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Getting Started with Gardening

Are you interested in starting a garden but not sure where to begin? Don’t worry! In this post, we are going to cover the basic steps of gardening, as well as provide links to more detailed information to help you get started with confidence and enjoy doing it. Below are the steps involved in gardening.

Decide what you want to grow in your home garden

The first basic rule is to grow a crop you will enjoy eating, so if you won’t eatit don’t grow it. Focus on the vegetables, fruits, or herbs that you and your family enjoy the most.

If you’re not gardening for food, then do your research on the type of landscape plants and flowers you will really enjoy maintaining and looking at daily. Also, ensure that your plant choices are suitable for the area you live in and the season. Find out the gardening zone and estimated dates for first and last frost.

You can find out about plants that grow well from successful gardeners in your area and local nurseries. Any crops that takes over 100 days to mature or require high temperature are going to require very specific climates.

Choose a location for your garden

Most fruits, vegetables and other plants require a minimum of 5 hours of direct sunlight in a day. Root veggies, greens, and herbs will grow in partial shade. Northern gardens likely need all the sun that they can get, while southern gardens may benefit from late afternoon shade. Also consider how you will access the garden for caring, watering, and picking your plants. Avoid high wind areas and frost pockets; low areas where frost will likely settle, wildlife, pet damage, and children’s play areas.

For more ideas on gardening in a small area, see:

 

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Small Space Garden Ideas

Perfect for people who have little space to garden, whether a doorstep, balcony, or part of a wall. Small Space Garden Ideas is full of creative ideas for making use of every growing space available.

All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

Square Foot Gardening is the most practical, foolproof way to grow a home garden, whether you’re growing an urban garden, or have an entire backyard. That explains why author and gardening innovator Mel Bartholomew has sold more than two million books teaching how to become a successful DIY square foot gardener.

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens explains the basics of growing a bounty of edibles in a minimal amount of space. Andrea Bellamy, author of the award-winning blog Heavy Petal, shares all the knowledge she’s gained from years of gardening small: how to find and assess a space, and how to plan and build a garden.

 

Plan your garden beds

Once you have decided on what to plant and the location of your garden, it is time to decide the type and size of your garden bed(s). In terms ofattractiveness and ease of work, raised beds tend to be a better option, they also dry out quickly. However, sunken beds are a better option in very dry areas because they can be used to gather available moisture. Some kinds of beds are highlighted below:

If you don’t have yard or soil but interested in starting a garden, you may consider grow bags or containers to get started with gardening. Self-watering containers are better than terracotta flower pots that tend to dry out easily.

Invest in some garden tools


Having the right tools make working in your garden fun rather than hard work. Basic gardening tools you will need include:

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Garden Hoe

DIRT DIGGING MACHINE – This 5.75 inch wide tempered steel garden hoe packs a wallop, capable of easily busting open new ground or turning over dirt in your rows. All three sides are precision sharpened so is makes easy work for you and in less time.

Scuffle Hoe

Once, one of the most exhausting and back breaking gardening projects was to prepare or maintain the soil in an effort to establish a beautiful garden. That all changed when the Hula-Ho was first introduced in 1961.

Dirt Rake

Bully Tools bow rakes feature extra thick 10 gauge steel. The connection to the handle is welded and will not separate. The triple wall fiberglass handle resists breakage while still being lightweight and easy to handle.

Leaf Rake

The Bully Tools Steel Thatching Rake is one of the toughest rakes avaliable. The spring steel tines are able to pick up river rocks and other heavy duty debris. The triple wall fiberglass resists breakage while still being lightweight and easy to handle.

Garden Shovel or D Handle Shovel

Bully Tools fiberglass shovels utilize a triple wall fiberglass, wood reinforced handle design. Great for homeowners and contractors, it is just as strong and hefty as a wood shovel, with the added comfort of a fiberglass handle.

Hand tools

COMPLETE FUNCTIONAL TOOLS: Perfect for a variety of tasks including digging, weeding, loosening soil, aerating, transplanting and more.

Or get this GardenAll 5-in-1 garden tools set, which includesa round point garden shovel/12 gauge garden hoe/steelrake/bowrake/garden scraper with fiberglass handle.

Investing in good tools will save you a lot of time, effort, and also from back pains.

Test Soil

Before you begin the process of building your garden beds or planting, there is need to find out if your soil is acidic, alkaline or neutral pH. You will also need to know if your soil is mostly sand, silt, clay, or a mix of the three, and if it has a lot of rocks, stands a risk of soil contamination from nearby structures, roadways, or other sources, and if it has a good amount of basic nutrients.

Most of these soil characteristics can be determined by simply looking at the soil, while others may require some tests; either home or lab test.

For example, lead contamination is a problem in some areas and can be determined with this LeadCheck Swabs. Rapitest basic home soil test kits can be used to test pH, nitrogen, phosphate, and phosphorous levels.

Build your soil


It is always better to prepare your soil in the fall, but don’t let that deter you from starting in spring. A deep, well-drained, and fertile soil rich in organic matter is suitable for most plants. Healthy soil results in healthy plants with a natural defense mechanism against diseases and pest, and with more nutrition.

You can add compost; either homemade or purchased, earthworm castings, manure, fall leaves (use as mulch or till in), straw and wood chips (on the soil surface). You can also use microbial inoculants to improve soil and plant health.

Choose the right seeds or transplants

You can either plant your seeds directly in the garden or as transplants. If you are interested in growing specific varieties, you will perhaps need to grow your transplants from seeds, and this can be a great way to save money.

Plant with care

Some seed packets and transplant containers have basic planting instructions, which should help you do it right. After doing the groundwork, you just need to start planting. Once you’ve started, you will learn the rest as you progress.
For those who are short of time, this “The 5-minute Gardener: How to Plan, Create, and Sustain a Low-Maintenance Garden” by Brenda Little, will be very useful.

Nurture your garden


Make out time in your tight schedule to tend to your plants. The time requirement could be from few minutes or hours depending on the size of your garden. You can either eliminate weeds with a scuffle hoe when they are still small or use them as ground cover, food or medicine.

If you don’t get rain, you will need to water your plants. However, water with care because over-watering can be as bad as not under-watering since waterlogged soil can result in seeds and roots rotting.

If your plants are healthy, they will not attract pests,and so there will be no need to use chemical pesticides, which undermines your reason for growing your own vegetables.

Enjoy your harvest

Make sure to harvest your crops promptly when they mature to get the best quality.

Remember that if things don’t work out fine the first time, there is always another planting season. There are different ways to do almost anything, but you will never know what works best for you and your garden until you try. This post is enough to get you started. Happy gardening!