Not everyone is born with a green thumb. However, with a little bit of knowledge and a bunch of persistence, anyone can learn to be a gardener. Whether you live in cooler Northern climates or warmer Southern ones, these tips for beginner gardeners are sure to help out. Once you have these things under your belt, you are ready to grab a trowel, dig in the dirt and get growing. Many of these tips are geared towards growing a vegetable garden, however, nearly all of them can apply to flower gardens as well. Now, let’s get started!
Tips for beginner gardeners
Know your grow zone
Grow zones, also referred to as hardiness zones, determine several things. They tell you how long your growing season is, which in turn will determine whether you can have multiple gardens in a single year or just one. This will also tell you when to plant and when to harvest. Additionally, it will let you know the general temperature and precipitation ranges for your area. This knowledge will then lead to knowing what plants will do well in your zone and which will be more of a challenge. There are a number of sites out there that will tell you what your grow zone is, such as the Old Farmer’s Almanac or Wikipedia.
It’s great that you eventually want a large garden. However, you should always start small. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when first starting out. Start with a few pots or even a small raised bed. Once you have mastered that, then it will be time to expand. People often underestimate how much work a garden is. Thus, they dive into a large one and soon have no desire to do it anymore. This leads to wasted money and time.
Grow only what you will eat
It’s great that you can grow an eggplant, but if it’s not something that you will eat then it’s a waste. The exception to this is if you are growing these plants for friends or family. If that’s the case, then go for it! However, if you are growing something just to grow it, then you probably need to rethink your garden project. Focusing on these plants that you enjoy eating will, in turn, make gardening more enjoyable. There is nothing better than the anticipation of that first tomato of the year or your first harvest of peas.
This may seem counter-intuitive to the whole start small point. However, there is a reason behind it. Loss happens. A garden can get hit by diseases or pests. Having one of two extra plants can sometimes mean the difference between getting a harvest or not. So grow two pepper plants instead of one. If they do well, then you will get plenty of pepper, which is always a good thing. But should one fall to disease, then you have a second one to takes its place. It’s basically gardeners insurance.
Make it South facing
Ideally, you want your garden to be South facing. This will maximize the amount of sunlight that that garden gets. The more sunlight, the better the garden will grow. Now, this is not always possible. Depending on how your house is situated, you may not be able to take advantage of all that sunlight. Not to worry. If you pay close attention to your yard throughout the day, you will be able to see the areas that get the most sunlight. If at all possible, put your garden there.
This may seem like an odd thing to say. However, even the most skilled gardeners experience failure. A season can be too hot, dry or just an off year. It happens. So don’t give up just because your pepper plant bit the bullet before it did anything. Gardening is a yearly challenge and no two growing seasons will be the same. As you gain experience and knowledge, you may be able to catch signs of incoming disease or notice that you need to water more. Just accept that not every plant will survive or that not every harvest will be amazing. No matter how much or how little you get from your garden, it will still be a success.