Tips for The Beginning Gardener


Are you new at gardening? Starting a new garden as a beginner can seem intimidating. However, with the right resources and a bit of patience, starting a garden can be quite rewarding. As any established gardener can tell you, “it’s all about trial and error

Here are a few helpful tips to help get you started on creating the garden that is right for you:

Garden site/pre-planning – Before you plan anything, take a look around your property to see where you want to place your garden keeping in mind, most plants need optimal conditions to thrive. Be observant by watching the planned space throughout the day to make sure your proposed area receives adequate light exposure (typically from 6 to 8 hours). Your garden will benefit greatly from a nearby water source and basic gardening tools to start with such as a spade; garden fork; soaking hose; hoe; hand weeder; and a basket for moving around mulch or soil.

Garden Types/Supplies – There are many type of gardens, however most beginner gardeners start with easy-to-grow vegetables, herbs and annuals such as lettuce, beans, beets, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, peas, basil, dill,  cilantro, parsley,  thyme, sunflowers, zinnias, marigold, pansies, impatiens, , snapdragons,  cosmos, morning glory and blanket flowers.  Most plants of these plants can easily be grown from seeds by sowing them directly in the soil. Garden catalogs offer large assortments of either seeds or you can opt for established plants from a garden center to save time. Make sure you obtain seeds or plants from reliable sources if you purchase online. If you purchase plants from a garden center, make sure you buy healthy plants by checking the leaves and soil for pests are disease. Make sure you following the planting, fertilizing needs and growing instructions carefully on the plant tags.

Garden Resources – Find out what the planting zone is for your area.  Certain plants need to be grown in certain seasons depending on the weather. Also, another great source would be your local county extension office that can provide you with information about what varieties grow best in your area, growing guides, info about pests and diseases and help hot lines run by master gardeners. They also provide soil testing established from various parts of your garden for a nominal fee. The results show you what amendments are needed.

Garden Beds – Clear your new planting area if it is covered by sod. The easiest method is to smother your proposed site with 6-8 sheets of newspapers or cardboard. Then add a 3 inch layer of potting soil, compost and topsoil. It will take about 4 months for the area is ready for planting.  Make sure you turn the soil with a spading fork to loosen the soil while adding organic compost. Make sure the soil is properly drained before doing so; not to wet or too dry.

I have included links to help you to create the right garden for you.

This invaluable map provides plant hardiness zones to aid you in determining what plants grow best in your area.

This site provides fact sheets, growing guides and images for various plant types grown in the US.

Because pollinators are a necessary part of any garden, this site will provide information about beneficial pollinators and growing guides for plants that help feed, house and protect them.


About The Editors of Garden Variety

The Magazine-style Daily Lifestyle Blog of Gardening, Outdoor Spaces and Natural Living.
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2 Responses to Tips for The Beginning Gardener

  1. HA! With fond memories, I recall when a younger very petite neighbor phoned me and asked, “How do you get a shovel to go into the earth?” I laughed and said, “Give me fifteen minutes, and I’ll come show you!”

    The earth was dry, compacted and probably had not been turned in thirty years.. She was tiny.. She thrived in that garden!
    within a year she was winning gardening awards at the local garden club shows.

    When I moved away, I left her my favorite shovel!

    Thanks for this great post ! My friend would have cherished having instructions like yours!

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