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Want to know how to grow a fantastic garden? Beginners can do it too!
Gardening is for everyone. You do not have to be an expert to have a great growing garden.
All you need to learn is what you need to do to be successful.
Beginners as the term itself is not a bad thing. Everyone can ALWAYS learn something new at any age. Never stop learning about things you want to know.
Vegetables you grew yourself tend to taste so much better since YOU KNOW who grew them…..YOU! It’s all of your hard work sitting on your plate!
Some of the things we will cover that you should know is:
- Garden Planning
- Knowing your Zone
- Soil Know How
These are all important factors when it comes to gardening at any stage. If you want to be successful you want to pay attention to these important areas.
So where do we start?
Garden Planning for Beginners
One of THE most important things is your garden plan.
Firstly, you want to look at HOW much space you have for your garden set-up. This will be the key to knowing also how much you can plant.
Everyone has a different amount of space. Maybe you only have an acre, or maybe you have a LOT of acreage.
No matter what the size is you can still have some type of garden!
Necessarily raised beds may be the easiest garden for beginners, but even a traditional garden can be easy.
Raised garden beds help keep the weeds to a minimum, which can be an extremely helpful thing.
For example, if you are a person who NEEDS things to look nice and tidy, you may really like the thought of raised beds since it makes things look more organized and eye appealing.
With raised beds it also can help keep critters like rabbits and snails out of your garden, which is helpful especially for beginners not used to having to deal with that issue.
For information on HOW to make raised garden beds and the benefits of them, you can read our fantastic article here.
A traditional garden can be VERY easy for beginners, just try to avoid making the garden bigger than you can take care of.
These can be a bit more work just because of the fact that you HAVE to stay on top of weeding with the garden being in the ground.
For a traditional garden you WILL need a garden tiller, or plow and disc for a tractor if you are making a large garden.
**Tillers can typically be rented if you do not want to buy one right away. If you need a larger tiller they can tend to be expensive. The smaller ones aren’t too bad of a price.
Each type of vegetables need a certain amount of space and area to grow in.
If they do not have the amount of space they need to grow, they can overrun each other and cause half of them not to grow. They all need a certain amount of light and room to stretch.
Things such as squash, pumpkins, and watermelons are typically grown on mounds and need 3 feet of space between each plant. These plants stretch out long and need this space.
Other types of vegetables may only need a few inches to a foot of space. Packing on the seeds will tell you exactly what the plant needs.
When thinking about what types of vegetables you would like to plant, you really need to look up your grow zone.
Your growing zone can determine what you can plant in your area. Certain crops may not grow well, or grow at all depending on your location.
There is a great zone locator here, it is based on your zip code to help give an exact answer. It is a great tool for beginners since you want to grow crops that WILL grow in your location.
Part of your garden planning is also picking out a good location for it to be.
No matter if you are choosing to do a traditional garden or raised garden beds you need to put it in a SUNNY location.
Vegetable gardens need plenty of sun.
For the traditional garden, you want to be sure that the area you are choosing is NOT prone to flooding. Too much water is bad for your plants since they will become water logged and not grow.
Beginners DO NOT want to make a big mistake like putting their garden in a flood zone.
*Wind is also a factor you want to consider. Crops like corn can be blown over in an area that has too much high winds.
Soil Basics for Beginners
Another incredibly important aspect of gardening.
Soil, and soil quality is EXTREMELY important when it comes to gardening.
Some areas may have rich soil to begin with, some areas may not and that’s still not an issue since you can make the soil rich.
You may have seen farmers add lime to their soils before planting. Some plants do well with lime being added. Soil can tend to be too acidic. Plants that do not like acidic soil are:
Compost is a great way to make your soil rich. It is also very easy to do if you want to make your own compost.
You can read all about composting here in our Composting 101 article.
Getting Your Soil Ready
So you’ve planned out where your garden is going and what type of garden you will be doing.
It is time to get your soil ready for planting. Even for beginners, learning how to make great soil is actually pretty simple and doesn’t take a lot of hard work to figure out.
Traditional Garden Soil
Since your garden is now mapped out you can start tilling the soil.
Till the entire area of your garden.
You will want to till the soil a few different times before you begin planting. Do this on different days so the soil has time to sit.
Soft tilled soil is a lot easier to plant in than hard compact soil.
If you are adding lime to your soil you will want to sprinkle it all over the tilled soil, then till it into the soil so it can be mixed well. Let the lime sit for a few days to a week so it can work its magic.
The same can be done if you are adding compost to your soil.
Raised Garden Bed Soil
Brand new beds can be filled and mixed with the proper proportions of soil and compost.
For raised beds being used again you will just want to mix up the soil to loosen it. You can use a manual tiller for raised beds to help mix and loosen soil, it also helps you mix in new compost to your existing soil.
Vegetables for Beginners
Next, you need to of course choose your seeds!
Choosing high quality seeds can be very helpful. Also, there are some go-to vegetables that are great for a beginner since they are VERY easy to grow.
Super easy to grow vegetables:
- Zucchini Squash
- Bush Beans
You may choose to start them from seeds in your garden or start them indoors with a seed starter tray. Personally we tend to start ours indoors since we know the plants will grow.
Gardening tip: If you are started with seeds in the garden you can soak the seeds overnight before planting to help kick start the germination process.
The type of vegetable will determine if they need to be planted in rows or mounds.
Tomatoes do well with some type of tomato cage or tomato stake.
Make sure that plants are planted with the proper amount of space they need to grow. Common gardening mistakes happen but should be avoided.
Beginners Proper Watering Guide
Of course, as soon as you plant your seeds or pre grown plants in the garden they NEED to be watered.
After the initial watering, your watering schedule can depend on your weather.
If you KNOW it’s going to rain then obviously you will not need to water that day.
With hot weather and no rain you will need to keep on top of watering. You can water every day to every other day depending on your weather conditions in the area.
DO NOT over water your garden since you do not want root rot. At the same time you do not want to under water your garden either since without the proper amount of water your plants can die.
Keep watering to the evenings when possible to ensure that you do not cause your plants to bake in the sun.
You MUST weed your garden!
Weeds will overtake your garden and smother your plants.
As I had stated, the raised beds have the advantage of not getting as much weed growth as the traditional gardens can.
You can use garden tools or your hands to pull weeds.
We have a great article about “Taking Back Your Overgrown Garden” in the event that it ever happens.
If you stay on top of weeds it will make things easier and it will make continual weeding easier since there won’t be as much.
Yay! You’ve made it to harvesting time. Congratulations!!
It is such an exciting thing when it’s time to pick and harvest the vegetables that you grew YOURSELF!
Different vegetables have different harvesting guidelines.
Types such as green beans and tomatoes are very easy since green beans get long and big, and tomatoes turn nice and red. Those are SUPER easy signs that it’s time to pick them.
Squashes can be a bit harder but not too hard. Summer squash and Zucchini are easy to tell since you can more watch their size and color. Summer squash turns dark yellow and can range in size, Zucchini will become dark green and get HUGE!
Corn has hairs that will turn dark brown close to the time that they are ready to harvest, you can also pull some of the husk down to check the corn itself.
If you are inquisitive about when to pull a vegetable for harvest you can also look up guidelines on what to look for if you are unsure.
Seriously, Anyone Can Garden
We are HUGE believers in the fact that anyone can garden.
If you learn the basic skills you need to know, you can grow anything!
Gardening is incredibly healthy for you and as I said anyone can do it.
Just because you may not know how to do it, does not mean you cannot learn. You can learn anything that you want to, and gardening is one of the simplest things to learn.
YOU can grow a fantastic garden and be able to harvest and eat your OWN vegetables you grew.