Gardening basics for beginners may not be quite as easy as some would think. Yes, it’s easy to start gardening, but proper care and technique takes some practice. Gardens require continual maintenance so make sure you have realistic expectations when you begin. Even seasoned gardeners have trouble sometimes, so don’t feel bad if you feel a little overwhelmed.
As with all hobbies and skills, everyone started as a novice and worked at their skills to become an expert. With that, here are five gardening basics for beginners that can help anyone be successful with their new garden:
One of the best gardening basics you can institute at home is to start small. That can mean you start with one potted plant or start with a 1 x 1 square foot plotting trough. Gardening in small quantities keeps your investment low and makes sure you give your plants enough space to grow.
One of the common pitfalls of gardening is planting items too close together or planting too many at one time. Don’t do that. Start with planting the basics and only in small quantities. Over time, you will gain an accurate analysis of your skill and how many plants you can really take care of.
Planning is also a critical step when starting a garden. Finding the right gardening tools you’ll need, planting at the right times of the year, and properly watering your plants all play a big role in how your garden does. Understanding your plants and whether or not you will need to shade them is also important. Consider a monthly and weekly to-do list to keep your garden on track.
Don’t just pick out some vegetables you want to grow and try planting. Do your research. Buzzfeed has a great graphic on when to plant and on growing zones.
There are several different types of soils. Plants grow differently depending on the type of soil you place them in. Whether you are using a pot or a planting bed, you need to consider what type of soil works best with your plant.
You need nutrient-rich soil that will help cultivate your vegetables or flowers. Look for higher pH levels in the soil as well as calcium-rich soil. Even if you do not have a rich soil base to work with, that’s okay!
Instead, look for plants that can survive in that type of soil. If you don’t consider your soil type, you are setting yourself up for failure. Like always, do your research and plan!
One of the most overlooked gardening basics is the fact that you need to root out weeds. weeds will often drain the life out of your plants, and can easily ruin your flower bed. Don’t let this happen.
Routinely clean weeds out of your plant bed. Also, don’t throw weeds into your compost pile as this will just make the weeds grow back again. You want to focus on keeping that soil nutrient-rich and weed-free. Rip weeds out by the roots.
Watering your plants will depend on a couple of factors. Mainly, you need to worry about:
First-time gardeners often over water their plants and end up killing them. Many also make the mistake of under-watering their plants. Watering at select times throughout the day (such as morning or evening) and tilling the soil can make sure your plant is getting enough water.
Remember that a flower bed is different from a potted plant and holds different amounts of water. Be very specific about water solutions. Gardena has a great guide on watering plants for beginners.
Composting is the art of pruning dead plants, leaves, and trees and putting that into your flower bed. It allows those nutrients to go into the soil and be absorbed by your plants. If you are just starting out, you can purchase compost. Over time, though, you can accumulate your own fresh compost. This is a vital gardening basics tip for anyone, as the University of Illinois puts it:
“To gardeners, compost is considered “black gold” because of its many benefits in the garden. Compost is a great material for garden soil. Adding compost to clay soils makes them easier to work and plant. In sandy soils, the addition of compost improves the water holding capacity of the soil. By adding organic matter to the soil, compost can help improve plant growth and health.”
Twigs, leaves, branches, and dinner scraps all can be used in your garden. Composting will take your garden to the next level!
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