Are you someone who refuses to buy plants because you’re afraid that you’ll just end up killing them? Well, the good news for those of you who weren’t necessarily born with a green thumb is that gardening is a lot easier than you probably think (as long as you know some gardening basics). So, whether you’re a first-time gardener or someone who hasn’t had much luck growing your garden in the past, we’ve got you covered with eight simple gardening tips.
Know What To Grow
While there are quite a few things that you need to know about growing a successful garden, it’s important to start right at the very beginning. So, before you go out and buy a bunch of plants or seeds, you first have to know what you can grow based upon where you live. Luckily, this Planting Calendar for Vegetables, Flowers, Herbs, and Fruit, which is designed to calculate the best time to start seeds and plant a garden, is here to do most of the work for you.
All you have to do is enter your zip code to find your planting zone. Then a list of flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables that you can grow in your zone will come up. Take a look at your options and then decide what you’d like to add to your garden. Once you pick what you’d like to grow, you’ll then see when you should plant your flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables, as well as when you should harvest your crops.
Some Of The Easiest Flowers, Fruits, Herbs, and Vegetables To Grow
While a variety of flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables will probably come up based upon your planting zone, some will be easier to care for and grow than others. In general, marigolds, zinnias, pansies, impatiens, and snapdragons are some of the easiest-to-grow, low-maintenance flowers, while strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, figs, and citrus fruits like limes, lemons, and oranges are some of the easiest fruits to grow as they don’t require a whole lot of maintenance.
For those of you who are planning to make your own vegetable garden, lettuce, green beans, radishes, tomatoes, swiss chard, zucchini, beets, and carrots are relatively easy vegetables to grow. And some of the easiest herbs to grow in your herb garden are basil, thyme, oregano, mint, sage, rosemary, and cilantro. You can also add flowers like marigolds to your vegetable garden in order to discourage pests, attract pollinators, and also to add some color to your garden.
Pick The Right Location For Your Garden
Do your plants require direct sunlight? Or do they prefer shade? As soon as you know what you want to grow, then you need to locate the spot in your yard that will be best for your garden.
For example, if you’re growing vegetables, picking a good location for your vegetable garden is going to be crucial. That’s because most vegetables need six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Therefore, in order to successfully grow your veggies, you’ll want to place your vegetable garden in a sunny spot. You’ll also want to pick an area that drains water well, has nutrient-rich soil, and is stable, without a lot of wind.
It’s also a good idea to plant any new garden near a water source. This way you can run a hose to your garden site, rather than having to carry water back and forth to your plants whenever they’re thirsty.
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Test Your Soil
Gardening is somewhat similar to painting your home in the sense that the difference between success and failure comes down to the amount of time that you put into properly prepping the job. So, while you might want to start planting as soon as you find the perfect spot, make sure to go the extra step and test your soil before you plant any seeds in the ground.
You can either send your soil to a lab or use an at-home test kit in order to make sure that your soil is healthy enough to foster plants. And don’t get discouraged if your test yields bad results, it just means that you’ll have to correct the deficiencies before you plant anything. Then once your soil is good to go, you can be confident that anything you plant will be ready for harvesting when the time comes.
Decide On An Appropriate Garden Size
Once you know what you want to grow, where you want to grow it, and that your soil is healthy, take some time to decide how big or small you’d like your garden to be. “One of the most common errors that beginners make is planting too much too soon – way more than anybody could ever eat or want!” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Therefore, it’s usually a good idea to start small at first, and only grow what you and your family know you will eat.
And if you don’t have a lot of space for your garden, you might want to consider container gardening, or growing your plants in pots. Just make sure to use pots that are large enough for the vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruit trees, berries, and shrubs that they’re hosting in your container garden.
Use High-Quality Seeds (Or Seed Starter Kits)
While seed packets are less expensive than individual plants, it’s still important to purchase high-quality seeds. After all, you want to make sure that your seeds germinate. An almost guaranteed way of getting your plant to sprout is by using a seed starter kit. These trays provide perfect conditions for your crop to germinate, allowing you to begin the growing process inside when it’s still too early to plant outside. And whenever you do plant your seeds, it’s always a good idea to label exactly what they are. Also, make sure to note the location where you planted your seeds so you don’t forget.
Take Care Of Your Plants Throughout The Growing Season (And Be Patient!)
If you’re going to spend the time and money to create your healthy garden, it’s also important to make sure that you’ll be available throughout the growing season to take care of your plants. If you know that you’re going to be traveling a lot in the summer and will rarely be around, then it’s probably not the best idea to plant tomatoes or zucchinis since they typically grow strongest in the middle of summer. Unless, of course, you have family members, friends, or neighbors who are willing to help you take care of your plants whenever you’re not there to do it yourself. And remember, growing plants takes time. So, it’s important for you to remain patient while you get your garden up and running.
Health Benefits Of Gardening
If you’re still on the fence as to whether or not you want to commit to the hobby and create your own garden, there are also a number of secret health benefits of gardening. In fact, gardening has been found to increase your exposure to vitamin D, boost your mood, help to combat loneliness, and the weight-bearing exercise of gardening is good for your bones and heart. So, get outside and go start your very own garden today.