Beginner Gardening Made Easy

by Mary Ann

From time to time, I also get gardening-related questions submitted to us, so every now and then I’ll give you some general gardening tips and strategies too.  Since us plant lovers need to stick together!  So here’s a gardening-related article you should enjoy….

If you are new to gardening , but have seen wonderful gardens around where you live, it can be scary to even get started. You will, however, get better with it over time. . You just need to know some basic things to get started with gardening .

Start the gardening process by planning what kind of garden you would like . Do you want herbs, vegetables, a flower garden, or a mix of all three?

If you choose flowers, do you want annuals that need to be planted every year, or do you want a perennial garden with flowers that have a shorter blooming period but will come back next year?

Also consider the region in which you live. Some plants are more likely to thrive in certain areas of the country . Often seed packets indicate which areas of the country produce the best results. Your local gardening center will also be able to help you make the right choice .

After you decide what you want to plant, you need to find the best spot in your yard.

Look for a place with easy access to water, proper drainage and direct sunlight. Consider putting the garden in a spot that you look at every day, such as outside a kitchen or bath window. It will not only be a lovely sight, but will also help remind you when the garden needs water and weeding.

Now that you’ve chosen the spot , it is time to start digging.

It is important to find the right time for this job – you can ruin the soil’s structure if you begin digging when it is too wet or too dry. One simple idea is that you should dig only when the soil is moist enough to create a dirt ball in your hand, but dry enough that the ball will fall apart when dropped.

Use a spade or spade fork to turn over eight to twelve inches of soil, and mix in organic matter as you work. Mix organic matter with the soil for approximately three weeks before planting your seeds. This will improve your soil’s water store and soil buffering.

Test your soil’s pH before you plant. Some plants prefer more acidic soil, some prefer more alkaline, and some are happiest in neutral soil. Pay attention to your soil’s pH levels – it really may make the difference between a thriving garden and one that fails .

After beginning the process of improving your garden’s soil , start shopping for plants. Visit your local gardening center, read magazines and brochures, or use this gardening guide to find inspiration for what you would like to plant in your backyard.

There are plenty of annuals, perennials and vegetables that are perfect  for beginning gardeners. Cosmos, marigolds, impatiens, geraniums, sunflowers and zinnias are perfect first-time annuals.

Beginner’s perennials include lambs ear, lazy susans, coneflowers and daylilies. If you are interested in vegetables, consider planting lettuce, peppers, tomatoes or cucumbers in your first garden since these grow quite well and are relatively easy to care for.

If you bought small plants instead of seeds, gradually enter them to bright sunlight. Many greenhouses and gardening stores keep their plants inside and away from direct sun.

Start by putting the plants on a covered porch , then move them to an area that gets sunlight for a portion of the day and finally plant them in the ground.

Water your plants only weekly, at first. Use a soaker hose in the mornings for the best results – this is also the eco-friendly thing to do.

Any more water and you will run the risk of drowning your plants. Once they start growing well , water according to the guidelines for each plant, as well as your area’s rainfall.

Don’t forget to keep your garden tools clean ! While this may may not seem to make any sense since you use the tools in dirt, it is very important. Dirty gardening tools can attract microbes that will harm your plants. Using clean gardening tools is one of the easiest ways to keep your plants free from disease and infestation .

If a full-blown backyard garden sounds too challenging , consider a kitchen garden, a container garden or a square foot garden.

Container gardening simply involves making use of containers like old porcelain bowls, and things like tires or other items you no longer need.

First, decide whether you would like to keep your plants inside or outside, then you can choose the containers that seem to be best for the need .

When picking a container, there are a few things to consider . The height of the plant when it is fully grown and mature , whether it needs partial or full sun and the length of the bloom time are all factors that will help you decide which kind of container you will need.

Square foot gardening is another great option . These are small gardens with lots of plants nicely packed in them . It is a form of organic gardening done in closely planted, raised beds.

Square foot gardening is a fine option for people who live in areas with bad soil, newbie gardeners or those with disabilities that keep them from caring for a traditional garden. Square foot gardens necessitate less weeding, less water and fewer pesticides than conventional gardens.

Now you are ready to begin planting just what you want! Gardening is a fun way to connect with nature and to give your family fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers to enjoy all summer long.

Families are always trying to save money any way they can, and gardening may be one of the best ways to do that!

You can grow healthy food right in your backyard. Not only will you be able to walk outside for fresh vegetables or flowers, you will know exactly what has gone into the food your family is eating.

And if you follow some of the elementary principles of organic gardening, you can grow safe and healthy organic food just steps from your kitchen window !

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