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Ten Tips for Growing a Garden for Beginners

Apr 10, 2024 08:25AM ● By Brandy Centolanza

Earth Day is April 22. One way to reconnect with Mother Nature is to plant a garden. Here are ten tips for gardening for beginners:


1.       Decide What to Plant: Think about whether you want to plant a flower garden, an herb garden, a pollinator garden with native plants, or a vegetable garden. Visit your local farmers market with the kids, where you can try a new piece of produce and decide if that is something you’d like to try growing on your own, or visit your local library and borrow books about gardening for inspiration.

2.       Find the Perfect Spot: Choose a plot in your yard for your garden with plenty of sun that is easy to see and admire so you’ll be more apt to want to tend to it on a regular basis.

3.       Choose How You Want to Plant: Consider the soil on your property and decide if it is better to plant your garden in a raised bed or in a container. Containers are good options, particularly for herbs, but be sure the container is large enough for the plants you are using, and it has holes for water drainage. You’ll also want to ensure that your soil is nutrient-rich for the plants to grow as needed. Consider testing the soil in your yard first for best results.

4.       Don’t Forget About Water: Plants need lots of water, so make sure your garden has easy access to a water supply. Use a hose, a sprinkler, a watering can, or rain buckets. You’ll know when it is time to water if you push a finger an inch down into the soil and it feels dry. 

5.       Discover Your Zone: Various flowers and vegetables grow at different times throughout the year, depending on the season and the weather. Some thrive in colder temperatures, while others prefer the heat. Before you plant your garden, check the hardiness zone to be sure you are planting at the right time so your plants will survive. A quick Google search will pull up maps of the appropriate times for gardening in your area. Don’t forget about last frost dates.

6.       Choose the Right Tools: The basic tools you’ll need when tinkering in the dirt are gloves for protection; pruning shears to cut back plants; a gardening trowel or spade for digging, weeding, or transplanting; and a rake. If you have a larger property and are planting multiple gardens, a wheelbarrow may also be beneficial.

7.       Prepare Your Beds: You’ll want to loosen the soil in new garden beds first before planting seeds. You can use a rototiller or dig the dirt by hand. Work the soil so that it is moist enough to form a loose ball in your hand but dry enough to fall apart when you drop it. Remove any debris such as sticks, needles, leaves, or rocks.

8.       Don’t be Afraid to Let Your Kids Get Dirty: Kids can help plant the seeds and water the garden. Teach kids about the weeds that may interfere with your flowers or veggies as they start to sprout, and have them pluck them out regularly so your plants will have the optimal chance to flourish.

9.       Consider Adding Mulch: Mulching your garden may be suitable to prevent access weeds from popping up. Mulch also traps moisture that your plants will need to grow.  A variety of mulch is available including shredded bark, straw, or river rock. Avoid mulching over your seeds.

10.   Enjoy your Harvest:  Create a gardening journal with the family with dates of sowing, germination, and harvest. If you are planting an herb or vegetable garden, enjoy watching the various stages of growth with the kids and search for easy recipes everyone can enjoy once the veggies are ready to be picked, washed, and eaten.

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