How to Start a Garden: The Beginners Guide
- Gardening allows you to grow healthy and organic whole foods at half the price compared to the grocery store. It also provides you with a means of exercise and very tasty fruits and vegetables. Speaking of fruits and vegetables did you know that a every produce that has seeds developing within the produce itself are fruits and every root (carrot, beets, radishes), leaves (lettuce, kale, spinach), or stems (asparagus) we eat are vegetables?
- My husband and I were both raised in families that gardened as a hobby. I can remember, on summer break from school, we would all be together as a family picking rocks and weeding from the garden. It would be super hot after spending an hour or two picking rocks and weeding the garden we would go swimming. Oh the memories, the days of feeling forced to help on the garden and now on to my own homesteading adventures. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be on a journey to growing a majority of my families food.
What is Gardening
- It is the movement of growing fruit, vegetables, flowers, and/or herbs. It can reduce stress, improve mood, reduce risks of diseases (stroke, dementia, osteoporosis), builds your immune system, and is an amazing creative outlet.
- Many people feel that It is boring and/or something you do when you get “old.” But to many peoples surprise you can grow some really cool things like black tomatoes, purple carrots, chocolate peppers, pink and purple beans, 18″ long beans, colorful and odd shaped radishes.
Tools Needed to Start a Garden
- Hose and/or Watering Can
- Garden Rake
- Spade Shovel
How to Start a Garden
Find a Place for Your Garden
Most plants need about 6 or more hours of sunlight a day so a sunny spot is the best place for your garden. Also consider water location to your garden, the closer the water source the better. Lastly animal pests if you live in a country setting or have cats it may be best to have your garden fenced in.
Creating Your Garden Space
Once you have the perfect location for your garden you will want to determine the best gardening style for you.
Choose What You Want to Grow
Make a list all the things you want to grow. Be mindful of what your family enjoys eating and grow only those things. What’s the point of growing food if your family want eat them.
Check what zone your live and be sure your list of fruits and veggies will from in your area. If you live in an area with a short growing season be sure to start crops that have a longer growing period indoors to harvest before the frost.
Start Your Seeds
Some seeds will be able to be directly sowed into the ground outside but will not. Plants such as tomatoes and peppers will need to be started indoors 4-6 weeks before your last frost date.
Preparing Your Soil
Plants thrive in nutrient rich soil so it is best to use compost in your garden. You can also test you garden soil to see what specific amendments your garden needs.
Planting Your Plants and Seeds
When you are a week or two past your last frost date you can start hardening odd your plants and direct sowing your seeds. To harden off your plants bring them outside four a few hours everyday. This will allow them to strengthen to the elements (rain, sun, and wind). If you get a sudden frost warning after you planted your crops simple cover your plants with a sheet or some row cover.
Watering Your Garden
Give your plants a good deep watering every couple of days. If the soil is dry deep water.
Tips for Success When Starting a Gardening
- No matter what style of garden you create make sure you place it in close proximity to your home because you will want to check on it often.
- Make sure you garden is close to a water source because you will have to water often.
- A garden needs lots of sunlight, at least 6 hours, to survive. Take this into consideration when placing your garden.
- Start with great soil and amend as needed each season. We add top soil, peat moss, and manure that has aged at least 6 months.
- Every area has their own hardiness zone. This will help you pick the right plants for your personal zone.
- You need to know your first and last frost dates. This will allow you to know when to direct sow (plant in ground) your spring and fall crops.
- Use mulch. This will allow your garden to retain more water requiring you to water less.
- Make sure you fertilize your plants often. This will allow your plants to grow better.
- Make sure you space your crop as the seed companies direct you too. This will allow for bigger produce yield at harvest time and will limit common plant diseases.
- Be sure to use high quality seeds. I would suggest using heirloom seeds especially if you plan on getting into seed harvesting.
- Make sure you know you plants harvest time frame so you don’t harvest to early.
- Tips for Gardening at Home
- When sowing seeds indoors make sure you have good heating pads for better germination rates and good grow lights so your seeds have the best start.
- Using cardboard in the bottom of the garden beds acts as a weed barrier, it decomposes adding more nutrients to your garden, and it attracts worms to your garden.
- When sowing seeds indoors you will have to harden off your plants before transplanting them to your garden. Hardening off is when you place your plants outside for exposure to sunlight, rain, and wind for 2-3 hours the first day. Then adding a couple of hours a day over a 7-10 day period.
Common Questions/FAQ About Starting a Gardening
- Why is gardening important for the environment?
- Plants turn carbon into oxygen, which will help with climate control.
- How does a gardener help us?
- More plants equal more oxygen and less carbon, better climate for all!
- What are the benefits of gardening?
- Healthy food, exercise, builds immune system, and reduces stress.
- Can gardening improve your health?
- Yes it reduces the risks of stroke, dementia, and osteoporosis.
- Is gardening a good exercise?
- Yes but just like any exercise make sure you do it for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Why is a kitchen garden important?
- Its important so you can easily access frequently used crops.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about How to Start a Garden
- Gardening is the movement of growing your own healthy food. It improves your health in many ways.
- Are your growing a garden?