The first step to starting a garden is to choose a suitable location. If you are planning to grow edible crops, you will need to choose an area with a minimum of 5 hours of direct sunlight every day.
Watch your yard for a few days and see where and when the sun appears. You should also consider how easily accessible your garden is.
It is a good idea to plan out your garden before you begin planting seeds. Do you want raised or sunken beds? What are you going to grow and where? Ensure each plant has a sufficient area to grow without impeding the growth of other plants.
It is a good idea to test your soil before planting anything. You will need to know whether it has a neutral, acidic, or alkaline pH. Is it silt, rocky, sandy, or clay-based soil? You should check whether there is a decent base level of nutrients and minimal soil contamination.
The ideal pH for most garden plants is around 7. There are many ways that you can test your soil including home and laboratory tests.
What should I plant for beginners?
As we have mentioned, the ideal crops to grow will vary according to your soil quality and sunlight availability. The suggestions below should grow well in almost all gardens and are not too difficult to maintain.
Some good flowers for beginners to grow include nasturtium, calendula, poppies, and sweet peas. Sunflowers, pansies, geraniums, and lavender are also other great options.
Most of these flowers will thrive with a high amount of direct sunlight. These should be sown after the risk of ground frost has passed, so often around the end of April.
Good vegetables to grow include potatoes, beetroot, salad leaves, tomatoes, peas, and radishes. Miners’ lettuce, Japanese and Chinese salad leaves, chilies, and courgettes will all also thrive in a home gardener’s beds.
When starting, we advise you to ease into it. Do not fill all of your beds at once, as this will require a lot of work and maintenance to keep in optimal condition. You would be surprised at the amount of work involved in maintaining a single garden bed.
A good number of crops to plant is about 5 for a beginner gardener. This gives you a decent level of variety, while simultaneously keeping the work levels manageable.
If you are not ready for a full-blown garden, all of the plants we have mentioned can easily be grown in containers and seed trays. This allows them to be grown inside where you can access and maintain them with ease.
What supplies do I need to start a garden?
There are many different supplies that you will need to start a garden. At a minimum, you will need soil, tools, and a few additional supplies.
The soil that you choose is very important. It creates an ecosystem that sends nutrients to your plants and helps them to grow well. You need a high soil quality for your garden to thrive. You will also need a water source.
This can be as simple as a garden hose, or watering can. Your garden must get a sufficient quantity of water to grow well/
The basic tools that you will need are a hoe, a rake, a shovel, a trowel, and gardening gloves. A garden hoe will help you to perform a technique known as tilling, which helps to prepare the soil for planting.
You can also use a hoe to remove weeds. Rakes are very useful for leveling soil, covering seeds, and clearing surface debris from the soil.
A shovel is a large spade that is used to dig up the ground. We recommend opting for one with a sharp edge instead of a flat shovel, as this is easier to use. A trowel does the same job, just on a much smaller scale. Look for one with a steel blade to assist you with planting individual crops.
Gardening gloves are a must to protect your hands. They are commonly made of lightweight cotton or a more heavy-duty material, depending on the intended use. It may be wise to invest in a kneeling pad to make weeding more comfortable.
You can also purchase some seed trays. These can be used indoors to start off new plants. When they have grown sufficiently to survive outdoors, you can transplant them.
What are the basic gardening techniques?
Some people believe that you should till your soil once or twice a year, although others believe that this causes harm to your soil quality. It is a matter of personal preference, although we recommend doing it once per year.
You should till your garden in the spring when your soil is dry and warm. To test that it is dry enough, squeeze it into a ball in your hand. If it falls apart when you poke it, the soil is sufficiently dry.
Sowing seeds is just another way to say planting. Seeds should be sown onto the level and tilled soil with no large stones. We recommend sowing seeds on dry days to avoid the soil becoming compacted.
Scatter the seeds all over the prepared area. Cover with a thin layer of soil and mark what seeds have been sown there. Lightly water the area and wait patiently for the seedlings to appear.
Weeding is absolutely vital to maintain the health of your garden. There are some weeds known as annuals, which will reappear every year. You can also get perennial weeds, such as dandelions. These weeds have a life cycle that is longer than a year and may require the use of a weed killer.
This is a process where you cut back sections of the plant to remove dead areas and to encourage growth. Pruning can also be used to control the size and shape of a plant. It is necessary to ensure the overall health of your plants.