Planting a garden always sounds like a something out of a fairytale these days. As a home owner planting that first garden can seem overwhelming with all the information, types of seeds, what to plant, where to plant, size of garden, how much water and fertilizer you need, soil vs. dirt. The list is endless and goes on and on. We are here to help combat those fears of where to start and to make the beginning process go easier and smoother for a great year of gardening.
What To Plant And How Much Space Will I Need?
First time gardeners get really excited and will usually over determine how much they need. Think about how much your family will eat for the season, you don’t want to be eating the zucchini you grew this year into 2018. Another great tip is to figure out how big you want your garden space to be. If you make it too big in the beginning, then it may become overwhelming for you to handle, and may just leave you in the dust. Also for those in big cities a yard may be out of the question but you can still have your own garden in containers or hang a bunch of gutters together and put it along a wall or your balcony. Knowing you can grow a garden anywhere is the first step.
Pick The Right Spot.
Now that it’s time to actually get your hands dirty and pick the right spot to have your garden. Look for where you have the most sun, where you get shade, where a great spot for water is, and how to get soil instead of all that dirt. Most home gardens will pick a spot closer to their house for ease of cooking and have produce at the ready when grilling in your barbeque out back.
How To Deal With Pesky Bugs And Unwelcome Animals.
Fences will help animals stay out of your garden, but when it comes to pesky bugs that in another story. When plants are young row covers (lightweight clear plastic) will help guards your plants and also prevent damage when light frosts arise. Combat fungal disease by watering your soil not the plant itself. If using a sprinkling system make sure not to do it in the warm hot sun as it will wilt and kill your plants. Early morning watering also helps to have your plants dry by nighttime so they don’t freeze.
Digging And Testing Your Soil.
We love our homes cool in the summer and warm in the fall. Plants need the same kind of treatment. If they don’t like the PH of the soil or there is not a proper drainage system… That is like not having a bathroom inside your house. Preposterous! Plants need the perfect housing environment so to speak, just like we have those housing needs. A great tip for your soil is to pick some up form it into a ball in your hand. If it stays put it is more clay based and to hard for plants to thrive. If it falls apart at the slightest touch, then it is most likely to sandy. But if it but if it breaks into crumbs when you poke it, like a chocolate cake then you have ideal soil. When digging your garden beds make sure to always loosen your soil up when getting ready to plant. Use a good old shovel or use a tiller. Once you have your soil good and loose, work compost into the soil. Once done don’t step on it as you will be wasting all your time on what you have just accomplished. Using a rake smooth out your garden bed, and water it thoroughly. Then take a few days to let your bed rest before planting anything.
How Many Varieties Can There Really Be?
When getting ready to plant you may be surprised with all the varieties of vegetables there truly are. Tomato plants are not just tomatoes, you have Heirloom, Cherry, Beefsteak, Better Boy, Roma, and the list can keep going. If there are this many types of tomato varieties, think about all the different options you really have in the world of gardening. Look at catalogs, read the tags on what they say, read the seed packets. See what they will produce how much time and attention they will need. Look at what will grow best in your geographical area.
The Proper Care And Nourishment Of Your Garden.
Your Plants love water but too much will make them sick or die. How much water is too much? Plants need about an inch of water a week if not a little more. Water when the top of your soil is dry. If you have them in raised beds they may need to be watered every other day. When growing your crops in the ground that may be once or twice a week. Weeds are a common enemy that will test our patience. It will never seem to end. Weeds want to take away nutrients from your garden. Try and remove them or at least keep them at bay. Try using a hoe or hand fork to stroke the top inch of soil regularly to discourage weed seedlings from appearing also try using mulch, clean straw, newspaper, or compost. This can help make those pesky weeds find another place to reside.
When it is all said and done pat yourself on the back for the plethora of vegetables you will have in your garden this year. If it didn’t go as well, just regroup how you can do better and realize that it takes a good three years to get a great fully running garden. It just takes some time. But most importantly remember to have fun.
Images from Better Homes & Gardens