Indeed, starting your garden is one of the best things you can do during this quarantine period. You can plant vegetables or fragrant florals. You can even do both. As you get your hands a little dirty, the whole family can benefit from it.
If you are new to gardening, it might be challenging to determine where to start. Remember, it doesn’t need to be complicated. Break your project into manageable steps, and you can make the project tolerable. Soon, you will see the rewards of your efforts with delicious harvests, colorful blooms, and beautiful views. If you do not know where to start, this article will help you.
Know What to Plant
Do you wish to plant an herb garden? A flower garden? A vegetable garden? If you select herbs and vegetables to grow, make sure to produce ones you or your family are willing to eat.
Meanwhile, if you wish to have flowers for their color, flair, and fragrance, you must decide what flower you want. Decide whether to have flowers that will bloom most of the summer but have to be replanted each spring. You can also have perennials with a shorter bloom time. However, they can return year after year.
Remember, each plant will make a stunning garden. You have to take note that they will have different maintenance requirements.
As advice, you can start small until you have a good idea of what you are getting into.
Choose the Correct Spot at your Home
The majority of the flowers and vegetables in your garden will require 6 to 8 hours of full sun
every day. As such, you have to observe your yard to know which spots will receive full sun versus partial shade. You don’t have to worry if your garden lot is shady. Sometimes, you can’t grow tomatoes in this area. However, you can try other plants like outdoor ferns or hostas.
You have to remember this step and do not skip it. You must know the light requirements of your plants. Make sure to check the plant tags. You can also ask your local garden center so you can better understand the light conditions of your plants.
It is best if you can choose a flat spot for your garden. This is because it will be time-consuming, complicated, and expensive to deal with a sloping garden. Make sure to check for windbreaks that will protect your plants from the strong winds. Please place it in the park where you can’t ignore and see the pleas.
For example, you can put it in the back door, by the window, or near the mailbox. It will be good if the place is near the water spigot because you don’t have to drag the hose across the entire garden.
Plan your Garden Beds
As soon as you know where to have your garden, determine the size and type of your garden beds. It is attractive to have raised beds. It will make work more accessible in your garden. However, it can also dry out more quickly. If the areas are very dry, the sunken beds can gather the available moisture.
You can consider planting your garden in beds of plants or blocks instead of having it in single rows. Beds must be 3 to 4 feet across. It must be narrow enough for you to reach the center from either side. Furthermore, beds must not be more than 10 feet long. With this, you will not be tempted to step into the bed and compact the ground.
In the garden beds, you can place the plants in a grid or row pattern. Your goal is to minimize the walkways and maximize the growing space. You can add soil amendments and fertilizer to the planting area. Indeed, this can help you save time and money. Make sure to work with companion plants to attract beneficial insects
and help improve the growth rate.
The goal is to start small to prove the plants with enough room to grow. The seed and transplants are tiny. However, full-grown plants can get big. If the plants are overcrowded, they can have difficulty thriving. Even if your garden is small but well-tended, it can produce much or more than a large yet poorly tended garden.
The most common are rectangular or square beds. However, you will be limited with your imagination and building skills. The majority of the raised bed kits are rectangular. You can also plant your garden like in old livestock sections of drain pipes or water tanks.
Buy Basic Garden Tools
With the right garden tools, you will feel that working in your garden will become a pleasure rather than a chore. In chopping the raw carrots, make sure not to use a butter knife. You must also not use flimsy or dull tools when working in your garden.
Some essential gardening tools
include scuffle hoe, garden hoe, leaf rake, a dirt rake, D handle shovel or garden shovel, and hand tools.
If possible, don’t buy cheap plastic tools. You can check the yard or estate sales for bargains of simple metal tools. You can also check on your local garden center. See that you get the tools of the right size to reduce the risk of injury when gardening.
Having good tools will save you time and effort. Make sure to keep your devices clean and sharp, similar to how you treat your knife.
Clear the Ground
Make sure to get rid of the sod that covers the area that you wish to plant. If you are hoping for quick results, you can cut it out. This is true if it is spring already and you want to have vegetables this summer. Try to slice under the sod with a spade. Then, cut it into sections to make it easier to remove. After that, put your compost pile to decompose.
With the newspaper, it will be easier to smother the grass. However, it will take longer. You can cover your garden with five sheets of newspaper. Double this amount if your lawn is St. Augustine or Bermuda grass. Then, spread a 3-inch layer of compost, a combination of topsoil and the potting soil in the newspaper, and wait. It will take four months for the paper and compost to decompose. You will now have a bed ready to plant with no grass or weeds with plenty of rich soil when spring comes.
Improve the Soil
If the soil is more fertile, it will provide a good chance for your vegetables to grow. This is also true for other plants. You have to boost the residential soil, especially when the topsoil has been stripped away. Sometimes, your soil can be poor, wet, infertile, too alkaline, or acidic. With these problems, the solution is simple. You have to add organic matter. Add 2 to 3 inches of composed, dry grass clippings, decayed leaves, or animal manure. Do this whenever you dig or till a new bed.
If you don’t want to dig or work with an established bed, you can leave the organic matter on the surface. Let it rot into hummus or organic material. The earthworms will do their work by mixing the hummus with the subsoil.
If you wish to learn more about your soil, you can do a soil test
through your county cooperative extension office. They will guide you with the procedure. They will help you determine how much soil to put on your garden. Moreover, they will help you choose the best time to have some samples. You can expect a two-week wait for the findings. After that, you will know what your soil lacks and how you can correct it.
Grow Up, Not Out
Apart from intensive planting, trellising is considered the most efficient way to utilize the space in your garden. Those who have tiny gardens will want to grow as many crops as possible on their vertical supports. Meanwhile, gardeners who have space will need physical support for their vegetables. They will need help with their pole beans and peas. Other vegetables that are trellised are vining crops like tomatoes and cucumbers.
The fence around your garden can act as a trellis. This is true as long as the fence can be rotated in different years. The other kinds of vegetable supports can be made from wood or metal. However, no matter what design or material you use, you can have your trellis up and in place before the plants need its support. This is preferred even before you plant the crop. For some vegetables like melons or tomatoes, you will have to tie the plants gently to the support.
Keep the Crops Moving
In your vegetable garden, crop rotation means planting the same crop in the same place once every three years. This will ensure that the same vegetable garden will not deplete the nutrients year after year. This will also prevent any insects or disease pathogens from hiding in the soil after harvesting the crops.
In the three-year crop rotation system, you can write the plan of your garden on paper during each growing season. Make sure to show the location of all crops. If you grow different vegetables, these garden plans will become essential. It will be hard to remember what you were increasing even the last season. When you save your garden plans for the past two or three years, this means that you don’t have to rely on your memory alone.
Your hard work will be nothing if you don’t varmint-proof your garden. As such, you have to build a tall fence or one that extends at least 12 inches from the base. You have to remember this unless your vegetables are in containers or an inaccessible patio or deck. With a fence, the rabbits and woodchucks will not burrow. For accessible container gardens, you can have plants covered with hardware cloth cages. You can also have supported plastic mesh. With this, the critters will not have a feast on your porch.
Care and Harvest
Make sure to keep the seeded areas moist until the plants begin to emerge. Mature vegetables will typically require an inch of water every week. It is better to have a good and deep soaking plant than frequent and light watering.
To minimize the diseases of the vegetables, water them early in the morning. Make sure not to wet the leaves. Fertilize if necessary. Suppress the leaves with a thin layer of mulch. When they are still young, you can pluck them out. This is because they will compete with your vegetables for light and water. You can harvest the vegetables regularly until at their peak for continued production and the best flavor.
To maximize the growing area in your garden, you can plant the crops in succession. Too often, the gardeners will prepare their seedbeds and plant their crops for one or two days in the spring. They do this after the last frost date for their location.
There is nothing wrong with this. However, it will be easier to plant a few seeds at a time throughout the growing season. Indeed, the job will become easier whenever you divide it up. You can produce something new in the garden every week of the season.
In sum, starting a small garden might be a massive chore for some. However, if you take a systematic approach and remember a few things in mind, you will realize that the job is easy. Eventually, you will see that your efforts will pay off whenever you see that the table is filled with fresh and delicious harvests.
Indeed, gardening can be a rewarding job even for beginners; however, you must remember that there is an art in doing it well. On the internet, you can find a mountain of good information and advice from the experts that are available to you. One of the important ways to improve your garden is to pay close attention to how the plants will grow. Take note of the successes and failures that you have in a garden journal or notebook.
Drawing a garden will help you remember where things were growing. Similarly, note-taking will help you prevent mistakes and ensure that you will have good results in the future. For example, you can write down the names of different vegetable entries. You can compare them each year to know the vegetables that thrive well in your garden.
Over time, this habit of record-keeping will teach you more things about vegetables than any book. This is because the notes will be based on your experience and observations. This will reflect what works best for you in the condition of your garden. Just like in other pursuits, it will take practice to perfect the art of gardening.