7 Tips for Starting a Brand New Garden
Has this ever happened to you? You’re reading a gardening blog or an interesting article on growing your own food. You get excited about the idea of gardening and growing edibles, but then you get discouraged because you don’t even know how to dig a garden bed.
Does your brown thumb intimidate you?
Well, you can transform that brown thumb into a green one with the following seven tips for starting a brand new garden.
7 Tips for Starting a Garden for Beginners
You may feel a little dismayed by the idea of starting a garden. Instead of looking at gardening as a black and white project, see it from the angle of a living laboratory.
You also need to look at your budget. How much can you afford with plant material, soil amendments, compost, weed, and pest controls? Do you need to take any classes or buy any books?
If you have a tight budget, then start small. The best gardeners try a small area and then grow it into a more extensive space after a year or two of gardening under their belt.
For example, you can start with seeds that aren’t expensive. Just follow the package directions regarding spacing, when to plant, and how long it takes for vegetables to ripen.
Gardening’s a learning process, not something you can pick up overnight. However, there are some hacks to get you started on successfully growing vegetables.
Here are those seven tips for starting a garden for beginners:
1. Know the purpose of your garden plot: Will you be growing only vegetables? Or will you grow a mix of flowers and vegetables? Will you be adding any herbs to your garden?
2. Find a spot on your property that gets between six to eight hours of full sun: Most, if not all, vegetables and herbs need at least six hours of full sunlight. Make sure you find an area that gets that much sun per day.
3. Measure the area where you want to dig your garden: Measure your garden plots by square feet. You can always start small with your garden and expand it as you develop more gardening skills.
4. Remove all grass from the area: If you want an arm workout, you can take a sharp spade to cut one sq. ft. at a time. Water the area to moisten the soil, dig deep, lever the soil up and out of the ground.
There are other ways of naturally removing grass, such as solarization:
Mow the grass as short as you can. Next, water the area and place a tarp down (hold it down with cement blocks, bricks, or rocks) so the temperature inside the tarp reaches 140ºF. It’ll take about a month for the grass to die at that temperature.
If you’re ready to dig your garden now, rent or buy a rototiller and make a garden without using any chemicals or having to wait until the grass dies. You’ll have a new garden plot within a few hours rather than a few months.
5. Healthy soil produces robust plants. Your garden soil should be a mix of screened topsoil and compost; you can buy these products at your local garden center or your big box store. Also, consider making your own compost to use in your garden.
6. Design your garden for optimal growth: Remember to plant taller plants in the back, moving forward with medium-sized plants, and grow smaller plants (strawberries or petunias) in the front. Otherwise, taller plants will shade smaller plants producing a smaller yield at the end of the season.
7. Know your hardiness zone: Each region of the U.S. is broken down into growing zones by the USDA based on how cold it gets in the winter and how warm it gets in the summer.
It also gives general timelines of when the first and last frosts occur each year. Here’s an in-depth article on hardiness zones.
How to Start a Vegetable Garden with These 4 Hacks
If you want to try your hand at growing vegetables, learn what vegetables grow best in your hardiness zone. Here are four hacks to get you started with developing a vegetable garden:1. How will you sow? Will you be growing vegetables with seeds or starter plants? Seed packets have all of the information you need to produce a particular plant on the back of the pack.
If you plant starter plants, make sure to dig a hole two times the size of the plant and as deep as the container it is in.
2. Know the soil temperature: Don’t plant tender plants or seeds until after the last frost. Again, refer to your hardiness zone and keep an eye on the weather. For example, south central Pennsylvania is in Zone 6a, meaning that it’s safe to start planting after Mother’s Day.
3. Reduce the number of weeds: If you’re going to garden, accept the fact that you’ll have to weed—regularly. It’s a fact of life. Learn to identify the weeds growing in your garden and reduce the number of weeds when you add mulch.
In the form of bark, pine straw, or wood chips, mulch regulates soil temperature, protects your plants’ roots, holds in moisture, and adds some nutrition while reducing the number of weeds you need to pull every week.
4. What will you do about garden pests? Woodchucks, rabbits, and deer love to feed on people’s gardens. You can buy repellent, put up fencing, and plant deer-resistant plants to keep these pests away.
Don’t Forget to Water Your Garden
When it comes to irrigating your vegetable garden, you can make some mistakes. So here are five quick tips to help you water your vegetable garden:1. Water in the early morning; not late at night
2. Water deeply at timed intervals
3. Water at the root level; not on the leaves
4. Use handy irrigation tools, such as driplines and soaker hoses
Don’t forget to mulch.
If you can swing it, you should invest in K-Rain Sprinkler Solutions. K-Rain’s dripline and tree bubblers deliver the right amount of water at the right time to the root zone of your vegetable and landscape plants.
If you have any questions about your K-Rain driplines or tree bubblers, call our customer service at 800-735-7246 or fill out our contact form.
HGTV.com, “The Proper Way to Water Your Garden.”
TheSpruce.com, “9 Things to Know about Starting a Garden from Scratch.”