Want to plant a garden and looking for some tips? We’ve learned a lot over the past several years. Here are some of our best tips for beginner gardeners!
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As I said in last week’s post, we inherited an already-planted garden when we moved, and we fell in love with it!
We’ve been gardening for several years now, and we have learned quite a few lessons along the way!
Though we are by no means experts and still have a LOT to learn ourselves, I wanted to share a few beginning gardening tips that I think will really help you as you begin your gardening journey.
Our Best Beginner Gardening Tips
Start Small & Work Your Way Up
I mentioned this tip in my last post and admitted that we did not do this. After falling fast and hard for vegetable gardening that first year, we went all in the second year – guns blazing! Even though we were brand spankin’ new to vegetable gardening, we planted a huge garden with everything we could possibly want in it.
The result? We quickly got burned out when things started coming up, especially with the weeds. We had decided to avoid the use of chemicals (a decision we have firmly stuck to) and did not have a tiller that could handle a garden that size, so the weeds very quickly overtook us and overwhelmed us.
If we could do it all over again, we would start smaller, master that size, and then add more plants. And if we could give one piece of advice to beginner gardeners it would be to start small and gradually add more to your plate.
Stay on Top of Things
This would be our second biggest piece of advice. Our garden is fairly large, so it takes a LOT of regular maintenance. We share the garden and the responsibilities with my parents, so it’s not all on just Levon and me, but it’s still a lot of work for four people!
We have found that there is no room for procrastination when you have a large garden. Especially if you are doing it organically, because the weeds will quickly overtake you!
The key is consistent, regular weeding and maintenance. You may not always feel like it, but you’ll be glad you did when you have a nice-looking and fruitful garden!
Proper Fertilizer is Important
We did not do anything to the soil between the first year that we inherited the garden and the second year when we planted it ourselves, and we learned from that mistake! Our yield that year was okay, but not great.
Before our second year of planting, we spread the garden with manure, and we invested a little extra time and money in soil preparation when we planted our transplants.
What a difference that made! As you looked across the garden you could literally pick out the places that had gotten extra fertilizer because the plants flourished so much more. Lesson learned – don’t skip the fertilizer!
Get the Timing Right
We are finding that timing really does matter! The first year we planted, we planted a few things too late (we were a little busy with Aidan’s birth that year to plant during the ideal time!), and we didn’t have good success with them.
Then last year, we overcompensated for our mistake by planting much earlier, and a late frost demolished our entire bean crop. We got almost nothing from all the beans we planted (which was a lot!). It was very disappointing!
After a couple of years of trial and error, we finally got it right. So, beginner gardener tip #4: pay attention to frost dates and recommended planting dates!
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
I’ll leave you with this final piece of gardening advice – remind yourself often of the reasons you decided to plant your garden.
This will be especially important during that limbo time between planting and harvest when you’re working hard and not yet reaping the rewards.
Be patient and keep your eyes on the prize — those mouth-watering vegetables, full of flavor and nutrients for your family! It may not seem like it when you’re in the thick of it, but the work WILL be worth it when you’re enjoying the luscious fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor!
Resources for Beginning Gardeners
- New Complete Guide to Gardening (Better Homes & Gardens)
- Treasury of Gardening: Annuals, Perennials, Vegetables & Herbs, Landscape Design, Specialty Gardens
- Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac – This is the 2017 Special Anniversary Edition, but you can find the 2016 edition here.
- The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible
- Vegetable Gardening: Beginner’s Guide To Growing Organic Vegetables At Home (Indoor, Outdoor, Basics, Design, Planner)
- Tomato Container Gardening: How to Grow Tomatoes in Small Spaces
- Food Grown Right in Your Backyard
- All New Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space
Places to Learn More Gardening Tips:
- Master Gardeners – The Master Gardener program provides intensive training to garden-loving individuals who then volunteer in their communities as Master Gardeners. These Master Gardeners teach classes, host seminars, and generally make themselves available for questions and advice. We have learned SO much from the Master Gardeners in our area. I highly encourage you to find the ones in your community. You can find the Master Gardeners in your state here.
- Public Library – This is always a good place to find the information you’re seeking! Find a wide variety of gardening books and resources at your local public library – for FREE! Plus, many public libraries are a hub for community programs, classes, and activities, so you can be on the lookout there for any classes on gardening.
- Extension Offices & Community Colleges – We took a free class last summer on gardening, preserving, and nutrition through our local university extension office that was very beneficial! They are a great way to learn more about a variety of things!
As I stated at the beginning, this isn’t a post from a master gardener. We still have much room for improvement! But we have learned a few things from our experiences, and we wanted to share them with you both to encourage you to start a garden and in the hopes that you might learn from our experience and avoid our mistakes!
Be sure to check out the rest of my 4 Weeks to Glorious Gardening series!
- Week 1: 7 Benefits of Growing Your Own Garden
- Week 2: Lessons From a Greenhorn Gardener
- Week 3: All About Herb Gardening
- Week 4: How to Store & Preserve Your Fresh-Grown Produce