Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty or watching things grow? If so, gardening is the best hobby you will ever have. Starting your garden is one of the most fulfilling things you can ever do.
It may seem like rocket science if you’re new to it, but with good planning, preparation, and determination, you can start your gardening project with ease. Here is a detailed beginner guide on how to start your garden:
1. Start Small
It is natural to want to outdo yourself and your neighbors or friends, but baby steps are essential. Do not spend all your time and resources to start your garden. To save yourself the frustration, you should start with a small, manageable garden. A small, well-tended garden will produce good results compared to a large, poorly tended garden.
2. Examine Your Environment
Some plants thrive better in certain climatic conditions than others. Before you purchase any seeds, evaluate your environment and consider the following factors:
- The climatic condition of the area you’re in
- The times of the day that your garden space gets direct sunlight
- The kind of garden you want- greenhouse, indoors or outdoors
- How much it rains
- The type of soil
- Accessibility to your garden
- Wildlife, pet damage, and children play areas
These environmental factors will help you figure out the perfect plants to start with.
3. Choose the Best Gardening Spot
Plants look as good as the ground they grow in. Most plants require a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight exposure. You may need to observe your garden throughout the day to know which areas receive direct sunlight and which areas don’t.
You don’t have to worry if your yard is shady, mainly as some plants thrive well under such conditions. For example, green herbs and root veggies will thrive under partially shaded conditions. Plants grown in the northern gardens will mostly get all the sun they need, while those in the southern gardens will get a late afternoon shade.
Think about the visuals of the garden you are planting. It is not just about the plants you choose to grow but also the surrounding elements of your home. A beautiful garden might not look as lovely against a shabby house, so it might also be time for some stucco replacement. If you have limited space, raised beds and small containers or pots may help you have a small backdoor kitchen garden.
4. Choose your plants
Gardening isn’t easy when you get to grow anything. You will make a successful gardener if you get easy plants that you are excited about growing. It need not feel like a chore! Note down all the plants you would enjoy planting and seeing in your garden. Simple flowers, vegetables, and herbs would make a good start as they are the easiest to grow.
It would be wise to get low-maintenance plants that grow naturally across most weather conditions. Some of the most common are lettuce, beans, kale or spinach, onions, and strawberries. Also, to add some life into your garden, mix some flowers to keep pests away and attract pollinators.
5. Get Your Essential Gardening Tools
There are many gadgets required in gardening, but there are some essential tools that you will need as a beginner. The right garden tools will make your work easier, enjoyable and reduce the risk of injury. Some of the basic but essential gardening tools include:
- Gardening gloves
- Hand trowel- with a metallic scoop and handle
- Hand rake
- Small pruner
- Garden shovel
- Watering can
- Dirt rake
Buy long-lasting metallic tools as they will save your time and effort. Also, remember always to keep them clean and sharp, just as you would with your kitchen knife.
6. Prepare Your Soil
Plants get their nutrients from the soil. When preparing your soil, the primary things to look out for when preparing your soil are pH levels, nutrient levels, and soil type. Most garden crops prefer a balanced or neutral pH level of 7. Get yourself a soil analysis test kit from your local gardening store to test for the nutrients and pH levels of the soil.
In most cases, residential soils will most certainly need a boost since it’s dry and the topsoil has been washed away during construction. You can boost it up by mixing it with organic fertilizers or compost to make it more fertile. If your soil is rocky, remove the rocks as they will interfere with the root growth. As the years go by, your soil will keep improving.
7. Get To Work
Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to start planting. Please read all the necessary instructions and know where, when, the depth, and how far apart they need to be. Some of the general rules for planting include:
- Have a calendar to help you know when to sow the different types of seeds
- If you’re using a container, grow them under light
- Ensure the taller plants don’t block the exposure of the shorter plants to light
- Ensure the roots are moist but not wet to avoid rotting
- Have some stickers near each plant to remind you of how much water and sunlight they need
8. Pay Attention and Nurture Your Garden Regularly
Gardens keep changing, and each step of it is a learning process. The best way to becoming a great gardener is by:
- Identifying the types of pests that attack your garden and how to deal with them
- Knowing how certain plants show that they need water
- Knowing how too much or too little exposure to sunlight can do to certain plants
- Knowing what happens after pruning
The more you take care of your garden, the easier it will be to keep pests away. Furthermore, if your garden is where you get your food, you wouldn’t want a situation where you’re exposed to toxins. Always remember that for every problem, there’s always a solution.
Gardening has numerous benefits to your general well-being. The best thing about it is that you can always give it a second shot if things don’t work out the first time. There are many available methods by which you can go about everything. Identify what works best for you and what grows best in your environment, and you’ll most likely not get disappointed.
About the Author
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.