Gardening has physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual benefits. It’s no wonder that many people have become interested in it! If you’ve never gardened before, you’re probably worried about not having a green thumb. Well, gardening experts like Gardener Gnome believe it’s not just about being a natural or having the right knowledge. It’s also about learning and growing!
Imagine getting all geared up in your gardening attire and ready to start planting. You wear your garden gloves, grab your shovel and spade, and get to work. But as a beginner, it’s essential to have the correct information before getting started. Here are five tips to get you started on your gardening journey:
Tip #1: Choose a Good Location
Think of gardening as building a house. You should always start with a good location! You might think that anywhere with soil is a good spot to plant, but there are actually many more things to consider. How do you know what a good location for gardening is?
Pick an area that you’ll regularly see when you’re at home. It may be a spot you can see through the kitchen window or porch. Seeing your garden will help you remember to water and tend to your plants.
It’s also crucial to choose an area that gets direct sunlight. Most edible plants need at least six hours of sun to survive and thrive! And lastly, your gardening area should be close to water. Having access to water makes maintenance easier for you.
You can also think about your own comfort when choosing a location. If you don’t want to go gardening in the blazing hot sun, pick a spot with plenty of shade nearby. If you want to greet your neighbors while you garden, select a site that can be easily seen from the street. Find an area that will nurture you and your plants!
Tip #2: Use Great Soil
Gardening starts with the soil you use. You can’t just dig anywhere and expect your plants to grow! Plants thrive in soil with rich organic matter, so look for nutrient-rich and well-drained soil. There is soil for planting in the ground, bed growing, and potting, so check the type of soil you need and buy the right one. You can also mix different soil types as long as they suit your plants. Good soil is essential for any gardener, beginner or otherwise, so invest in the right one.
Tip #3: Start With Easy-to-Maintain Plants
As a beginner, seeing your plants thrive is a great motivator. On the other hand, seeing them wilt can be discouraging. To help you get started, it’s best to choose plants that are easy to maintain. If you’re planting vegetables, herbs, or fruits, try the following:
- Bell Peppers
If you’re planting flowers, here are some of the best and easiest ones to grow:
- Creeping Thyme
- Creeping Sedum
- Texas Ranger
- American Beautyberry
- Meadow Sage
- Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
- Coral Honeysuckle
Once you get the hang of these, you can move on to more challenging ones. It can also help to learn about your zone, which describes the coldest place your plants can grow. You can find your hardiness zone online, in books, and on plant labels. Also, learn about your frost dates to help you decide when to plant.
Choosing the right plants can feel overwhelming, but don’t worry. Many resources can help you find the best plants for your area, gardening goals, and seasons. Gardener Gnome has lists of vegetables and flowers best for winter, spring, summer, and fall!
Tip #4: Add Some Mulch
Another essential gardening tip for beginners is adding mulch. Mulch helps your plants by keeping the soil moist, preventing weeds from growing, and reducing water evaporation. You can use organic or inorganic mulch depending on your plants and climate.
Organic mulches include bark chips, wood chips, straw, sawdust, newspaper, and grass clippings. Inorganic mulches are usually made of plastic or rubber. These will last longer than organic mulches but only help the soil a little. Mixing organic and inorganic mulches can be an excellent option for your garden!
Tip #5: Feed and Water Your Plants Regularly
Perhaps the most crucial gardening tip for beginners is to feed and water your plants regularly. Plants need regular doses of nutrients to stay healthy and robust, so make sure to give them the right amounts. You can buy fertilizers or make your own compost. Compost is rich in nutrients, so it’s great for adding to your soil.
To make your own compost, you need a 50:50 mix of nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich materials. Mix green matter, such as vegetable scraps, fruit peels, and grass clippings, with some brown matter, such as leaves, twigs, and wood chips. Add water to the pile, and turn it in every few weeks. You’ll see worms and other microorganisms in the compost, indicating that it’s ready. Over time, you’ll have a rich soil mixture that your plants will love!
Watering also plays a vital role in keeping plants healthy. Water deeply and avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot. Invest in a moisture meter or use the finger test to check if your soil needs more water.
Gardening is a rewarding and therapeutic hobby. Being out in the sun and watching plants grow can relieve stress. But, like any other activity, gardening can be overwhelming to beginners. It’s important to know that having plants wilt or die is all part of learning. If you have the patience and eagerness to learn, gardening can be the most exciting hobby you can have!
For beginners, the key is to start simple. Pick a spot that gets enough sunlight and water and use good-quality soil. Choose plants that are easy enough to maintain but challenging enough to keep you interested. Add mulch, feed your plants regularly, and enjoy watching them grow.
Don’t be discouraged if things don’t turn out perfectly the first time. Keep learning, keep trying, and happy planting!