Gardening can be intimidating for new gardeners. They may think it’s expensive, do not have enough space due to urban living, or just do not have a green thumb. We are here to explain a few ways for you to have a successful experience growing your own flowers and produce.
#1 Decide where you want your garden
There are many ways to grow a garden. The most ideal spot is where there is at least 6 hours of sunlight and well conditioned soil. You can choose to grow your garden in the ground, in a raised bed, or using container gardening. If growing in the ground, you will want to make sure you prep your soil by cultivating it and adding manure or peat moss. Mix the existing dirt with your new soil and level the dirt. You may find that using a tiller is your best option. Many hardware stores have them to rent for a few hours to keep your costs low.
The raised bed option is great for yards with hard clay soil. Many retailers sell raised bed kits, or you can make your own out of 2×4 wood or blocks. Fill the bed with top soil and manure and make sure your garden has at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
Container Gardening is great for anyone living in an apartment, a town home, or a rented house. This is also a very convenient option for quick access when cooking. All you need is a large pot with holes for drainage. You can grow almost anything in your containers, even most vegetables! For tomatoes, you will need a cage to support the plant. If you are growing vines like cucumbers, zucchini, or squash you will want to have a trellis close for them to grow on.
#2 Soil and Water
Water is the #1 most important aspect of gardening and the soil condition is the second most important aspect. If you are growing in a raised bed or container your plants will need more water and they will dry out faster than in the ground. You can tell if your plants need water by checking to see if the soil is wet or if the leaves are wilting. If you over water, wait until the soil is dry to water again.
Having light aerated soil can make a huge difference in how well your plants do. If you are planting in the ground, you will want to add manure and top soil. That is if your existing soil is very hard or has a lot of clay. You should till your garden every spring before planting for ideal soil conditions. After you have tilled your soil, it should be light and fluffy. If planting in a raised bed, top soil can be used. We do recommend that you add some manure to the mixture though. Finally, if you are planting in containers, the best option is potting soil.
#3 Caring for your plants
As described earlier, watering and soil are the most important aspect of a successful growing experience. A good rule is to water everyday. Although, you will want to make sure to check the soil first before you water, especially if it has rained recently. If it is very hot and dry, you may need to water morning and night. One more tip to watering is make sure to water the base of the plant, not the leaves. By watering the leaves you are introducing the plant to new diseases and the leaves could burn so it is always best to water as close to the soil as possible.
If you want to feed your plants, a generic fertilizer is 10-10-10. This will give the plant just enough food to stay healthy. A good time for fertilizer is once a month. Make sure to read the instructions on the label before applying to make sure you’re using the correct amount.
Now you are ready to grow beautiful gardens and show your neighbors how easy it is.