Having your own garden can be an extremely satisfying and rewarding experiences. It can make your property look better, it’s fun to do, and you can benefit from having direct access to your produce. But all of these benefits are only available if you know how to best care for your garden and all of this can be difficult if you’re a beginner. We have compiled together 21 of the best gardening tips specifically designed for beginners to get started.
Pick the Right Location
One of the first things that you’ll have to consider before you start your gardening process is the specific location where you want it. Your garden’s location will affect the growth process and success of the garden, since you’ll need to put it in a place that’s both sunny easy to see.
Especially for vegetable gardens, you’ll need to choose a location that will allow the plants to receive at least six hours of sunlight every day. The location should also have easy access to a steady supply of water. You won’t want to haul jugs of water across the entire yard just to water the plants, so you’ll want the garden to be next to either a hose or near a tap.
Lastly, you’ll want it in a place that you’ll see all the time since this will encourage you to work on it more often.
Know the Right Time to Plant in your Area
Depending on the type of plant, certain ones require that you plant them throughout the year and in different climates. That being said, you’ll want to consider the hardiness zones that you live in. The hardiness zone can be found online, and it will ultimately tell you at what time in the year you should start planting your vegetable garden depending on the temperatures in your area.
Choose the Right Kind of Garden
There are many different kinds of gardens that you have the opportunity to choose from in order to accommodate your specific needs. Depending on the specific location that you want your garden in, you may be limited in the amount of space that you have.
Some beginners choose to be more organized with a more compact space, so they choose to utilize a square foot garden that equally divides each of the certain plants throughout the square. For beginners, especially, raised gardens have become more popular throughout recent years.
They function exactly as their name suggests, in that they are physically raised off of the ground. Raised gardens are a perfect idea for those of you with limited space to work with, or if your soil in the ground is of poor quality.
Raised gardens are beneficial because they give you more control over the soil, they’re easy to limit the amount of weeds and pests present in the garden and they help you to be more organized by letting you separate the plants according to their specific needs.
Map out the Garden before Planting
By mapping out the design of the garden before you start planting, you’ll be able to optimize the amount of space that you have available. This can be done on either construction paper or even in a journal. But you’ll ultimately want to draw out the design of the garden and plan out what plants you’re going to put and where.
Some plants can grow more effectively when they’re placed next to each other, so you can also do some research and keep this in mind when deciding what types of plants to put where. Often people simply start planting their vegetables in randomized spaces, making it difficult to remember what went where. And it can lead to a mess later on down the road with random plants everywhere. Mapping out the design of your garden beforehand can help you be a more successful, organized gardener.
Conduct a Soil Test
Your soil’s health directly affects the health of your plants and overall the effectiveness of your garden. The soil is responsible for providing nutrients to your plants, and your plants won’t be able to survive if the soil is poor. That being said, you’ll want to conduct a soil test in the ground or soil that you’re planning on putting your garden around.
Soil tests help to ensure that your soil is healthy enough to nourish your plants. The test will measure the pH levels of the soil as well as the levels of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus in the soil. These are all important because the soil is only capable of delivering minerals and nutrients to the soil if it’s in the right conditions. To administer a soil test, you can purchase tests online and follow the instructions included.
Many experienced gardeners have found that placing mulch over the top of the soil can help to improve the overall conditions of their garden. Mulch in itself has many benefits for gardens. They say that mulch helps the soil to retain its moisture, and it breaks down over time, improving the fertility of the soil.
Additionally, it helps to control the amount of weed growth throughout your garden, it protects against erosion, and it helps to repel many unwanted pests. It even improves the overall appearance of your garden, making it look healthier and more attractive overall.
Fertilizer is one of the most commonly known methods to help improve the overall health of your garden. There are many different kinds of fertilizers available for you to choose from, so it’s important that you do your research and figure out which one would be right for you.
Some of them contain harsh chemicals that can actually harm your garden or other substances around it. Overall, fertilizer improves your garden by enhancing the soil when adding minerals and nutrients throughout. It keeps the nutrients packed within the soil so that the plants mostly have easier access to the minerals.
Choose the Right Kinds of Plants for your Area
Particular types of plants will grow more effectively when they’re placed in certain climates, so you should conduct some research and find out what the best types of plants are to plant in your area. Urban Farmer Seeds is a website that gives you the ability to find out what the best plants are for you according to the particular zone that you live in. Not only that, but the website also provides you with the frost dates for certain zones and a specialized planting schedule for the best overall results.
Only Plant Things That You Will Use
There’s no point in spending the time and effort in planting vegetables that you won’t use or that you don’t enjoy eating. Many beginners seem to simply choose plants that they think will look good or ones that are standard for most gardens.
But there’s no point in planting vegetables that you’re not going to use or at least sell to other people. That being said, you’ll want to consider what types of vegetables you personally will use and only plant those ones.
Even if there are only a few, you can utilize the other empty space around the few vegetables by placing flowers or other plants there.
Rotate the Crops Each Year
Recommended specifically for those of you that plan to pursue a garden for a longer period of time, you should engage in crop rotation each year. This is a process that’s utilized by the most advanced gardeners, and it helps you to utilize the soil best productively.
More specifically, it involves rotating certain crops according to the way that they utilize the nutrients in the soil each year. Different types of plants affect the soil in varying ways. For instance, HarvestToTable explains how some crops are light feeders, some are heavy feeders, and others are soil builders.
By planting the different groups of crops in certain regions in the garden one year and then rotating the groups of crops each year after that, you’ll be able to best utilize the nutrients in the soil. Crop rotation helps to prevent soil from drying out over time or developing any other damage.
Utilize Companion Planting
Companion planting refers to the process of placing certain plants closer to each other in order to improve the overall quality of each plant. Putting certain plants near each other can help you to utilize the space throughout the garden best, and it can also help to provide additional benefits to your garden.
More specifically, companion planting can help to control the number of pests throughout the garden, increase soil fertility, provide natural trellising, control weeds and it can help to control the amount of shade. Gardenista provides a more in-depth guide to companion planting that you can benefit from in the long-run.
Label the Plants as you Plant Them
Many beginners struggle with the organization throughout their garden because they seem to forget what crops they plant and where. More advanced gardeners have found that by labeling the crops as they plant them, they can bypass any confusion and help to keep the garden more organized overall. You may not think that this step is necessary, but you’ll soon realize how easy it is to forget. And when you forget, you’ll have to dig up the seeds again, which can be a waste of time. So remember to label your plants by sticking something into the ground that has a label on top.
Have the Right Gardening Tools
When you’re first getting started, you’ll want to make sure you have the right kinds of tools for your gardening process. Having the right tools can make gardening both more effective and easier to manage. The most important tools are waterproof and breathable gloves, a spade, weeder, scissors, hori-hori, hand pruner, a wheelbarrow and a hand rake.
Use a Hose With a Spray Nozzle Attachment
In addition to the essential gardening tools that you’ll need, you should also make sure that you have access to a reliable source of water. More specifically, you should have a hose that’s compatible with a spray nozzle attachment. The attachment allows the water to go through various spray settings to make sure water reaches certain parts of the garden in particular pressure arrangements.
Water the Garden at the Right Times
Not only should you be watering your garden in general, but you’ll want to make sure that you water it at the right times throughout the day. Usually, the best times to water your garden are right before the sun hits the garden directly because the soil has the ability to absorb the water instead of it just getting evaporated by the sun’s heat and energy. Even more, you’ll want to water the garden deeply and only about once or twice a week. You should also ensure that you cater to each type of plant’s water needs specifically.
Remove the Weeds
You must remove the weeds from the garden as they grow. Many people have the misconception that they can just let the weeds grow, and their crops will grow just fine. This is problematic because they don’t take into account that the weeds are plants too, and they take up many of the nutrients within the soil. That being said, the crops will have a limited amount of nutrients to use.
Overall, make sure you remove the weeds as they grow. They’ll end up stealing all the nutrients from the soil, and they’ll take up space in the garden. If you’re worried about the weeding process taking too long and it’s too much work, you can easily remove the weeds from the garden with a stand-up weeder. Or you can use a backpack sprayer to spray weedkiller over large areas. This saves time and effort on your part.
Eliminate Dead Blooms on Certain Plants
Another problematic thing that many beginners do is simply leave the dead blooms on their crop plants. Not only do these dead blooms look bad, but they also prevent any new blooms from growing. So to help regenerate the growth of newer blooms and essentially promote more vegetable growth, you can remove the spent portions of the plant.
But you shouldn’t necessarily remove them in any sort of fashion. You should typically either use your fingers in a pinching motion, gardening snips or shears. This video can help you to understand further the correct methods of removing dead blooms.
Attract Mason Bees to the Area
Bees can help to improve the health of your garden by pollinating your flowers and encouraging their growth. That being said, you could improve your garden by attracting mason bees to the area. You can do this using a variety of different methods.
You’ll want to spread out some bee food and offer a quality source of mud around the bee house. The bee house is essentially made of wood that has small holes within. Ecolandscaping.org provides a more detailed look at attracting mason bees.
Store the Seeds Correctly
Especially for those of you that plan to garden each year, you can make the most of your gardening processes by properly storing the seeds from certain plants after harvest. If you store them correctly, then you can use them in the future for planting other crops. To store them correctly, you’ll need to place them in an enclosed jar within a location that has both constant temperature and humidity.
Utilize Transplants when Necessary
Ultimately, you’ll want to start most plants in your garden with seeds. But for plants that take a longer amount of time to grow, you may benefit from transplanting certain crops. When done correctly, you can save yourself both time and effort.
Use a Gardening Journal
Lastly, you’re highly recommended to make and use a gardening journal for your gardening process. It can help you to keep all of your tracking information in the same place so that you can easily see your progress from year-to-year. You can track what crops you plant, where you plant them as well as their progress. You can even include photos in the journal to keep a more precise progression of the garden as it comes along. Ultimately, utilizing a gardening journal can help you to be a more productive gardener.
Overall, caring for your own garden can be a difficult task, especially if you don’t have any prior experience with gardening. With some time and patience, you have the opportunity to grow the garden of your dreams. And hopefully, these tips for beginners can help your garden to be more successful. You’ll ultimately have to consider what you want to plant, where you want to plant it, and how you want to plant it. Keeping track of your gardening progress is one of the most important steps since this will help you to become better over time. Just start with a few of these tips and then pick more up as you go, and you’ll be the expert gardener within no time.