The Complete Guide to Gardening for Beginners
Green thumbs are a myth; anyone can learn how to garden. Some people may have a natural talent, but everyone else can learn the proper way to take care of plants, vegetables, and flowers.
If you’re looking for a hobby to help you relax, gardening is a great option. You can spend many tranquil hours tending to a plot of land. And after a few weeks, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, literally and figuratively.
You don’t need much room to start. Learn some gardening for beginners tips to use whether you live in an apartment or a large plot of land.
Location Makes a Difference
Where you place your garden will determine much of its success. For beginners, it’s a good idea to place your garden in a place that’s not hidden.
As you work caring for plants into your routine, you’re going to need visual reminders. If they’re hidden or far away, there is a high likelihood you may forget.
The location of your garden will also determine a lot of factors such as the size, what plants you can grow, and how many. Homes with a backyard might have more room. But if you want to start slow, you might consider a windowsill planter.
Take Note of Sunlight
Plants need sunlight. No plant can grow in a completely dark room. As you consider a location, take note of how much sun the garden will receive, during what time of the day, and from which direction.
Some plants need lots of light, others not so much. The afternoon light is much stronger, and that can burn some plants’ leaves. And whether the garden is facing north, west, east, or south can determine if your garden gets indirect or direct light.
It’s important to take note of light because most plants require at least six hours of sunlight. Be sure not to plant in a shady area to allow your plants to thrive.
Keep Garden Size In Mind
The size of your garden will help you decide which plants to choose and how many. Of course, the size of your garden is ultimately determined by how much room you have available.
But don’t feel defeated if you don’t have a lot of space, and don’t feel overwhelmed if you have a large plot of land. No matter where you live, you can always find a space and a garden that works for you.
Some beginners may find that it’s easier to start with smaller gardens to get the hang of plant or vegetable gardens. But as you improve your skills and if you have the room, you may want to move to a raised garden bed or plot outside.
Good Soil, Good Base
You have to start with a good base to allow your plants to grow well. You want soil that is rich in nutrients and drains well. You also want to aerate the soil so the roots receive oxygen and don’t have root rot.
You’ll want to start with a base that reflects where you’re planting. There are plant mixes for gardens, raised beds, and pots. Each has a density and texture that’s ideal for where you’re growing.
It’s also important to note that different types of plants will need different types of soil and soil mixes. Be sure to research as you may need to create a custom soil mix.
Water Is Essential
Another gardening basic is watering. Water helps the roots of the plant get oxygen and receive nutrients. But watering is also where many novice gardeners get into trouble.
Over- and underwatering are both incredibly common mistakes beginners make. However, it doesn’t refer to how much water a plant receives, but rather how frequently. You don’t want to want too often or too seldom.
A good gardening tip is to wait until the top few inches of soil are dry before watering again. Some plants will need more or less water and the frequency of watering should change with the seasons.
Another watering tip to consider is the type of water. Many gardening enthusiasts believe in using rainwater or distilled water over tap water. Tap water can have minerals and metals that affect the health and growth rate of plants.
Learn About Fertilizer
Plants need to eat and fertilizer is how they receive their nutrients. Do some research about the right fertilizer to use for where you want to go. Fertilizers have different minerals that support different aspects of growth.
For example, nitrogen helps support leaf growth, so it’s best for houseplants. But if you want fruits and flowers, choose a fertilizer high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is also good for root growth and making seeds. For strong stems and fast growth, choose a fertilizer with potassium.
Find Out Your Zone
If you’re planning on gardening outside, it’s important to know your hardiness zone. Your zone is determined by where you live and is based on the coldest temperatures in that region.
The lowest temperature determines what kind of plants are best for where you live. Higher zone numbers have warmer climates, which usually means tropical plants will thrive better here. The hardiness zone can also tell you when to plant and harvest.
Research Potential Plants
Before jumping into growing plants, it’s important to research potential plants to purchase. As stated, the hardiness zone can help influence which types of plants are good to grow in your area.
But you should also consider whether you want to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, houseplants, or a combination. Once you’ve chosen, you’ll also want to research how to take care of the plant. This can include how much sunlight, water, and fertilizer they should receive.
Seeds or Plants?
With an idea of what plants to buy, now is the time to consider if you’re going to grow them from seeds or start with a fully grown plant. There is no wrong way to do it, but whichever you choose will determine the care your plant needs.
Seeds and seedlings typically need a little more maintenance and care than mature plants. But it can also be rewarding to grow a healthy plant from a tiny seed.
Find Out Frost Dates
Another aspect of gardening outdoors is knowing and understanding frost dates. This is especially important if you grow vegetables, as it’s important to plant and harvest at the right time.
Planting too early in the spring creates a risk of an unexpected frost killing your plants. And planting too late could mean your harvest being damaged by the frost. Find out what your area’s average frost dates are so you can have the healthiest plants possible.
Get the Right Tools
You’ll want to create the right arsenal of gardening tools to take care of your plants and vegetables. For beginners, gloves, pruning shears, hand trowels, spades, rakes, and hoes are essential tools. You’ll also want a watering can and storage for all of your supplies.
Depending on how large of an area you have to garden, you may also want to have a wheelbarrow. In general, you’ll need more supplies and often full-sized the larger of a space you’re gardening in.
Know Planting, Growing, and Harvest Cycles
No matter what you’re growing in your garden, it’s important to know when to plant them, when they’re actively growing, and when to harvest them if applicable. You can find this information during your initial research of what to plant.
Stick to this cycle as closely as possible to ensure a healthy yield for your vegetable gardening. These cycles are important for flowers as some need to be planted and bloom in different seasons.
The cycle repeats yearly, so it’s also a good idea to look ahead and prepare in advance when possible.
Label and Organize
This is especially important when you plant multiple varieties close together. Herbs can be especially tricky as many look similar and you’ll want to know what you’re harvesting.
Labeling will also help you better take care of your crops as certain vegetables or plants may have specific needs or different harvest times.
There are also some crops that have a mutually beneficial relationship, so planting them next to each other can help the two grow. Because of this, you may want to plan out and organize where you place your crops before planting.
Gardening for Beginners: Get Your Green Thumb
Even the best gardeners had to start somewhere. That person you know with a lush garden full of fresh vegetables or a yard filled with colorful wildflowers has had to learn from their mistakes. Gardening for beginners is all about learning what works and what doesn’t.
It might take some time, but you can definitely learn the proper methods and strategies to have a garden that provides you with fruits, vegetables, plants, and flowers. With this guide, you’ll soon be surrounded by greenery.
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