How to start a Garden

How To Start A Garden

November 13, 2015 by Adam

How to begin gardening can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. But with just a few things to keep in mind it can become a very enjoyable experience. Whether you are starting a garden for enjoyment, as a food source, or for relaxation this how-to guide should give you a good starting point from which to continue. This is how to start a garden for beginners.

    Where to Place Your Garden and What to Plant in a Garden

The place you put your garden can make it or break it. It does depend on what kind of plants you will be planting. Therefore keeping that in mind is very important. Vegetables are very popular to plant in a starter garden. If you are planning on planting vegetables then make sure you place the garden in an area that gets a lot of sun. Most vegetables need at least a good eight hours of sunlight during the day. As for flowers there are a few flowers that can bloom without eight hours of sun a day but make sure you have chosen the correct ones if your garden has some shade. Whatever you are planting it is best not to plant too near a tree since the tree can take away some of the nutrients from your garden plants. Your rows of plants should be going north to south to get the most sun.

    Labeling Your Plants

When you first are starting a garden from seeds or small seedlings make sure you either remember or write down where you put each type of plant or label them so you know where every plant is. Especially if you have plants that have different needs it's a good idea to label them so you know where one begins and another ends. An easy, cheap way to label is to use a plastic fork beside the plant and tape a piece of paper to the fork. The paper may get wet so use tape all over the paper to make it waterproof.

    Protecting your Garden

You may also want to think about putting up a fence. A fence will keep away unwanted wild animals and pets from your garden. It's never fun to come home to find your garden eaten by a rabbit. Plus a fence also adds a certain charm to a little garden. If you do not put up a fence make sure the garden is protected in another way or you may have uninvited guests to dine on your plants. Some people have used forks spaced evenly around the garden to keep cats from using it as a litter box.

    Gardening Tools

There are a few simple gardening tools that you will need when you first start out. A wheelbarrow or bucket is needed to move soil and plants . A hose to water your garden and clean up any messes. A hoe is good for tilling the earth. A garden spade is used for digging holes to put your plants in. And lastly a garden fork to help pull up weeds and till the soil.

    Frost

The worst thing that can happen is having a thriving garden that suddenly dies because of frost. Check for frost dates in your area of the country. There are ways to protect your garden from frost but honestly the simplest way to prevent dying plants is to plant before the frost and make sure your vegetables are harvested before winter. One way to protect your budding garden is to put rain covers over your plants. A row cover is a lightweight sheet of plastic.

    Soil

Soil is one of the most important things to starting a garden. If the soil is too sandy or clay-like the plants will have a difficult time growing. Checking the PH level of your soil can illuminate what you will need to get to the correct PH balance. There are many devices or test strips that can show you what your soil PH is. Most soils will need some sort of compost or fertilizer. A few choices for compost are composted manure, leaf mould, or both. Put your fertilizer out a few weeks before planting so the soil is ready by the time you plant. Again it is good to research about your intended plants before you start your garden. Some plants like more moist soil and some like it drier.

    Water

Water is also imperative to your plants. Just like humans plants need water to survive. Too much water though can kill your plants and too little water will also destroy them. Tap water is not good for your plants just like it isn't good for humans. There are many chemicals in tap water that will harm your plants and possibly kill them. Either use filtered water from the tap or leave tap water sit out overnight so some chemicals will evaporate. Distilled water is a great choice if you have hard water and don't want to filter it or are concerned filtering isn't good enough. You can also save and collect rainwater and use that to water your garden. Just keep a small bucket outside and after it rains cover the bucket so nothing contaminates the water.

    Pests

Pests are a gardeners worst enemy. But they don't have to be. Some bugs are good for you plants. Bees are good for pollination. Worms are excellent for your soil. Damsel bugs are great for eating aphids and caterpillars. On the other hand there are quite a few bugs that can easily destroy and eat your plants and obliterate your hard work. If you have grubs there is a natural cure in milky spore granules. For fungal infections use a mix of two tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of water. Put this mixture into a spray bottle and spray plants lightly. For organic gardening there are many natural ways to make pesticides. But there are many chemical pesticides too if you choose that route.

    Companion Gardening

Companion gardening is another way to improve your plant habitat. This type of gardening is good for pollination, controlling pests and even maximizing your area to garden. Basically you plant varieties of plants that have beneficial properties to your goal. So if you want to control mosquitoes then plant marigolds which mosquitoes don't like the smell of. There are a lot of different combinations depending on your needs.

    Ornamental Gardening

Ornamental gardening is all about getting beautiful looking plants that are a joy to watch and smell. To begin with, pick a few plants you love. Then start looking at pictures online of all different gardens with those plants in them. See which other flowers and plants look good next to your favorites. Think of the space you are filling, the look of your house and start to imagine what the plants you want to get will look like there.

    What Size To Make Your Garden

A good-size garden is about four feet by four feet. If you have more room and the time required to tend to it then go ahead and use all the space you can. A plot 16x10 feet can feed a family of four for one summer! You will also have a little extra that can be used for canning, freezing, or gifting if they are vegetables. But most people like a smaller garden to start with at first. You can always add to it later if you choose to.

    Container Gardening

Some people may not have enough space for an actual garden. There is a large part of the populace that live in apartments or communities without a backyard or even any yard at all. There are easy ways to garden without that. One way is a container garden. It's the same process but the plants are in containers on a balcony or porch. Some prefer this method even if they have a yard because you don't have to change your soil PH and know exactly how much water your plant is getting.

    Mistakes

Mistakes and issues will happen. Every gardener has made a mistake or done something wrong. Don't get discouraged if at first things look bad. Sometimes you have to make an error to figure out what not to do next time. Plants all have different needs and sometimes you get a plant that is weak and no matter what you do won't thrive. It really is about the journey when you garden. Take it in stride and continue on this wonderful nature adventure. Nature is amazing so let the beauty and journey to making your own garden begin!