Thinking about planting a garden for the first time this spring? If you’re like me, the thought of having your very own fresh produce is quite appealing. It can take some careful planning to make your garden a success. It is more than just sticking some seeds in the ground and hoping for the best. Here are 9 tips to try as you start your very first garden.
Know Your Soil
If you want your garden to be successful, you need to know what kind of soil you have and what will grow best in it! You also may find that you have to add certain nutrients into your soil if you want thing to grow well. You can have your soil tested at your local agriculture extension office, or at a local nursery. Based on what you find, you may want to buy packaged soil, if it is going to be costly to get your own dirt to support garden plants well.
If you are brand new to gardening, you don’t want to get overwhelmed by planting too much the very first year. Think about the produce your family likes best and eats the most of, and try those first few. It’s easier to maintain and grow 2 or 3 kinds versus a whole garden plot with a dozen or more plant types to care for.
Assess Your Space
Do you have room for a large dirt garden plot, or will you just have to make do with container gardens on your back patio. You can successfully grow produce either way!
Buy Quality Gardening Tools
It makes sense to invest in good quality gardening tools like a shovel, spade, trowels, and a hoe. Don’t get flimsy plastic ones; get the ones that are metal with wooden or metal handles. They will simply hold up better over time.
Choose Your Seeds Well
Long time gardeners will swear by heirloom seeds, or by saving their own from the year before. As a first timer, you’ll need to purchase yours (unless you have a gardening friend willing to give your some of theirs!), so choose wisely. Ask friends and family where they get their seeds, if there are some brands or varieties that they like better than others, and do lots of research.
If you start now, you have plenty of time to grow your garden plants indoors from seedlings, then transplant them into the garden plot when the time is right. Starting from seedlings is also a fun way to get the kids involved in the gardening process, too. Transplanting also allows you to give the plants a good start by protecting them from the late winter and early spring elements when they are just little sprouts.
Gardening Takes Time
It takes time to cultivate and grow a garden. You need to be prepared to spend a little time each day working in your plot, and caring for the plants. You’ll have to weed, prune and treat plants for pests, and bring in the produce when it is ripe. It is rewarding, but will be something you can’t put off every day.
Store the Excess
If you are fortunate enough to have excess produce, you will need to figure out what you will do with the leftovers that you don’t eat right away. Some fruits and veggies do freeze better than others, so you might be able some of your summer produce next winter if you freeze or can them. If you don’t know how to can produce, there are all kinds of tutorials and videos online, and you can buy canning books and supplies at most big box retailers.
By following these nine tips, you are sure to get your gardening off to a great start! If you are an experienced gardener, what are some tips you would give to first timers?