successful plants that you admire and who will share some of their seed with you.
RELATED: How To Start Basil From Seed
Tips For Buying Plants From A Greenhouse
For plants, either annuals or perennials, look for strong plants that are not too big in their container.
I know you will be sorely tempted but do not buy the biggest plants and do not buy ones that are already flowering if possible.
Almost all plants will experience some shock when you transplant them into the garden.
The smaller ones generally make the transition easier than those lovely big ones that are full of flowers.
If there are only bigger ones left then snip off all the flowers as you transplant them.
That way they can put all of their energy into rooting and not trying to finish growing a flower.
You will be amply rewarded with strong plants that will produce heavily for you by choosing the plants that are not the biggest or already flowering!
Check Your Plant Hardiness Zone
Check online for your zone in a Plant Hardiness Zones map.
Click here to see which hardiness zone you are in.
This tells you the date of the average last frost in your area. Based on this you can determine when you will seed not only your indoor seeds but also when to start your outdoor plantings.
For example, I have many categories of indoor seedings: 10-12 weeks before last frost, and then 8-10 weeks, 6-8 weeks, 4-6 weeks.
And then for direct seeding I do as soon as the ground can be worked, Early May, Mid-May, end of May and early June.
It’s better for each type of plant to be seeded and grown at the right time and under the right conditions.
Plus I love spreading out the work of gardening.
I do not just put everything in on the May Long Weekend for example.
For some plants that is too late and for others it is too early. This way I enjoy my gardening! The Plant Hardiness Zone will also let you know what will grow well in your area too, so you can avoid disappointments.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Please don’t get discouraged if the garden plan you had in your mind does not materialize the way you had expected.
There is lots to learn.
We all have had set backs and true disasters! Just try again.
And congratulate yourself on your successes!
Enjoy Your Garden
Enjoy your garden! Take the time to sit in your garden, bring your coffee or tea out there and relax, perusing all of your hard work and seeing that it was worth it!
I highly recommend that you put some type of chair in your garden, any type at all.
I have a bistro set in one spot, rocking benches in 2 other spots and a table and chairs on my patio so I can take my breaks out there, bringing my coffee and snacks out, sit down and listen to the insects, birds and critters that are always out there enjoying this space that I’ve created.
And if you’re hearing all of the human wildlife, then enjoy that too!
I know it’s a cliche but it’s so therapeutic to be outside, drinking in the sun and the air.
Digging in the soil with your hands. Growing new life. There is nothing else like it!
Now, get out there and start!!