Friday, March 25, 2016

5 Gardening Tips for Beginners

With the first day of Spring earlier this week, I think everyone has this spring and gardening on their mind.  I have seen many of my friends on Facebook are going to try their hand at gardening for the first time this year, so I thought I'd share a few tips that I have learned over the years for these first-timers.

Include Easy Plants - If this year is your first year to garden I would include at least one easy plant, or dare I say no-fail plants.  The first easy plant I recommend is radishes.  Radishes require no prep work and can go straight from seed to garden.  They are easy to care of too.  Make sure you give them adequate water and that you follow the instructions on the seed packet for spacing and depth.  The added plus of radishes is that they have a fast maturity, so you'll be able to enjoy the harvest of your efforts mid-summer.  The next easy plant I recommend is tomatoes.  There are many varieties of tomatoes and I have found good results with many.  My favorite are probably Roma.  Roma plants don't get as tall or heavy as other tomato plants, so they are easier to maintain.  Make sure your tomato plant gets plenty of light and regular water.  Now, tomato plants are susceptible to diseases, so if you start to see some diseased leaves, remove them after the plant is at least knee-high.  The final easy plants I recommend are pumpkins and gourds.  I swear pumpkins and gourds can grow anywhere and with no help at all, but the last time I gave that recommendation to a friend a few years ago we had a drought and that wasn't the case...  The main things that pumpkins and gourds need is space and adequate water.  If you plan on including any vine plants in your garden, consider having a separate patch for them, so you can give their vines plenty of space to spread out and grow.

5 Gardening Tips for Beginners - Include Easy Plants

Plant What You Eat - This seems easy enough, but when making your garden plan, remember to plant what you are going to enjoy eating.  If you don't like green beans, don't plant green beans.  Now at the same time, if you eat potatoes everyday, plants some potatoes.  Also consider what you are interested in canning.  For many years I have planted some form of a salsa garden with tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro.  My family always has a jar of salsa open and we have never had a problem eating each year's salsa.  Also, my family has homemade pizza each Friday night, so I always can pizza sauce each year.  We also really enjoy canning pickles.  If you are looking for some pickle tips, check out my friend Mary of Farm Girl Cook'n's latest post with pickle tips and a recipe!

5 Gardening Tips for Beginners - Plant What You Eat

Location, Location, Location - After you have decided what you want to plant in your garden you need to think about the amount of space you'll need for it and where to locate it.  Most vegetables need direct sunlight and a well drained soil in a level area.  Also, make sure this area is away from trees or shrubs.  You won't want them to compete for water and nutrients from your garden.  Lastly, make sure your garden can be reached by a hose.  Now you might be thinking that you're going to build muscle and endurance by using a watering can for your garden, but chances are, as the summer goes on, you're going to neglect keeping your garden watered regularly if you have to do so.  Check out my Where to put your Vegetable Garden post for more tips and details.

5 Gardening Tips for Beginners - Location, Location, Location

Weed, Weed, Weed - This might seem like a no-brainer, but in order to have a successful first go-around at gardening, you need to keep up on weeding.  Keep a regular weeding schedule for the entire spring and summer.  And if you go on a summer vacation, be prepared to weed when you get home.  For some reason, it's like weeds know when you're gone and sprout up like crazy to greet you when you get home.  If your weeds get out of hand, weeding after a rain makes them easier to pull out.  Also, to help control weeds, after plants have good growth, consider laying down a mulch or straw to help give the plants a barrier from weeds.

5 Gardening Tips for Beginners - Weed, Weed, Weed

Protection, Protection, Protection - It is a good idea to give your plants some protection from predators throughout the growing season.  Depending on where you live, predators could be rabbits, squirrels, deer, etc.  When your plants are young, consider using milk jugs that have had the bottoms cut off (which also act as a "greenhouse" at the same time), or old clay tiles.  After they outgrow the milk jugs or tiles, you should consider investing in a fence or a dog.

5 Gardening Tips for Beginners - Protection, Protection, Protection

I hope these basic tips help prepare all first-time gardeners for the planting season.  Most importantly I hope your garden allows you to get a little dirty, be a little creative and reduces your stress.  What tips would you add to the list for beginners?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Looking for more tips - check out my tips and others on Wayfair!
Gardening Expert

20 comments:

  1. Great tips! I love the part of plant what you eat! That is 100% how we do it! I'm also increasing my tomatoes this year because I want to can sauce for homemade spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce as well. I also want to have diced tomatoes around for salsa too!

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    1. I feel like you can never have enough tomatoes! I love being able to go to my garden and grab a fresh tomato in the summer for sandwiches, recipes, etc.

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  2. Excellent tips. It's all fun and games until you have to weed!

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    1. Very true! And if you don't keep up on it, it'll be even more of a chore!

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  3. We love our garden, but are actually planning to downsize a bit this year. Life is so busy and we don't want it getting away from us. So just a few tomatoes, a few peppers and a few jalapenos this year (or so we say... we'll see what actually happens!) Hopefully we'll expand again next year.

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    1. I've usually downsized it has seemed every other year when I have a new baby... but this year I guess I'm going with a full load. We'll see how I keep up! I guess I figure I've got older kids now that can help me keep up ;)

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  4. I wish I could have a garden here but I know I would be so frustrated with all the deer--it would have to be totally enclosed and I am not up to doing that quite yet. At least I have a fabulous farmers market I can go to....

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    1. I've seen all of your deer photos so I'm afraid you're right about having to build a completely enclosed garden. Good thing for a local farmers market then!

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  5. It's been several years since I gardened "seriously," so I feel like a beginner all over again! I'm going to benefit from your tips.

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    1. Good luck with your garden! Glad the tips are helpful!

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  6. To begin with, you should check the nitrogen and carbon levels in your dirt. You need to begin with a decent establishment to your spring gardening season, and these tips will offer assistance. On the off chance that you have awful soil, I profoundly exhort that you begin with a square foot garden. You can either manufacture a wood box or purchase plastic ones from planters, which is the thing that I did. You can then include new top soil from the store and include mulched and treated the soil takes off. This is the most ideal approach to begin.

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    1. Living in Iowa I take for granted our great soils. Having a soil test done can help you have a better idea if you're short on any essential nutrients.

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  7. The time is appropriate for an incredible garden and as the world practices environmental safety, this has set off the nursery worker in you too. The tips that are recorded beneath are from years of soil-burrowing knowledge and are just a smacking of what it is you should know and do when it comes time to plant those first starter plants.

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  8. Very handy and practical tips right there! I started with onion bulbs and ginger as my first plant - those were easy! And to be honest, until now, I prefer the easy ones.

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    1. I prefer easy plants too ;) I've never tried ginger before!

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