Starting a new garden can be exciting, challenging, and a little daunting!
A garden adds beauty – and even function – to your yard, but there’s a lot to think about: where to put the garden, what to plant, and how to properly care for it.
Not sure where to begin? Follow these 8 tips to successfully start a garden at your new home!
1. Define your garden area. Before you stick any seeds or nursery plants in the ground, inspect the area in which you plan to plant your garden. Will your plants receive the correct sunlight? Is this an area that tends to collect water? Is the area clear of any weeds, sticks, rocks, or debris that may hinder your garden’s growth? Address all problems before you begin to plant!
2. Prepare the soil. Give the soil a boost with a 2-to-3-inch layer of organic matter, such as compost, decayed leaves, or dry grass clippings. If you aren’t digging the soil, leave the organic material on the surface. It’ll work its way into the soil within a few months.
3. Know how much sun your plants need. Vegetables and most flowering annuals need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, while fuchsia, forget-me-not, and impatiens do well in partial (and sometimes full) shade. Keep this in mind as you’re planning your garden.
4. If you’re planting a vegetable garden, start small. It’s easy to get excited about starting your first garden – we don’t blame you! But don’t let that excitement lead to planting more than you need. In the first year of your garden, start small so you don’t wind up with more vegetables than your family can consume. Keep in mind what you’re planting, too; carrots, radishes, and corn produce only once, while tomatoes, peppers, and squash produce multiple times throughout the season.
5. Perennials are great for beginners. Hostas, daylilies, columbine, bleeding hearts, and coral bells are all easy to grow and maintain, as long as they are watered and get the appropriate amount of sunlight.
6. Add mulch. Mulch, such as pine needles or brick chips, will protect your garden from weeds, reduce runoff, and slow evaporation from the soil. What kind of mulch you use will depend on what you’re growing – mulch that decomposes in a few months is best for a vegetable garden or bed of annuals, while a garden with perennials will benefit from longer-lasting mulch.
7. Be strategic about watering. How frequently you water your garden will depend on the soil, humidity, and how often it rains. When watering, make sure to do it slowly and deeply so the water can soak into the soil. Watering in the early morning minimizes evaporation, and gives your leaves time to dry out.
8. Don’t forget the edge of your garden. Choose a natural and durable border for your garden, such as brick, concrete, or stone. These borders will give your garden a clean, refined edge and will make mowing around the garden easier.
Have any tips for beginning gardeners? Leave them in the comments!