Don’t wait until next year. Starting your first home garden is easier than you think!
Gardening is a pleasant and rewarding pastime. Whether you’re waiting for your azaleas to blossom or your tomatoes to ripen, watching nature in all her glory as you spend time in the fresh air is a great way to enjoy your backyard.
If you’re keen to start gardening but don’t have the foggiest idea of where to begin, this guide is for you. We’ll run through the basics of building, planting, and caring for your garden.
Location, Location, Location
The first thing you need to do is find the right location in your yard for your beds. Flowers and veggies need air, water, and sunlight to thrive, and your flowerbeds should offer all three components if you want the best results from your gardening efforts.
Choose a part of the garden that receives at least eight hours of sunlight during the day. Any less than this and some flowers may not bloom, and your veggies will fail to ripen. It’s important to survey the area and check the shadows as they move across the yard during the day.
Check that your garden gets full sunlight in the winter, as the path of the sun changes, and might cast shadows onto your garden.
That’s not so much of a problem in winter if you live in cold regions. However, southern gardens can get enough heat and sunlight to grow year-round, so take the seasonal positioning of the sun into account when laying out your beds.
Plan Out the Beds
After deciding on the right location for the beds, it’s time to get everything in order and plan them out. A raised bed is an attractive option, but it dries out the soil faster than a conventional bed, so bear that in mind.
Use some string and gardening stakes to plan out the bed area, and make sure that you plant your garden in beds or blocks, not single rows. Make your beds three to four feet wide so you can access them from every side.
Your beds should be eight to ten feet long. Place your plants in rows or use a grid pattern for the best results. The goal of planning the bed is to minimize the need for walking on the soil during the flowering season.
Invest in Quality Gardening Tools
Gardening is hard work if you don’t have the right tools for the job.
Investing in quality gardening tools ensures that you have everything you need on hand to plant and manage your garden. Visit an online retailer or your local gardening shop and acquire the following gardening tools.
- A garden and scuffle hoe.
- Leaf and earth rakes.
- A garden shovel and trowel.
- Assorted hand tools for planting and digging.
- Hose that covers the length of the garden.
- Garden sprinklers and hose spray heads.
We recommend you avoid purchasing plastic gardening tools as leaving them out in the sun deteriorates the plastic. Steel tools are the best choice. Look for items with powder-coating to prevent rusting of the steel.
Test the Soil
Before you think about planting your garden, it’s time to test the soil.
If the beds have soil lacking nutrients, your plants will fail to reach their full potential. That means you’ll get fewer flowers and lower yields from your veggies.
Take a soil sample to your local nursery and ask them to analyze it. The nursery will identify the key nutrients lacking in your soil and make recommendations for amendments to bring the earth to the right nutrition level for your garden.
Building the Soil
After your soil analysis, purchase the required amendments and turn them into the soil. Building the soil helps to bolster its nutrient profile for your plants, resulting in the best blooms and heavy yields in your vegetable garden.
If you’re building the beds on lawn sod, cut it into chunks and till it into the garden. If that’s not an option, lay wet newspaper on top of the grass for a few weeks to kill it, and then remove it from the bed area.
For the best results from your first growing season, we recommend completing your flowerbeds in the winter or the autumn. Lay the newspaper, strip the sod, amend the soil, and leave it to rest until the following spring.
Take Care when Planting
If you’re buying seedlings from the nursery, plant them directly into the beds, and you’re ready to grow. If you’re starting from seed, we recommend germinating indoors in seedling trays using artificial lighting, six weeks before the last frost date in your area.
After the seeds germinate, plant them into seedling trays and keep maintaining them until they are strong enough to plant into the garden. Typically, this process takes six to eight weeks, so plan for that when planting your garden.
Help Your Garden Thrive
After planting your garden, the only thing left to do is weed occasionally and water the plants. Most plant varieties require watering every other day during hot weather and at least two to three times a week during cool weather periods in the season.
To check if it’s time to water, push your index finger into the soil. If it feels dry at a depth of around 1-inch, it’s time to water. Remember, overwatering can be harmful to your plants, causing root rot. Most gardens will get by with approximately 1-inch of water per week.
Keep an eye on your plants during the growing season and look out for pests. Typically, bugs find diseased and deficient plants more attractive. If you do find pests on your plants, use a solution of diluted neem oil to spray them down.
The bugs hate the taste of the neem, and they’ll move on to your neighbors garden for lunch.
Sit Back and Enjoy the Wonder of Nature
Follow these tips to start your garden, and you’ll have a flourishing flowerbed when summer rolls around. There’s nothing like sitting on the patio on a lazy summer afternoon, watching the pollinators and birds play in the flowerbeds while you sip a cool glass of iced tea. Good luck!