How to Start a Garden: Beginner Steps to Better Produce
What constitutes a garden?
A garden is any small piece of earth where vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, or plants are grown.
Today, we’ll equip you with all the basic information you need to start growing a garden and begin reaping the benefits of having direct access to fresh, local produce.
What to grow and where to grow it
First, you will need to determine what types of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs you want to grow in your space. Write out a list of vegetables and fruits you love eating the most, then whittle down your selection by researching which ones can grow in the climate you live in.
A majority of fruits and vegetables require about 5-6 hours of direct sunlight per day, so choose an exposed portion of your yard that receives ample sunlight.
If this is your first garden, don’t overwhelm yourself with a sizey plot of space that will require hours of care. Start with a square or rectangle that is between 6-10 feet per side.
When you eventually place your plants and seeds into the ground, they will appear tiny, which might urge you to plant them too close together side-by-side.
Be sure to read up on each plant you choose to figure out how much space it will need when it starts to grow and extend its roots into the ground.
Making space and mapping it out
Once you have the space for your garden mapped out, you’ll need to remove the lawn and any other vegetation covering the ground so you have space and depth to plant in.
To remove the top layer of lawn, we recommend using a sod cutter or sharp spade to accurately cut away the lawn and keep the measured parameters of your garden intact.
Now that you can see the shape and size of your garden, you will need to design small rows and beds to separate your plants and give each one space to grow. We recommend sketching this out to refer to later.
Preparing the soil
The natural soil beneath your old lawn probably isn’t nutrient-rich and healthy enough to adequately support new plants and vegetables.
To create proper planting soil, you will need to mix compost and amendments into the existing soil to transform it into something plants and vegetables can thrive in.
Head over to the Compost & Amendments page of the America DIY site to find local landscaping suppliers near you who sell the best nourishing soil blends to start your garden off right.
Plants and seeds
When you go to purchase and gather up your seeds and plants, make sure each package or tag tells you how deep to place each plant in the ground. If this isn’t clearly written, search online to find the correct depth.
Now you’re ready to give each plant a home and kick off your new garden.
Before you start digging, refer to your original garden plan, adhering to the neat rows and beds you laid out in your sketch.
1. Start digging holes of varying depths for each type of plant or seed you purchased, and fill soil in around the plant.
2. Next, softly press down around the base of each plant.
3. Now, give each plant a thorough watering to bind the soil together and prevent air pockets from forming around them.
4. Finally, add a top layer of mulch around each plant in your garden. Mulch works to retain moisture in the soil to keep your plants healthy and strong.
In need of good mulch?
Maintain and harvest
Regular maintenance will keep your garden spry and strong. To determine when to water, stick your finger an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time for another good watering.
Be sure to keep an eye on the grass surrounding your garden and trim away any lawn or vegetation that creeps too close to your garden rows or beds.
You may also need to weed around your plants and vegetables and keep a lookout for pests.
Before you know it, tasty, organic, locally-grown produce will begin sprouting up that will heighten the flavor and variety of all your meals.