Getting Started on Your Home Garden
Gardening is a peaceful and healthy habit that we recommend all homeowners get into. But what if you've never gardened before? Try using these tips to get you started:
Site: Your garden needs to be in a smart location. Think about it like your house: location is everything. The garden should be set up in a spot where you can see it everyday, which will allow you to interact with it on a regular basis. If your garden is out of sight, then it will most likely be out of mind as well. Since gardens need to be taken care of, you don't want to be forgetting about it or you'll be left with a patch of dead plants and dry soil.
Sunlight: Many new gardeners forget to take exposure to the sun into account. Before deciding on a location for your garden, make sure you spend a bit of time pinpointing the part of your yard which is most exposed to sunlight throughout the day. Most plants (especially the edible ones that make gardening fun) need at least 6 hours of sunlight in order to gain the proper amount of nutrients that allows them to thrive.
Water Accessibility: Anyone, regardless of gardening skills, knows that you need to water your plants in order for them to survive. Going off that, make sure you can run a hose to your garden site. Lugging water to your garden every time your plants need water is effective, but can be tiring at times. An easy way to tell if your plants need watering is to push your finger into the soil. When you are an inch deep into the soil, if it is still dry this means that it's time to water your plants.
Soil: If you want the perfect garden, then you're going to want the perfect soil for said garden. Good soil is rich in nutrients while also being well drained. We recommend mixing 3 inches of all purpose garden soil into the top 6 to 8 inches of existing soil. If you decide that instead of planting on the ground you want to plant on a raised bed, then make sure to use raised bed soil instead. This type of soil has a different weight and texture which is perfect for raised bed gardening.
Choosing Plants: If you pick plants without first looking at your growing conditions, you may hit a wall later on. For starters, sun-loving plants should be placed in the sunniest parts of your garden. Along with this, melons and pumpkins which have many vines are going to need more elbow room than other plants. You should also make sure your area's climate is suitable for whatever plants you're going for. A good way to do this is to know your hardiness zone. The higher the zone number, the warmer the climate. This means that if a plant can live in zone 4 and your zone is a 5, the plant will do just fine.
Frost Dates: Lastly, you're going to want to know your frost dates by heart. Planting too early or too late into a season will result in a ruined garden down the line. If you know the last average spring frost date, you can avoid killing your plants by planting them prematurely. Going off that, knowing your first average fall frost date will allow you to harvest or take in any plants before they are damaged by the late-season cold.