Use these tips to grow your green thumb.
Growing your own food, herbs, and flowers can be a fun and satisfying experience. When you’re first starting, it does take a little bit of know-how to get your gardening hobby off on the right foot. That’s where these gardening tips for beginners come into play! (And for ideas on what to plant, here are some healthy spring vegetables you can try.)
Here are eight gardening tips for beginners:
- Scout out the ideal sunny location
- Make your garden a “waterfront” property
- Pick plants suitable for your climate
- Invest in good soil and plant food
- Follow seed-specific planting instructions
- Water plants regularly
- Keep up with maintenance
- Start small
Explore these gardening tips for beginners below!
Scout out the ideal sunny location
Before you start your garden, spend a week just watching your yard, patio, or windowsills and taking notes about which areas get a good amount of sunlight and at what time of day. Vegetables and flowers typically need 6-8 hours of full sun per day, so you’ll want to avoid using shady sections of the yard. Choose a flat piece of ground instead of a slope, and check that there are surroundings to break strong winds (e.g., a good fence or neighbors’ houses).
Herbs also love the sun, so if you live in an apartment or are opting to keep your gardening indoors with a small herb garden, pick a patio or windowsill that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day!
You can also consider aesthetics and usability — place your garden in a place that’s easily visible and accessible so you’ll remember to give it attention!
Make your garden a “waterfront” property
Don’t worry — you don’t have to own a lake house for this! If you’re planning a large garden, make sure it’s within range of a hose. This way, you won’t have to lug buckets or heavy watering cans around the yard every time your plants need moisture.
If you don’t have a hose, consider keeping your garden smaller in size so you can water it in one go with a watering can. (If your garden lives in pots on your patio or windowsill, you don’t have to worry about this part!)
Pick plants suitable for your climate
Choosing what kind of plants you want to grow is one of the most fun parts of preparing your garden. First, narrow down your options by what will bring you joy — what are your favorite flowers, veggies, and fruits?
Then, investigate the practical considerations. Figure out what grow zone climate you’re located in; this will help you identify which plants will survive best in your average temperatures, air moisture, weather, etc. For example, if you live in a drought-prone state, you’ll want plants that aren’t too water-hungry. If you’re further north, you’ll want cold-hardy options for the potentially cool nights of late spring and early summer.
If you’re gardening indoors, your options are a bit more limited, but you can still grow a great crop of herbs and vegetables from the comfort of your home!
Invest in good soil and plant food
Soil is the foundation of your garden, so you want to make sure you have a nutrient-dense mix to help plants thrive! To build healthy soil, it helps to know what type of soil you’re working with, add plenty of compost (save all your veggie scraps!), and till the ground to keep the soil soft and aerated. You can also visit a garden store to ask for recommendations or buy some pre-mixed soil.
Follow seed-specific planting instructions
It would be convenient if you could just plant everything simultaneously, but a lot of seeds are picky about timing! Check the back of your seed packet (or plant container if you’re buying young plants) to learn when to plant them, how far to space them out, and so forth.
Water plants regularly
Most plants are thirsty little guys! Sometimes the rain will do the work for you, but hydrating your garden is up to you on all the sunny weeks or if your plants live indoors. Watering tips include “watering deeply” so the water reaches the roots, and you don’t have to water as frequently. Try to make it a habit in the early morning and aim for the plant’s base instead of drenching the foliage.
Keep up with maintenance
A garden full of stones and weeds probably won’t give you the results you’re hoping for. Keeping on top of your garden maintenance means you’ll have just a few weeds to pull every day instead of needing to dedicate a whole weekend to playing catch-up. Using mulch can also help protect your soil and reduce weed growth. Harvest your plants as soon as they’re ripe while removing any that have died.
When you’re brand-new to gardening, you might not want the pressure of jumping in with a huge garden with tons of plants all at once. Think about kicking off your gardening experiments by joining a local community garden or starting a little container garden on your balcony! These are low-pressure ways to begin sprouting your skills and seeing how green your thumb might be.
Even if you do everything right, sometimes your garden might encounter a mishap or two anyway. Don’t despair if some of your seeds don’t sprout, a plant gets droopy leaves, or an insect decides to eat your veggie for dinner; sometimes, it’s just part of the journey!
Prefer to visit gardens instead of starting your own? Explore these hearing-loss-friendly botanical garden destinations!