How do you start a garden as a beginner?
Starting a garden as an absolute beginner can be a daunting task as when it comes to gardening, there is so much to take into consideration. However, to be able to start a garden, grow whatever you want, and benefit from your hard work, is one of the many delights of life. Gardening brings so many benefits to your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. And hard work is very gratifying.
But if you have no idea where to start or how to plan your garden, do not threat. Follow our beginners guide to gardening, take each step at a time, and you will be out in your garden, creating, designing, planting, and maintaining in no time!
It is recommended that you start out small with easy-to-grow plants, and then each year work your way up, gaining more knowledge and experience all the time and eventually becoming an expert gardener!
What should I grow in my garden?
Whether you want to grow vegetables, flowers, herbs, fruits, bushes, trees, or even the whole shebang, it is important that your plan exactly what you want to grow and where you want to grow it. Also, depending on where you live, it may not be possible to grow certain types of plants due to climate, so this is another thing to take into consideration. Many just want to get to digging and mulching and planting, but do not underestimate the planning process, as it can save you much future frustration and angst.
So, step one, make a list of everything you would want to grow in your garden. Chose your favourite fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you enjoy eating the most. It is such a pleasure to be able to use the produce you have grown with your own hands in your own garden, it gives you a real sense of satisfaction. Another important step in growing your garden, is not only what and where to plant, but also when. Planting is often done in spring and summer months, but this varies from plant to plant, so do your homework! Research the common temperatures for the seasons where you live and the optimum temperature for the plants your plan to grow.
Depending on the size of your garden, certain crops, when fully matured, will take up quite a substantial area, such as pumpkins, watermelons, tomatoes, potatoes. Of course, these can be contained at a certain size, but it’s just something to take into consideration. Some people also like to plan whether to grow produce for the sake of eating fresh or storing for later use.
Where should I plant my garden?
Step two, planning the location for your greenery. This is a very important step that should not be overlooked as most plants need a good few hours of sunlight everyday to photosynthesis and make your green goodies, so chose or create a space that gets regular sunlight everyday (preferably at least 5 hours) and you can start preparing your area.
If you decide on also growing root vegetables, herbs, and greens, these may not need as much sunlight, but this doesn’t mean planting them in the shadiest part of your garden.
Devise and give careful consideration as to where each of your plants will be situated and where they will grow. Many find it useful drawing out a garden with the correct measurements, you don’t have to go crazy shading the tomatoes and colouring in the raspberries, just make a simple, easy to follow plan and enjoy the results of your diligent efforts. In your plan give thought to easy access to each of your plants so that you can water, weed, and care for them. Also, in the mornings, see where frost is likely to settle, and during the day, which parts are most windy, and avoid those areas.
You also need to take pests into consideration. From dogs digging holes, cats doing their business, snails munching on your precious veggies, and especially in more rural areas where the occasional rabbit or deer visits, your plants will need protecting!
You don’t have to have a giant garden to grow your needed veg. Even the smallest of gardens can provide a bountiful harvest.
How do I prepare my garden beds?
Now that you know what you’re planting, when, and where, it’s time to focus on the how. Step three is all about preparing your garden beds. A popular choice for growing plants, are raised beds. Usually made from 4 pieces of planks of wood nailed together and fixed to the ground, even the simplest of minds can construct raised beds (aka- me). You need to figure out how tall you want them, how wide, and how long. Many use rectangular raised beds, as you can access them from all sides. However, if you’re in a dryer area, your best bet is to use ground level beds, as these will be more likely to retain moisture.
When drawing out your plan, your objective is to make the best use of your space so that you get as much growing area as possible. A grid design is commonly used as it is straightforward and effective. Some plants do well as neighbours, attracting the good kind of bugs that benefit your plants, so make sure you don’t randomly plant. Also, some plants will grow much taller than others, and it positioned wrong, may begin to block out sunlight for the smaller guys, so make sure you put your tall plants at the back and your shorter ones at the front.
When planting, keep in mind that as your tiny seedlings grow, they will begin to take up space both underground with their roots and also aboveground with their foliage, so don’t plant your rows too close, and restrict their growth, as overcrowding can causes trouble. Instead of focusing on quantity, focus on the quality of each plant, giving it the care and attention it individually deserves.