Last Updated on January 13, 2022
When people consider becoming a gardener, they typically look to experts for advice and watch videos of flourishing gardens crammed with productive plants and abundant harvests. These individuals have been doing this for a long time, perfecting their green thumb while also learning what it takes to succeed.
However, if you are a first time gardener and just getting started with your own garden, you might find yourself overwhelmed by this desire to become a great gardener. Rather than thinking big and expensive, it is essential to remember that gardening is more about the experience than perfection.
If your goal is simply to have some pleasant greenery to look at, you can accomplish that with just a few plants.
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What is Gardening?
Gardening is a healthy pastime that has been around for thousands of years. People of all ages have enjoyed growing plants and flowers, getting their hands dirty as they help these little seedlings grow into beautiful blossoms.
Gardening isn’t just about planting seeds and harvesting vegetables, although those activities are essential for gardening. To garden successfully, you also need to know when you should start seeds or when to transplant them outdoors, when and how much to water them, and how often to add fertilizer.
When you add all these activities together, it is easy to see why gardening can take up a lot of time — which is precisely why many beginners choose more manageable tasks such as potted plants or container gardens.
Why Start a Garden?
You might want to start a garden for the promise of fresh vegetables, to save money on grocery expenses by growing your own.
The desire to have a beautiful garden full of flowers is just as important to some who desire to have a new garden.
Flowers have always been appreciated for their beauty, but they also have practical uses. Some are edible and can be used in meals or teas, while others are helpful when it comes to natural remedies, poultices, perfumes, and other concoctions.
Plant your flowers in containers if you are short on time, live in an apartment building where there isn’t much room for gardening, or simply want to take it slow when becoming a gardener.
The Right Tools for the Job
One of the most common mistakes people make when starting a garden is rushing out to buy tools that are too large or too expensive.
If you are just starting out, go to a local hardware store and ask for basic tools that are not the most expensive. Experienced gardeners will tell you that you don’t need that as a beginning gardener. Here’s what you will need:
- A trowel
- A spade
- A watering can
- Gardening gloves
Don’t forget about safety! Gardening can be dangerous, which is why you should always wear gloves and learn to identify poisonous plants.
While there are some aspects such as sunlight requirements, water needs, and temperature zones that cannot be ignored, it is important to remember that gardening can be as easy — or as challenging — as you want to make it.
Start small as a new gardener
One of the easiest ways to succeed as a new gardener is to plant something that requires little maintenance, like herbs, flowers, and vegetables.
First time gardeners should consider how many plants they can handle as well as what they are going to grow.
Some of the best plants for new gardeners include:
- Herbs — Basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, thyme. Each herb can be planted in pots or in rows in your patch.
- Tomatoes — Be sure to pick a good spot with lots of sun and shelter from strong winds for your tomato plants.
- Vegetables — Lettuce, onions, radishes, just to name a few simple-to-grow vegetables for beginners. It is a good idea to start with a few plants and if you have room for more plants in your garden space, then add more each year.
- Many types of flowers are also easy to grow, making them an ideal choice for new gardeners.
Here are some examples of flowers that are easy to grow:
• African daisies – African daisies grow well in the sun.
• Daisy – Most daisy family flowers are easy to grow and need little attention.
• Geraniums – Many types of geraniums grow well in the spring, summer, and fall as long as they have some shade during the hotter parts of the day.
• Impatiens – The bushy kind that do well in shade can be started from seed.
• Petunias – In an area with good sun, they only need a little water every few days.
• Zinnias – They are members of the daisy family and thrive in areas that get at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
If you’re just starting out, it is a good idea to plan your garden so there are different types of flowers and plants. That way, if one type does not grow well for some reason, the rest will provide beauty the entire season.
Planting your first garden
Planting your very first garden can be both an educational and enjoyable experience. And you know what? A small garden can be beautiful, productive, and a wise choice as a first time gardener!
To help you get started, consider the following tips:
Learn all about your soil. Strive to understand as a first time gardener what the composition of your soil is. Is your soil sandy, does it have clay in it, will you need to add organic matter to the soil?
You should start by deciding where you will plant your fruits and vegetables. While some gardeners prefer to plant their crops in rows, others opt for a more random pattern. Whichever style you choose, be sure that it is one that you can maintain regularly.
Some gardeners prefer raised beds, which are typically 12 inches tall and at least 18 inches wide. While these beds are more prominent than container gardens, they don’t take up as much space as traditional rows would require.
For those who live in cold climates, you must consider what the frost dates are in your region as well as your hardiness zone, as that will indicate what your gardening season will be along with the best types of flowers and vegetables to plant.
Still, once winter arrives, you might have to wait months before your plants begin bearing fruit or vegetables again.
It is also crucial that you give yourself plenty of time before your first harvest for the best results. Most fruit and vegetable plants need time to mature after they have been planted, and you should wait until they at least show signs of bearing fruit or vegetables before harvesting the entire plant.
Planting a garden is fun and rewarding whether you use a raised bed or grow in rows. Be sure to consider which types of plants and gardening styles work best for you and your family before you begin planting.
Will you use seed packets, seedings, or a combination of both?
As a gardener, you’re almost like a parent to these seedlings. You have to take care of all of their needs, nutrients, protection from pests, and more.
You’ll have a much easier (and enjoyable) time knowing you aren’t overwhelmed with an enormous workload than if you did just enough to enjoy and learn from a smaller area.
Remember that it may take two seasons before your garden gives back to you.
In Closing: First Time Gardener
Beginners often overlook these basics when they get started because they crave that feeling of being a master experienced gardener, but the experience is not about perfection. It is more about enjoying your garden while learning what works for you and adjusting your gardening techniques to fit your lifestyle.
The next time you are ready to start growing plants in your own space, try starting small and work your way up. You might find that you enjoy it even more than you thought possible.
Recommended Reading for Beginning Gardeners:
Beginners often overlook these basics when they get started because they crave that feeling of being a master gardener, but the experience is not about perfection. It is more about enjoying your garden while learning what works for you and adjusting your gardening techniques to fit your lifestyle. The next time you are ready to start growing plants in your own space, try starting small and work your way up. You might find that you enjoy it even more than you thought possible.