Hands Holding Soil Gardening

Gardening 101, How To Start A Garden

| Andrew Boersma

As we enter into the growing season, many people rush to Home Depot and Lowes to begin planning their summer garden. Tomato seedlings, herbs, and more sell out of stores everywhere. But many people have all the gusto to begin their garden and not a lot of know-how to see it through, so start small. 

Need some tips to plan and prepare for your summer garden? Need some garden answers? Look no further! We’ve got you covered. 

How To Pick Your Garden’s Location 

Gardening is a delicate balance of finding the right soil, sunlight, watering schedule, and nutrients to make sure your plants grow to their fullest potential. Planning where to put your garden is much like investing in real estate - location matters. Think through what you want to plant and its requirements. What part of your yard gets the best natural light? What kind of plants do you want to grow? What kind of light do those plants need? Most plants will need six hours of full sunlight in order to thrive. Make sure the plants you chose match your growing conditions. If you live in a humid or extremely hot area, choose plants that will be able to tolerate the summer heat.

Make sure to research what your garden requires and group plants accordingly. If two different types of plants require the same type of light and watering schedule, plant them near each other. Wherever you plant your garden, make sure it’s somewhere that you can easily see and access it. Make sure it is close to a hose or other water source for consistent watering. 

Testing the Soil

The type of soil you have in your garden will affect its growth. Some soil is extremely clay-heavy, while other locations have soil rich in limestone. Research the area you are in and find out if your garden might need to be planted in a raised bed, or if certain minerals or plant foods should be added. This will set your garden up for success! 

If you’ve already spent several years cultivating your garden but want to add some new plants, remember to never plant the same thing in the same plot of soil for more than two years in a row. Repetitive planting will strip your soil of nutrients over time. Make sure you rotate them every other year so your garden soil stays nutrient-rich. It also helps to group your plants according to their needs. Oftentimes, herbs and peppers are a great compliment to other vegetables, particularly tomatoes. Stagger them in your garden beds and make sure they are appropriately distanced so their roots don’t get tangled underground. 

It helps to add a layer of mulch to your garden, roughly 2-3” deep, to help reduce weeds and moisture loss through evaporation. You can also put down straw, shredded leaves, pine straw, or other locally available materials.

Soil is most effective when combined with high-quality nutrition. Great topsoil is necessary, but with an added boost of nutrients, you’re really setting your garden up for success. Some plants do best with an added boost of plant food mixed into the top few inches of soil every 2-3 months. Make sure you research your individual plants to determine their needs.  

Consider Using Garden Containers

If you don’t have optimal sunlight or aren’t sure if your soil is going to work for your plants, consider growing plants in containers. You can grow many plants in pots, including vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruit trees, berries, and shrubs. When planting seedlings, use garden containers that will match their expected growth. Get a great potting mix from your local garden store and add potting mix or plant food for added nutrients. Make sure your garden containers have draining holes to avoid root rot or any other diseases and help prevent over-watering. Container planting also makes it easy for you to move your plants to different areas depending on their light requirements, or indoors in case of intense storms or sudden frost. Knowing your area’s frost dates and keeping track of the weather are super important keys to keep your plants happy and healthy. 

Check out our online store for a variety of planters and other products to help you grow your dream garden! 

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