Not sure where to start when you want to start a garden? I’ll go over the fundamentals of gardening in this post and provide links to articles with more in-depth knowledge so you may garden with confidence and enjoy yourself.
From setting up your beds to harvesting your own vegetables, flowers, and herbs, we’ll guide you. Nothing compares to the flavor of freshly selected food that has been plucked at its ripest!
Creating a Garden: 10 Steps You Must Take
- Determine what you want to grow in your home garden,
- decide where to start your garden.
- Buy entry-level gardening tools
- part of vertical gardening
- Test Your Soil
- Improve Your Soil
- Pick the Best Seeds or Transplants
- Plant Carefully
- Take Care of Your Garden
- Enjoy Your Harvest
1. Decide what you want to grow in your home garden
#1: Don’t grow anything in your vegetable garden that you won’t eat.
For flowers, I deviate from this guideline. Whether they are edible or not, I prefer to see a couple in every garden.) Pay special attention to the fruits, vegetables, or herbs that your family likes best.
Ensure that your top selections make sense for the location.
Determine your gardening zone and the dates of the first and last frosts. Find out which crops thrive in your region by speaking with prosperous gardeners there, if you can.
Crops that take more than 100 days to mature or high temperatures are a gamble in my northern garden. We adore watermelons, for instance, but I prefer Blacktail Mountain (70 days) over Carolina Cross (90 days). Amber, a gardening acquaintance from the South, struggles with vine crops like cucumbers that are susceptible to mildew in high humidity as well as crops like peas that need cooler temps.
Avoid attempting to grow anything like a gigantic pumpkin, which will spread over a very vast area, if you only want a modest garden.
Although it’s usually better to start your garden with a focus on fresh food, some vegetables are incredibly simple to preserve.
#2: Pick a Place to Begin Your Garden
Starting a garden from scratch is the ideal opportunity to choose the ideal place.
The majority of fruits and vegetables require at least five hours of direct sunlight each day for fruiting, as well as full sun. Partial shade is ideal for growing greens, herbs, and root vegetables. While northern gardens probably need as much sun as possible, southern gardens may benefit from late-afternoon shadow.
A neglected garden and out of sight, out of mind are often synonymous. Avoid places with strong winds and frost pockets (low areas where frost is likely to settle).
When we initially moved in, the dog of our next-door neighbor would occasionally drop by and run through the garden. New seedlings were severely harmed by this. Now that the dog has left, we make plans based on the arrival of the deer and wild rabbits.
#3: Create a garden bed plan
Decide on the type and size of the garden bed once you have decided where you want your garden to be (s).
Although appealing and maybe making gardening work easier, raised beds also dry out more quickly. Sunken beds can be utilized to collect any moisture in extremely dry places.
Instead of using single rows, consider planting your garden in blocks or beds of plants.
The width of a bed should be between 3 and 4 feet, making it small enough to allow access from either side.
In order to prevent you from being enticed to step into the bed and compact the ground, beds should be no longer than 10 feet.
Plants should be arranged in rows or a grid within the garden beds. The objective is to increase growing space while minimizing walkways. Time and money are saved by merely fertilizing the planting area and amending the soil there. Improve yields by utilizing companion plants to entice beneficial insects.
Give each plant adequate room to grow by beginning small.
Although the plants might grow to be enormous, the seeds and transplants are very small. Plants that are crowded have a hard time flourishing. A little, well-kept garden can yield just as much or even more than a large, neglected one.
The most typical bed shapes are rectangular or square, but your options are only limited by your creativity and building abilities. Although rectangular raised bed kits are the most common, you can also use portions of drain pipe or other found objects to grow your garden.
2. Gardening vertically
You can grow more crops in less space by growing vertically. How to Grow More Vegetables, (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine is the finest book I’ve found on the topic so far.
My tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, and occasionally other crops are grown vertically on trellises, fences, or other supports. For further information, see 10 Reasons to Garden Up Rather Than Out.
What if your yard has little room for growing things? To start your garden, think about growing bags or pots. Compared to ceramic flower pots, which have a tendency to dry out rapidly, self-watering containers are far more forgiving.
The GreenStalk vertical planters are a fantastic way to maximize growth space while minimizing footprint. They use a tiered watering system to evenly water the entire growing area.
#4 – Spend money on basic gardening tools
Working in your yard may become enjoyable rather than a hassle with the correct tools.
You wouldn’t cut up raw carrots with a butter knife, and the same rule applies to your usage of flimsy or dull instruments in the garden. Typical gardening tools include:
- Garden hoes
- D-handled shovels
- leaf rakes
- scruffle hoes
- hand tools.
If you can help it, avoid purchasing low-cost plastic tools.
Visit your neighborhood garden center or look for real metal equipment at the yard and estate sales for discounts. To lessen the chance of harm, purchase instruments that are the proper size for you.
You’ll save time, work, and your back by using good tools.
Like you would an excellent knife, keep your equipment clean and well-honed.
#5: Test Your Soil
You need to understand your garden soil before you begin constructing your garden beds or planting.
Is the pH of your soil neutral, acidic, or alkaline? Do you have rocks, silt, clay, sand, or a combination of the four? Is there a chance that surrounding buildings, roads, or other sources could contaminate the soil? Does it contain enough of the essential nutrients?
Some of these traits can be identified simply by examining the soil. Others might need to undergo professional lab testing or tests at home. For instance, lead pollution from outdated house paint or close-by heavily traveled roads is an issue in some places.
The majority of garden plants require soil that is neutral in pH (about 7), while certain plants, like potatoes, need slightly acidic or slightly alkaline environments (brassicas). Organic matter is also necessary, as are balanced nutritional levels.
#6: Improve Your Soil
If you’re starting with sod, you’ll need to either chop it up and use it again, until it in, or spread wet newspaper or cardboard to smother it and then construct a bed on top. Although October is the ideal time to start, you can still start in spring.
The majority of plants require organically rich, deep, well-drained soil.
Good garden soil is necessary for plant roots to produce quality fruits and vegetables.
As your garden grows year after year, you’ll develop a new appreciation for rich soil. Healthy, vibrant soil produces healthy, vibrant plants that are more nutrient-dense and resistant to disease and pests.
I add a variety of organic materials, such as compost, worm castings, and mulch, every year.
#7: Select the Best Seeds or Plants
Visit the seed starting calendar to find out which plants thrive best when directly sowed in the garden and which plants do well as transplants. You’ll generally need to produce your own transplants from seed if you want to grow particular varieties, particularly heirloom ones. Another excellent option to save your expenses is to start your own transplants.
Grow Tomatoes from Seed – Save Money, Get More Varieties contains a picture of my seed starting setup as well as more comprehensive information on tomato transplants.
Here are some pointers to help you identify the best plants at the nursery if you aren’t prepared to take on cultivating transplants for your garden:
Find containers that are around the same size as the plant. When planted in the garden, large plants in small pots are more prone to experience transplant shock and become root-bound (with twisted, growing in circles inside the pot roots).
Keep an eye out for indications of stress, such as insect damage or yellow foliage. Seasonal plant sales are now frequently held in the parking lots of retailers. Baking asphalt is difficult for seedlings even with routine watering.
Inquire as to whether your seeds or plants have been treated with or sprayed with any potentially dangerous substances, such as neonicotinoid insecticides. You don’t want to purchase plants that can hurt pollinators because they are essential for fruit set in the garden.
#8: Plant Carefully
Basic planting instructions are typically included with seed packs and transplant containers.
After laying the foundation (figuratively), all that’s left to do is jump in and start planting. Simply give it a shot; the rest may be learned as you go.
Generally speaking, when planting in your garden:
Unless specifically specified on the box, plant seeds about three times as deep as the diameter of the seed. For some seeds to germinate, light is necessary.
Most transplants are planted at the same depth they were growing in the pot for transplants. Tomatoes are an exception and can be trenched in or planted deeper.
Plant heat-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, okra, etc. when the risk of frost has passed.
When planted outdoors, young plants may require protection or hardening off since they are more susceptible to injury than older plants.
#9: Take Care of Your Garden
The best fertilizer, according to an old proverb, is the gardener’s shadow. You could do better visiting the farmer’s market or stick to really low-maintenance foods like sprouts or herbs if you’re not ready to make time in your schedule to take care of your plants. The amount of work needed might range from a few minutes per day to a full-time job, depending on the size of your plantings.
Use a scuffle hoe to grab weeds when they are tiny, or use them as ground cover, food, or medicine.
During the growing season, it is generally accepted that plants require about one inch of water every week.
You’ll need to water your garden if the rains don’t fall.
Always examine the soil before turning on a faucet or striking the rain barrels since overwatering is just as dangerous as underwatering. Too-wet soil can lead to the rot of seeds and roots. While watering, foliar feeds like compost tea can be given to provide plants with additional nourishment and dosage of beneficial bacteria.
Plants that are under stress or lacking in some way are more attractive to insects. Your pest issues should be minimal if your plants are strong and well-fed. There is usually an organic solution to a problem. Why would you want to put toxins on your own food if you went to all that trouble to grow it?
#10: Enjoy Your Harvest
Harvest crops as soon as possible for the finest quality as they reach maturity. Typically, lettuce and other leafy greens are “cut and come again,” meaning you can clip off the leaves and they will grow back for another harvest.
Each two to three days, harvest the beans and peas. Sweet corn should be harvested when cobs are fully developed and silk is black. Tomatoes and peppers can be picked green or after they have reached their full flavor and sweetness.
When the morning dew has dried off but before the afternoon heat has descended, the flavor is often at its height. Pick what you think tastes the best after sampling. For more on harvesting and storing techniques, see How to Grow and Cook Nutrient Dense Foods.
There is always next year if things don’t go as planned, which is one of the reasons I enjoy gardening. There are numerous approaches to almost everything, but until you give one a try, you won’t know one is ideal for you and your garden. Try again if a plant or crop doesn’t thrive the first time you plant it. Due to the fact that different kinds perform better in various environments, I often give up on a crop after at least three years of trying.
It’s beneficial to your health to the garden. It can enhance your nutrition, battle depression, and lessen stress.