If you have a bare patch of ground and enough space to grow your own vegetables and flowers, starting a garden is a great way to invest your efforts in something very beneficial and pleasant. Just arm yourself with some knowledge and willingness and you’ll be surprised to see the results! Listed below are 10 tips on starting your own garden and making your colorful dream come true.
1. Plan Your Garden Well
Before you begin to tear into the soil, plan your garden and determine priorities.
Check well how much space you have – you will avoid over-planting your garden and you will choose companion plants more easily. This will also help you take better care of your plants.
- Decide which flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits you would like to grow and take into consideration the environmental conditions these plants require.
- Before planting anything, examine well all of the elements regarding your garden’s exposure to environmental factors: When and how much sun illuminates your garden? Are there any strong or drying winds that may cause problems to your plants? Are the winters mild or freezing?
2. Prepare Garden Soil
- Before starting your own garden and before planting anything, examine the soil.
- Check whether the texture is sandy, made of clay, rocky, loam or silky.
- Check also your soil pH and determine if it’s acid or alkaline. Plants cannot absorb nutrients if the soil pH is not in the appropriate range.
- Whatever kind of soil you have, you can improve it with the adequate addition of topsoil or organic compost.
3. Equip Yourself with Quality Tools
Starting your own garden involves also having good gardening equipment. Buy fewer tools, but make sure that they are good quality. Shovels, pruners, rakes, garden forks, spades and other garden tools won’t help you much if they are crappy and prone to breaking. Don’t save money here. You definitely don’t need to break your back and destroy your hands by using inappropriate garden equipment.
4. Start Small and Share Seeds with Other People
- When planning your garden, it is a good idea to start small, instead of planting too much and risking being overwhelmed by plants.
- Grow your garden little by little. Start with a smaller amount of plants and see how you handle them. In order to enjoy your flowers and vegetables, you need time to take care of them. If you are a beginner or a very busy person, growing too many plants will make it hard to control them.
- Consider buying together and sharing your seeds with other people. One packet usually contains more seeds than you could possibly plant or control.
5. Choose Your Seeds and Plants Carefully
- Look for good quality and brand name seeds that will germinate well and grow into strong plants.
- When buying already grown plants, choose those that are healthy and strong and avoid those that are discolored or with diseases, no matter how much they may cost. You want to give your garden a good and healthy start.
6. Complement Your Plants
Choose companion plants that will grow well together and benefit each other.
- Companion planting will improve soil quality and allow your plants to have a more effective nutrient uptake.
- Complementary plants will also keep pests away, while attracting beneficial insects. The reason for this is that certain plants produce quite strong volatile oils and scents, which repel harmful insects.
- Study well this issue, for it is of extreme importance for having strong and healthy plants.
7. Be Prepared for Insect Infestation
If your plants have proper companions and if there is enough space between different plants, insects shouldn’t represent a great problem. However, at first sight of pests or chewed leaves, use specific organic pesticides to avoid further damage.
8. Make Regular Use of Fertilizers
There are many natural and organic fertilizers that you can add to the soil, in order to provide your plants with more nutrients and make them grow better.
Always read the label for proper dosage and consider that some plants might have special fertilizing needs, such as particular types of fertilizers, as well as different amounts of nutrients. Certain plants may also need to be fertilized less or more often than others.
9. Take Care of Your Plants
Once your plants have started growing, take a good care of them! Starting your own garden means also dedicating your time to it.
- Water them regularly, but without ever exaggerating. The soil should be moist, but not drenched!
- Water them in the evening or early in the morning and do it more often during hot summer months. Your plants will tell you exactly how much water they need.
- Remove all unwanted weeds from your garden whenever you notice them.
- Regularly remove spent flowers and dried out leaves and stake your plants when necessary. This will give them more energy and help them bloom longer and grow better.
10. Have Fun and Enjoy Your Garden
Having a garden doesn’t mean only working in it! Now that you’ve started and created your own garden, step back and enjoy the smell of the flowers and the beauty of your plants. Start appreciating what you’ve accomplished and have fun making plans for the next year. Your garden dream has finally come true!