Gardening for Beginners

Gardening is a rewarding pastime for several reasons. It offers fresh food for the table, it can lower blood pressure and relieve stress, and spending time outside is overall good for the body and mental state. Even an utter beginner can enjoy the yields of a successful garden by following these tips.

Siting the Garden

Just like in real estate, beginning a garden is largely about location. Place your garden in the yard where it will be regularly visible. Not only will this allow you to spot problems as they occur, but it will remind you of the work that needs to be performed. It is easy to neglect a garden that is largely out of sight.

Follow the Sun

A common pitfall for beginning gardeners is misjudging sunlight. Notice the way sunlight plays through the yard before choosing your site. Most edible plants require a minimum of six hours of sunlight to thrive. Some greens, root vegetables, and herbs will grow in partial shade. Know your plants and your yard.

Plan Ahead for Water Use

When siting the garden, keep a water source in mind. Make sure you are able to run a hose to the site of the garden. Lugging water to the garden plot whenever the plants require a little help will grow tedious quickly. Remember that the best way to tell if plants need that help in watering is to insert a finger knuckle-deep into the soil. Dry soil means it is watering time.

Soil is a Starting Point

First, know your soil. Is it acidic, neutral, or alkaline pH? Is it clay, sand, silt, rocks, or a blend of the four? Also, when beginning a garden, make an investment in soil that has good drainage and is rich in nutrients. You can achieve this ideal blend by mixing a few inches of purchased garden soil meant for the purpose into the top six to eight inches of present soil.

Invest in Basic Tools

The proper tools make garden work a pleasure rather than a chore. Do not use dull or flimsy items for garden work. The basic equipment includes a garden hoe, a dirt rake, a scuffle hoe, a leaf rake, a garden or D handle shovel, and hand tools. Use real metal tools, not cheap plastic, and select the right size for you so that you reduce the possibility of injury. Keep tools sharp and clean.

Know Your Zone

The hardiness zone refers to the coldest regions in which a plant can grow. When the zone has a higher number, the climate is warmer. For example, you may be in zone 5 and a plant may be hardy through zone 4. This means the plant will be fine in your yard. Zone 3, however, will be too cold for that plant.

Create a Plan

Research your plants before planning the garden. Know precisely how big they are expected to grow so that you can space them accordingly. You can plan to make sure there is a steady stream of vegetables by selecting plants that grow at different speeds. Know your spacing and requirements so that you can create a thorough, logical plan.

Create a Calendar

A calendar will help keep track of the major gardening jobs for each season and month. In the spring, begin fertilizing all plants. Repeat this at six-to-eight week periods throughout the season of growing. The summer is generally too hot to plant. Fall is good for pruning and adding new plants. Early spring is also a good time for adding new plants.

Water with Care

An ample and consistent amount of water is important for plant health. Do it on a regular basis and provide enough water, which varies between plants. Do not just add water to the surface, but be sure it penetrates the soil. Newer plants require more frequent watering as their root systems are not yet completely developed. Early morning is best for watering.

Beginning to garden can seem like a daunting task, but following some basic tips will make the project simple and fun. Gardening is rewarding for all ages. It encourages healthier eating, gets you outside and active, and is good for the environment.

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