butterfly landng on flower in spring

10 Beginner Gardening Tips

There are so many things to learn about the world of gardening, and it’s super easy to feel overwhelmed or like you’re drowning in all of the information. Start with these ten simple tips to get started on the right foot.

Learn Your Gardening Zone

There are a number of different gardening zones in the world. Thankfully, it isn’t very difficult to find your zone by looking at this USDA gardening zone map. Alternatively, you can enter your zipcode to find your gardening zone. Your gardening zone will tell you when to plant your garden and what to expect. Once you learn which gardening zone you live in, learn the basics of your zone.

Choose Your Gardening Style and Site

Where are you hoping to plant your garden? Are you working with one garden bed, an apartment patio, or a small backyard? Depending on the space you have, decide between three options: 1) in-ground beds 2) raised beds 3) container gardening.

In-Ground Beds

In-ground beds are simply beds planted directly into soil. This is one of the most affordable ways to get started with beginner gardening, but requires more research and maintenance. Most in-ground beds are not naturally equipped with nutritious soil and require some cultivation. You’ll want to mix in organic compost and organic fertilizer to optimize your natural soil. Otherwise, you’ll simply dig up some garden beds in your backyard and start planting.

Raised Beds

Raised beds are garden beds raised above the ground level and enclosed, typically in wooden frames. Raised beds offer many benefits, including more control over soil quality, reduced weeds, and easier access. Read more about the pros and cons of raised beds. If you have the space, raised beds are the best option for beginner gardening, as they are forgiving and easy to maintain. The main downside to raised beds is the cost. Building raised beds can be expensive. Thankfully, we can show you how to build raised beds for dirt cheap.

Container Gardening

Container gardening is a super fun way to get started with gardening if you live in an apartment and have a balcony, or even just a windowsill garden. Essentially, you’ll buy some terra cotta pots and start planting. Focus on plants that require shallow roots, like herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers.

Test Your Soil

For the beginner gardener, we recommend purchaing a soil test kit from your local nursery. This kit will give you instructions for how to balance your soil based on its pH, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium levels. This is especially important if you are starting in ground gardens, as all sorts of things can throw off the quality of natural soil. Cultivating soil is one of the best things you can do to ensure that you have an abundant harvest.

Prepare Your Beds

Learn how to prepare your beds for planting. This is most often done in the spring. It can also be beneficial to prepare your raised beds for winter through a series of protective layers. Here’s everything you need to know about how to prepare soil. Generally, you’ll want to add a protective layer, add organic fertilizer and soil, and feed your solil regularly.

Follow a Planner

One of the mistakes that so many first-time gardeners make is not sticking to a plan. With starting seeds, to preparing soil, to harvesting vegetables at different times and succession planting, it is so easy to get lost and make mistakes. We offer a super affordable garden planner that will keep you organized and help you make the most of your garden season.

Focus on Gardening Vegetables for Beginners 

If you are new to gardening, don’t start off on the wrong foot by planting things that are hard to maintain, or that take years to harvest. In my first year of gardening, I planted asparagus. Little did I know that it would take at least one year to grow, which meant that I’d have to maintain my garden through the winter. This was way too much pressure for me right out the gate. Thankfully, there are many gardening vegetables for beginners that are forgiving and fun to grow.

Try Some Starter Plants

Although growing seedlings is very rewarding and affordable, it’s a ton of work. If you work full time, watering seeds multiple times a day is a huge commitment. We highly suggest buying starter plants for beginner gardening. Starter plants are simply plants that have been grown in a greenhouse and are a few months old. They can be planted directly into soil and typically already have strong roots. Learn more about how to plant starter plants.

Use Organic Fertilizer

Don’t make the mistake that so many beginners make. Organic fertilizer is the (not-so-secret) ingredient that will make your plants actually yield blossoms and fruit. If you need to save on money, fertilizer is not the thing to skip.

Stick to a Routine

There will be days you don’t feel like watering. Or maybe you don’t feel ready for the harvest when it all starts coming at once. It is essential that you stay on top of regular watering, weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting to make the most of your garden. Plan a time of day that you’ll commit to a little checkup. I try to use this time as a personal checkup and prayer time as well.

Plan How You’ll Preserve Your Harvest

This is one of the easiest mistakes to make as a beginner gardener. Think ahead about what you’re growing and how the harvest will come in. Learn to dry herbs, pickle veggies, and make sauces and jams. You can enjoy your garden year round when you take the time to preserve things. Learn the basics of water bath canning.

Answers to Your Questions About Beginner Gardening Tips

How do you start a garden for beginners? 

Start simple. Buy starter plants that are easy to maintain and water them regularly. Follow these ten steps to learn how to start a garden for beginners: 1. Learn Your Gardening Zone. 2. Choose Your Gardening Style and Site. 3. Test Your Soil. 4. Prepare Your Beds. 5. Follow a Planner. 6. Focus on Beginner-Friendly Veggies. 7. Try Some Starter Plants. 8. Use Organic Fertilizer. 9. Stick to a Routine. 10. Plan How You’ll Preserve Your Harvest.

What should you do first in a garden? 

The first thing you should do in a garden is create a garden plan. Use our garden planner to keep you organized. Next, you’ll prepare your soil.

How do you layout a garden for beginners? 

The main thing to keep in mind is the height of the plants. Taller plants (peppers, tomatoes, beans, grapes) should all be toward the back of your bed, so that they don’t block the sun of shorter plants.

What are the best veggies to grow for beginners? 

There are anumber of veggies that are great for beginners to grow. Our general rule of thumb is to start with herbs and leafy green starter plants. From there, try a few tomato plants and squash varieties.

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