Gardening season is coming. And if this is your first time learning how to start growing your first garden, then you might need to prepare a lot of things before you start. Whether you’re trying to grow your own garden of organic fruits and veggies or add some color to your backyard, these simple and practical gardening tips will be very useful for beginners.
1. Know your “zone”
By understanding the area you live, you won’t plant vegetables, herbs, or fruits that can’t survive in cold winters. You can also know which time is best to expect the last frost date in spring. This way, you can choose suitable veggies and fruits that easily grow in your “zone”.
You can look for what kinds of vegetables grow well in your region online. If possible, you can go to a local nursery. Small plant nurseries tend to start growing veggies and fruits that are proper to the season and local area. The nurseries that are fully priced and prominently displayed might be the suitable ones to buy to start growing. Discounted plants, of course, are usually cheaper. However, they often tend to be outside the main crop and your harvest will not be as good as you expect. So, choose the plants wisely. That’s also the next important step to start your first garden.
2. Select the right plants for your “fun sun” or “full shade” area
For those who don’t know, lots of fruits and veggies need at least six or eight hours per day to grow. On the other hand, other plants thrive better in spaces with limited light. So, if your garden is in a place full of sunlight, you can consider growing perennial plants, such as chrysanthemums, peonies, dahlias, and lavender. However, plants such as ferns, hydrangeas, and hostas tend to grow better in places with less sunlight.
3. Always test the soil carefully before you start digging
This step is important for you to know if your soil is healthy enough to nourish your vegetables and fruits or not. You can send a sample of your soil to a lab. Or more simply, you can use a home kit to calculate the soil’s pH level. The pH levels will be various for different types of plants. However, anywhere between 6.5 and 7 is suitable (with the exception of melons, eggplants, and potatoes). Besides, you should check for the following three nutrients: potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. If the result is not good, you might need to spend some time correcting insufficiencies.
4. Consider using garden raised beds
Almost all beginning gardeners want to succeed. And you know, a raised garden bed can be one of the best ways to achieve that success. Although you might need to invest a little more at first, your result will be better when the harvest comes. This is because you can control the soil better when it is in the raised bed. You can also have a prompt and proper method to deal with weeds and pests.
5. Plan the details of your garden
So now you know your soil quality, the plants you are going to grow, and the place to plant those vegetables and fruits. But, yuu should remember that one of the most effective gardening tips for beginners is to take some time to map it out before you start digging and planting your veggies. By doing this, you can double-check if you make the most of your space or not.
6. Ensure that you have the right gardening tools
To make your gardening as productive as possible, you should equip some gardening tools. But make sure you get the right ones. Here are some of the most basic gardening tools you should have in your kit: a trowel, gauge transplanter, tiller, pruning shears. Durable gloves are also essential to keep your hands safe from thorns. If you miss any of these things, you should buy them to take advantage of those tools for the best gardening season.
7. Consider using a seed starter kit
Using a seed starter kit is one of the most simple and almost guaranteed ways to among various gardening tips for beginners. They usually come in one or multiple-use containers or trays. They will provide your seed with ideal conditions to sprout. These trays are perfect if you want to plant your vegetables or fruits but it is too early to grow outside. And you can put them in the soil or ground later when they are big enough.
8. Always start small
You will need a lot of time and dedication when deciding to grow your own garden. It’s always simple to get excited about planting everything, including fruits and vegetables, under the sun. However, it is much better to start at a small scale so that you can easily take care of each plant in the best possible way.
9. Remember to label every plant in your garden
Even if you are going to grow just three types of seeds, it is best to label all of them, including their names and where they are planted. You never know that you can remember all those seeds.
10. Take advantage of companion growing
There are a lot of reasons why you should make the most of companion planting. This can help you maximize your space utilization, providing nutrients for your plants, and also repelling pests. You also know that some vegetables grow best when they are planted close together. On the other hand, several species need to be planted separately; otherwise, they will inhibit each other’s growth.
For instance, tomatoes are more productive (and keep flies and mosquitoes away) when they are planted closely with basil. Other allies of tomatoes, such as carrots, asparagus, celery, lettuce, marigolds, onions, parsley, and spinach, can also be planted with basil to get the best harvest. However, you should not plant the tomatoes near beets, cabbage, corn, dill, fennel, rosemary, and potatoes.
11. Use compost
Compost is a type of organic material that you can use to add to your garden. You will be surprised by its effectiveness. You don’t even need to buy compost because it exists in your house already. They can be anything from tea bags, eggshells, ashes, coffee grounds, and even fur. When you add these compost materials to the soil, they can maintain moisture or dampness, fight diseases and pests, and encourage the growth of good bacteria. Besides, you can minimize the carbon footprint when reuse these materials.
12. Use fertilizer
Even if you find using compost is not your thing, you shouldn’t overlook improving your soil. Fertilizing the soil is one of the most crucial steps to provide your seeds and plants with necessary minerals and nutrients to grow healthily.
13. Always remember to water your plants properly
Proper watering is also considered on of the most useful gardening tips for beginners. Different plants, including fruits and vegetables, will need different amounts of water and frequency of watering. Therefore, always research this carefully to ensure that your plants are watered properly.
14. Eliminate weeds
Growing veggies and fruits is just your first step in your new gardening journey. You have to get rid of weeds too. This is really important because weeds compete with the plants you’re trying to grow for nutrients and minerals in the soil. They also fight for precious space in your garden.
15. Consider adding mulch to plant’s base
Mulch is great for providing your soil with nutrients and preventing erosion. Besides, it can help your garden resist weeds. So, you can consider adding mulch to the base of your vegetables and fruits, depending on what types of those plants are.
So, these are just a few simple and practical gardening tips for beginners you can consider when you start growing your first garden. You just need to follow these steps and your garden will thrive soon. But if you need more specific advice, it is better to look for the help from local nurseries.