Sharing some tips for starting a garden along with resources for beginners.
During the course of the pandemic, I think it is fair to say that we were all hit with the startling realization that we are at the mercy of our grocery stores. Shopping with dim-lit bare shelves of our local market left me with a deep sense of fear and a feeling of helplessness.
Although gardening shouldn’t be looked at as just doing something for the bare essentials in times of emergency. Gardening offers an entire outlet and a world of beauty that enhances our daily lives. If you have ever grown anything, you know the pride you feel come harvest time. That beautiful cut flower bouquet sitting on the countertop or fresh herbs sprinkled across a dish is equally as satisfying.
Age of Information
Pandemic or not we live in a time of information. At our fingertips is the accessibility of learning anything we wish. From all across the world, people share their knowledge and skills. All we need to do is click a button. Interestingly enough, many are still overwhelmed about taking on new endeavors such as gardening.
But something I have realized a long time ago is that starting is the first step to learning and succeeding. So don’t get bogged down by information and thinking you need to do everything perfectly. In fact, if you are interested in growing vegetables, be sure to check my list of easy vegetables to grow. If you are interested in having a cut flower garden, check out these 5 Easy Flowers to grow for a cut flower garden.
Knowing where to start with a garden can seem overwhelming. I know when I first began I would stare at my yard trying to imagine all that could be and coming up short.
Here are some things to consider before starting.
- Sunshine availability– picking a sunny spot in your yard or patio is important as most plants will need access to some amount of sunshine. This is especially so for vegetable and flower growing.
- Containers- This one for me was the most expensive issue. I went back and forth trying plastic containers from the garden center, DIY garden boxes, and then upgraded to these Steele garden beds that are much studier. Ensuring a longer life. Replacing cheaply made garden beds can add up, so choose something that works well for your budget and space.
- Soil– Soil is extremely important for your plants as using poor soil or topsoil without nutrients will yield undesirable results. To save money, begin a bokashi compost in your kitchen. Using kitchen scraps you can feed your garden bed with an incredibly effective highly nutrient-dense compost that can be used in as little as a few weeks. Or opt to buy good quality organic soil from the local nursery.
- Water access- For me, this has been the most challenging aspect of gardening as I have a rather large garden to cover. It is important to note the water access of your garden no matter the size. Having a hose that reaches the area of your yard or a water spigot nearby will help avoid any watering issues.
- Choosing what to grow– I don’t know a single beginner gardener who didn’t decide to grow something before knowing whether it was easy to grow or not at some point. It is only natural to enter the garden center and be completely excited at all there is to offer. But before you begin plopping those purple potatoes into your cart. Consider making a list and planning ahead. Finding easy-to-grow items, like the ones I shared above, will help avoid failure. By choosing wisely, this can help keep you excited for gardening as you begin harvesting your first vegetables and flowers.
Most cities have nurseries that offer free classes either in person or online. A great place to find the event calendars for those is by searching your city’s nurseries on Facebook.
A big resource as a beginner gardener for me has been and still is YouTube. Charles Dowding is a wonderful gardener and a great teacher. He is one I go back to time and time again for his simple no dig approach to gardening.
Another wonderful gardener, writer, and teacher is Monty Don. He as well can be found on YouTube as well having written many books on the subject. I follow Monty’s Instagram and also listen to Gardeners World BBC Podcast quite a bit, where he is a guest often.
If you are more of the reading type, I also have multiple posts on gardening as well and you can find both inspiration and tips here.
No matter where the information comes from, find it. Take the time to cultivate even the smallest sense of how to grow anything. I believe it is a necessary life skill that may even spark a great passion. You will be shocked at the pride and satisfaction growing anything can incite.
If you’ve never gardened before, I want to encourage you to be a complete beginner. Even if it’s an herb starter kit from Lowes. Living in the age of technology lends itself to information at our fingertips; Thereby, even if lost on the entire process of gardening, you won’t be for long.
Right now, more so than anytime before, it can be quite therapeutic to put your hands to something useful. Starting a garden will keep your mind busy as well as your body. Maintaining even a small container-style one can help us all get through these strange days with a little more hope.
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