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How to Start a Garden for Beginners

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We gathered up some of the best tips on how to start a garden for beginners—it seems as though everyone is considering the idea of growing a garden this year! After all, a garden is a great way to boost your food supply, save money, and even get some exercise and fresh air.

Growing a garden doesn’t need to be an intimidating task, in fact, a weekend is all you need to get growing! Take a look below at some helpful tips on how to start a garden, and see how simple it can be to grow your own food.

In this article we will cover how to plan your garden, how to prep your garden, and even what some good starter plants are. Plus, you will even learn some helpful gardening hacks along the way. Here is what you need to know.

how to start a garden a beginner's guide in text with photos of radish and small plantings

HOW TO PLAN A GARDEN

If you are planning your first ever garden, the idea is to start small. Don’t feel like you have to plant a dozen different items and master them all. You are better off picking 3-5 vegetable plants as well as 2-3 herbs. This will help you feel like your garden is manageable.

Here are 4 tips to help you plan your garden:

1. Consider the amount of space you have.

Most plants will need anywhere from 6-12 inches between them. Keep this in mind when deciding how much space you have to dedicate to your garden.

If you are worried about not having a large enough plot of land, consider container gardens or raised garden beds

2. Decide where the most nurturing space in your yard is.

Before you plan your garden or prep those containers, figure out where the most nurturing space in your yard is. This space should get 6-8 hours of direct sun per day, have well-draining and nutrient-rich soil, and be safe from pets.

3. Know your zone.

Knowing which planting zone you are in can help you choose plants that are ideal for your climate. Before you choose a plant, find your zone!

Use the map below to figure out what your zone is, and then when considering plants, check the tags (if in-store) or the description if online to be sure it is a good fit for your zone.

This is most helpful when planning a garden ahead of time, as you can easily type your zone into Google and get tons of great information and ideas for your specific zone.

USDA Plant hardiness zone map

4. Choose plants you know you will use.

Earlier we said to keep your variety of plants on the smaller side. Keep this in mind when choosing the perfect plants.

You want to be sure you are choosing herbs and vegetables your family will actually eat and enjoy. Think about what some of these items may be and plan accordingly.

HOW TO PREP A GARDEN

Now, let’s discuss how to prep your garden space. Look below at how to prepare your space so your plants have a great chance at success

1. Outline your garden.

This task can be as simple as using an edger and marking the plot you wish to use. If using containers or a raised bed, this step is already done for you!

You can then close your space in if you wish, using chicken wire or garden border of some type.

2. Prepare your soil.

Healthy soil is key to a healthy garden! Make sure your soil is well-tilled so it is loose and not compact. Stir in some compost (this can be something as simple as kitchen scraps you have saved such as produce peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds) and add some topsoil if needed.

3. Organize your materials.

Once your garden is outlined and the soil is prepped, you can gather your seedlings or seeds, hand shovel, hose, garden stakes, tomato cages (if needed) and fertilizer. Some other items you may need include a hand shovel and rake.

HOW TO PLANT A GARDEN

Now that you have the perfect space and are all prepped, you can start planting. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when planting your garden so you can be sure your plants experience success

1. Wait until the threat of frost has passed.


Planting your garden if there is still a threat of frost is pointless, so don’t even think about it! Wait until the threat has passed and temperatures are at least 60 degrees and above.

2. Follow all planting and spacing directions.

You may be tempted to pack a bunch of plants in and make your garden look full. Don’t do this as the plants will smother each other and compete for nutrients. Instead, follow all spacing directions when planting and be patient.

They will fill in soon enough!

mom and son planting a garden in a raised garden bed

3. Spoil those roots.

Before you plant a seedling or seed, loosen the soil and add some water to the hole. Then add the seed or seedlings and cover them with loose, not compacted soil.

If you wish you can even drop some compost into the hole before adding the seedlings. This will give it a great boost!

4. Provide support.

Add tomato cages around tomato seedlings so they can grow into them and find support. Beans may need a bean pole to climb on, and cucumbers may benefit from a trellis as well. Put these support items out when the plants are young.

5. Weed, weed, weed!

Once your plants are in the ground, be sure to weed and weed some more. Don’t let pesky weeds steal nutrients from your plants. Pull them by hand to avoid using any chemical solutions on your plants.


A few gardening hacks for beginners:

1. Adding mulch around the base of your seedlings can help keep the roots cool and protected.

2. Worms, ladybugs, and praying mantis are all beneficial to your garden. If you see any, leave them be.

3. Marigolds planted around the perimeter of your garden can keep rabbits out.

Best Plants for Beginner Gardeners

If you aren’t sure about which garden plants are ideal for beginners, let us help!

Here are the plants that are most popular with new gardeners and fairly easy to grow:

Cherry tomatoes, roma or yellow pear tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, rosemary, sage, dill, chives, and thyme.

Are you ready to get growing? Consider these tips on how to start a garden and see how you are just a few steps away from your very own harvest!

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