A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Garden

Starting a Garden

Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by

Did you know that 77% of American households garden? What’s more amazing is that even before the pandemic, an increasing amount of under 35s were picking up this hobby too! Starting a Garden

Maybe you’ve found yourself bored, especially when you have to quarantine. Why not pick up this hobby yourself, especially if you have a neglected piece of your yard to dedicate to it?

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, then you’re in the right place. Here’s a beginner’s guide on how to start a garden so you enjoy some lush greenery!

Do Some Research First

Before you run out and start buying gardening tools, plants, soil, fertilizer, etc., you need to first do some research! Otherwise, you might make some very costly mistakes.

Here are some things you need to find out before you start your garden.

Climate Zone

The US is a huge country, so it makes sense that it’s been divided into several climate zones. Otherwise, if you live in California and tried to take advice about planting a garden in Ohio, it just wouldn’t work!

There are a total of 13 climate zones in the US. All you have to do is go to the USDA’s website, type in your zip code, and you’ll find out which climate zone you’re in!

From there, you can read about frost dates, as well as the plants that do well in that zone. For example, you can plant fruits and vegetables at the right times to get good yields!

The Season’s Plants

While you’re browsing the USDA’s climate zone page, you should note down what you can currently grow. Even if you don’t feel like you’re all that interested in some of the plants, it wouldn’t hurt to jot them down anyway.

By having this list handy, you’ll have a better time deciding what to grow. And if you change your mind, or you find that you have more space than you thought, you can easily pick another few plants from the list!

Get Your Gardening Tools

Next, you should get some basic gardening tools. Here are some things you should start off with:

  • Gardening gloves
  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Pruning saw
  • Rake

These should be enough to start with until you get more into gardening and can consider more tools to add to your collection.

Test Your Soil

This step is important because if your soil quality isn’t good, it’ll be hard to grow plants. Not to mention, if there are toxic substances in it, you’ll be poisoned if you grow fruits and veggies!

You can easily request a soil test through your local USDA cooperative extension service office. This kit will tell you about the composition of your soil, such as the amounts of:

  • Sand
  • Clay
  • Silt
  • Organic matter

You’ll also learn if there are any nutrient deficiencies, as well as what the pH of your soil is. Based on the test results, you’ll also get recommendations on how to fix these things.

Make Your Garden

If you don’t already have a garden, then you’ll have to make one! Or maybe you do have one but it’s completely overgrown and/or filled with dead vegetation.

In any case, you’ll want to clear the soil of everything that’s there. You can pull the weeds by hand; just make sure you have some gloves on. You need to get the roots because otherwise, they’ll regrow.

Put a layer of compost on top for better nutrients.

Purchase Your Plants

While shopping for your gardening tools, bring the list you’ve created earlier. When you go to a landscape garden center, you’ll be able to check out what they have in stock.

When it comes to gardening for beginners, it’s best to start with transplant seedlings. You might want to grow your plants all the way from the start with seeds, but they can be tough to start. Plus, they can take a long time to grow into plants that can even be outside!

This is why it’s a good idea to opt for young plants instead. Don’t just settle on the first ones you see though! You need to make sure they’re in good health.

Check that the leaves are a healthy color and that they’re not drooping or browned (these are signs of overwatering, underwatering, malnutrition, or pests). Even if they look healthy, take a closer look to ensure there are no pests.

Also, you don’t want to get the biggest plants there, as they might be root bound. Medium-sized plants are best for your garden.

Put in Your Plants

Dig a hole, gently squeeze your plants out of their containers, and put them into the hole. If the plant is root bound, you’ll want to massage the roots out. Don’t be worried if some roots fall off, as your plants will just grow new ones in their place!

Now cover up the plant’s roots, but take care not to cover the stem. Press down firmly and then water it.

You might want to add some mulch on top of your compost. It can help keep pests and weeds out, and moisture in.

Good Luck With Starting a Garden

Starting a garden can take quite a bit of work. However, once you’ve established a beautiful yard, it’ll be something you can be proud of! Plus, if you grow the right plants, you can experience “farm to table” like so many farmers do.

So take up this hobby and you’ll see just how rewarding it is. Not only will it transform your home, but it’ll be good for your mental and physical health too!

Now that you know how to start your first garden, find more gardening and plant care advice by browsing our blog!

Read More: Beginner’s Guide To Growing Weed