How to Start a Garden: 10 Basic StepsDecide what you would like to grow, choose a location, plan your garden beds, invest in basic gardening tools, test your soil, prepare the soil, choose the right seeds or transplants, plant with care. Make your dreams of growing a reality with these 10 easy-to-follow tips. Misjudging sunlight is a common mistake when learning to garden for the first time. Pay attention to how the sunlight reproduces in your patio before choosing a place for your garden.
Most edible plants, including many vegetables, herbs, and fruits, need at least 6 hours of sunshine to thrive. Knowing your hardiness zone can help you choose the best plants. In a nutshell, it describes the coldest place a plant can grow in. The higher the zone number, the warmer the climate.
Therefore, if a plant is resistant to zone 4 and you grow in zone 5, that plant will survive in your garden. However, if you're in zone 3, it's too cold to grow that particular plant. Like all plants, vegetables need the sun to start photosynthesis. Fastest growing vegetables need full sun Fastest growing vegetables need full sun at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day without trees, shrubs, or fences blocking.
That's why you won't be very successful if you plant sun-loving vegetables in shaded spaces. If your garden provides partial shade, plant vegetables and herbs that tolerate those conditions, such as lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, chives, coriander, parsley, and thyme. Root vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and beets, might also work if your site gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. Or if you have a sunny patio, switch to pot gardening.
That way, you can place vegetables and herbs that you like from the sun, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, basil, dill, and rosemary, where they do well. Place plants in rows at least 18 inches apart so you can easily walk between them. This approach makes more sense for large orchards because the rows make it easy to use mechanical equipment, such as tillers, to combat weeds. The downside is that the space reserved for the trails reduces the amount of vegetables you can plant.
Increase the productivity of your garden with intensive cultivation, which means you can place two or three plants together in a bed approximately 4 feet wide (also known as a wide row). Seeds are sown or transplants are placed so that their leaves barely touch at maturity. This approach, which uses almost every square centimeter of prepared soil, works well for most types of vegetables, excluding those that get tangled, such as cucumbers. The disadvantage of this method is that you have to weed by hand because the plants grow close together.
Either way, work the soil only when it's wet enough to form a loose ball in your fist, but dry enough to crumble when you release it. Digging when the soil is too dry is a harder job and can damage the structure of the soil if it is too wet. Use a shovel or spade fork to gently rotate the top 6 to 8 inches of soil, mixing the organic matter from Step 4 at the same time. Walking on prepared beds compacts the floor, so place plywood boards temporarily to evenly distribute your weight.
Seedlings should never be allowed to dry out, so water daily. It narrows as the plants grow. Transplants also need frequent watering (approximately every other day) until their roots are established. After that, how often you need to water depends on the soil, humidity, and rainfall, although once a week is a good place to start.
Clay soil dries more slowly than sandy soil, so you won't need to water it as often. Sunny and windy conditions dry the soil more quickly than cold, cloudy weather. Not sure yet? Feel the earth 3-4 inches below the surface. If you're feeling dry, it's time to water.
Water slowly and deeply, so water absorbs rather than drains. To minimize evaporation, water early in the morning. Make sure you can put a hose on your garden site, so you don't have to carry water every time your plants get thirsty. Each, or even a combination, creates an impressive garden, but will have different maintenance requirements.
Place your garden in a part of your yard where you see it regularly (out of sight, out of mind definitely applies to gardening). These steps will help you start from scratch, but if you have something in mind, you can also use a garden plan to guide your design. Whether you're starting out, doing maintenance, or troubleshooting, you'll find tips and answers for all your gardening needs here. If possible, choose a relatively flat spot for your garden, as it's more difficult, time-consuming, and potentially expensive to deal with a sloping garden.
For larger quantities of insects, try insecticidal spray soaps that you can find at most garden centers. Once the plants are established, it's best to give your garden a long drink every few days instead of spraying it a little every day. We've provided a step-by-step guide on how to make a backyard garden in your home or other outdoor space. The combination of these three types, and in what specific proportions, determines the texture of your garden soil.
Garden planner automatically pulls frost dates for your specific location, identifies easy vegetables, and even identifies companion plants. The square foot method, in which a 4 x 4 foot raised garden bed is subdivided into 1 foot squares using a physical grid, such as lattice strips, is a specialized version of intensive cultivation. Specially designed containers or floors for seedlings and soil mixtures starting with seeds are available at garden centers. Get rid of destructive insects (such as tomato hornworms) by plucking them off the plant and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water, cleaning them with a hose, or spraying them with insecticidal soap purchased from a garden center.