13 Helpful Gardening Tips for Beginners

Gotta make that garden grow! A 2021 survey from the National Gardening Association revealed that 18.3 million Americans tried out gardening for the first time. 

Yet many gardeners do not garden for too long. They find gardening trickier than they expected or too time-consuming. If you want to try out gardening, you should acquaint yourself with some gardening tips so you save yourself time and money. 

What plants should you put in your garden? What tools should you get to take care of your plants? How can you know when it’s time to take your plants from the soil?

Answer these questions and you can master home gardening in no time. Here are 13 easy gardening tips.

1. Research the Plants You Want

Many people get ambitious with their gardening ideas and try to grow as many plants as possible. This can make your garden impossible to manage, especially if you are new to home gardening. 

Pick a few plants that are related to each other and that you want in your garden. They can be flowers or vegetables, as long as they can grow in your soil. If you don’t know what you want to grow, you can ask your neighbors or local farms what they grow. 

2. Select the Perfect Location

You can have an interior or exterior garden. The key is that you have a lot of room and access to sunlight, water, and fresh air. Some vegetables need access to sunlight for several hours a day while other plants need to grow in partial shade. 

Create a plan for your garden and figure out where the sunlight is. You can leave a camera in your yard and take photographs or videos of the sun, seeing where it moves and how the sunlight changes. 

Wherever your garden is, it should be close to your house. You should be able to walk through it without stumbling or stepping on plants. 

3. Develop a Watering System

Many amateur gardeners get exhausted by hauling buckets of water to and from their gardens. It’s a lot easier to tend to your garden when you have a drip irrigation system or a few garden hoses.

Sprinklers in your garden can help, but most sprinklers are designed for grass, not flowers and vegetables. Talk to a sprinkler installer who can help you with a garden system. 

You should also keep track of when you water your plants. Underwatering and overwatering can cause your plants to die, and some plants need more water than others. Create a chart or calendar for yourself so you know when to water and how much water you need to provide.

4. Change Your Soil

Before you start to grow vegetables and flowers, you should test your soil. It may have minerals or toxins in it that make it hard to grow your plants. 

Even if your soil is healthy, you may need to add nutrients to it. Compost and dried manure can help your plants grow and allow rainwater to drain away from the roots. Leaf mold can also be healthy, but make sure the leaves are old, as new leaves can impede your plant’s access to sunlight.

5. Create Compost

Some gardening stores offer compost, but you can save money by making your own. Compost is best when it is a mixture of nitrogen and carbon. Green plants like grass and vegetables produce nitrogen while brown materials like cardboard make carbon. 

Mix buckets of both together in a container that stands directly on a patch of soil. You want microorganisms in your soil to crawl into your compost and help break it down. Use a garden fork to aerate the composting materials and let them break down until the mixture is brown and crumbly.

6. Buy Home Gardening Tools

You need additional tools besides a compost bin and garden fork. A raised garden bed can keep certain plants off the ground, preventing frost from damaging them. It’s also a good tool if your soil will not support your plants for long. 

To move items around your garden, you should have at least one wheelbarrow and garden cart. You also need to get shears, but you must get ones that are specifically for your plants. Hedge shears may be too bulky or sharp to prune your flowers or grass. 

7. Set a Schedule for Gardening

Before you put your plants in, you need to research when their growing seasons are and when your plants will mature. Never put flowers in the ground until the last frost date of the spring has passed. You may be able to grow certain herbs during the winter, but check to see how you should do so.

Keep in mind that some plants like broccoli and cabbage do well when they are grown indoors and then moved outdoors. Talk to a gardener in your area about when you should move your plants outside.

8. Figure Out How to Plant

The final preparation you need to make before you garden is to figure out how to insert your plants into the ground. You need to prepare the soil in advance and clear a space for you to put your seeds in the ground.

You must give your seed balls a moderate amount of space. Inserting them in shallow soil will cause them to dry out while inserting them too deep can kill the roots. Feel the soil with your fingertips as you are digging and stop when the soil feels moist but not too wet or dry.

9. Prune Your Plants

Pruning plants can be difficult, but it can help your plants grow well and produce vibrant flowers and fruits. Prioritize pruning during the spring and summer, as your plants are actively growing and may bump into each other. 

Focus on pruning a small amount at a time. If you cut into your plant’s trunk or stem, you risk exposing the area to pests. Pull away any dead or dying leaves with your fingertips or the tip of your shears. 

10. Be Respectful of Wildlife

Animals and insects can help you grow flowers and vegetables alike. Birds can eat harmful pests for you while bees can spread pollen between plants. 

Do not use pesticides to kill insects in your garden. If you’re worried about insects getting into your house, you should seal your doors and windows and move your compost pile away. Feel free to use fountains and bird baths to attract birds to your garden, but change the water out so you don’t attract mosquitoes.

11. Be Mindful of Pests

Though you should allow birds and a few insects to enter your garden, you should not allow rodents, snails, and slugs into your garden. Set up a fence around the garden to make it harder for these pests to crawl inside. 

Put copper rings and other barriers around your plants. You can buy copper rings from a hardware store, or you can make your own by cutting sheets of copper. Do not embed these materials in the ground, as they can harm roots or cut off access to water and sunlight.

12. Harvest at the Right Time

Most guides to gardening will give ranges for when your plants will become mature. Do not focus on the time and focus instead on how the plants look and whether the roots are healthy. Most plants are ready for harvest when their heads or flowers are pushing through the soil or starting to open up. 

Take photographs of your plants with time stamps so you know how they are developing. Once you’ve harvested your plants, move them inside and prepare them. The weather or pests in your garden can damage them if you let them stay outside.

13. Grow Your Garden Gradually

It is okay if you mistime harvesting or if some of your plants die. You can put overripe plants in your compost bin, or you can let them break down and spread their nutrients and seeds into the soil.

You do not have to fill in all of the space in your garden. After a year of gardening, you can add new plants and fill in gaps between your installations. But don’t take on more than you can handle. 

Study Gardening Tips

Gardening tips can turn your backyard into an oasis. Research your plants, soil, and water resources. Create a plan for where you will put your plants, then get tools like wheelbarrows that make transportation easy. 

Water your plants and add nutrients to the soil on a regular basis. Let in helpful pests, but keep harmful ones out with physical barriers around your garden and plants. Do not overextend yourself, and leave extra space in your garden for everything to grow. 

These tips are just the first steps in gardening. Read more gardening guides by following our coverage.

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