Time to Plant the Garden!

If you are thinking about starting a garden here are a few tips and tricks that might help you get started.  If you have questions or comments please feel free to share them.


Want to start a garden but don't know where to start?

  • The first answer is that there is no right or wrong way to garden, there is just gardening.
  • Now that you have some confidence you will need to decide on how big of a garden you want.  Keep in mind the yields and if you want to share or canning extras.  A lot of new gardeners end up with so many zucchini and tomatoes that their neighbors stop answering the door for fear of more "gifts"
  • You will also have to decide if you are planting from seed or plants or a mix.
  • Another decision is if you want to do raised beds or a traditional on the ground style garden.  There are pros and cons of both but here are a few I can think of
    • Raised beds you will have to build, obtain soil to put in them.  However, if done properly they can provide a higher per square foot yield, and can be very pleasing to the eye.

    • Traditional Garden can be harder to keep orderly, more weeding, and less structure.  However, there is less up front cost and can also be very pretty, also less structure can be a good thing, especially if space is not an issue!

  • Once you have decided on which to do it is time to prepare the soil and set up how you want your garden design to look.
    • Decide where you want everything and what you want your garden to look like, I like to draw it out or even do design on the computer.  Keep in mind, at least for me, my garden never looks exactly like what I set out for it to look like.  
    • A tip I just heard is to have your rows run north and south to take advantage of the sun
    • With raised beds look into Square Foot Gardening planting sections instead of rows.
    • Follow the instructions on the packets as far as spacing
    • With either style you will have to till the soil so it is loose and can drain properly.
    • You will want to add compost and / or nutrients as needed for your vegetable types.
    • If doing rows, I like to stake on both ends and run a string.  This keeps my rows straight.
    • Always have a way to reach all the parts of the garden, if rows have enough room to walk through. If raised beds don't make them too big that you cannot reach across.
    • Consider a fence to keep animals and small children out of the garden to protect them and the veggies!
  • Now plant, this is a lot of the fun as you get to really see the garden start to come together.  
    • As you are deciding which plants to plant consider putting in some flowers and grasses.  
    • Certain flowers, like marigolds, will actually repel bugs and varmints, like rabbits and deer.  That way they can protect and make a more visual garden.

    • Remember some plants do not get along and can over shadow one another.  Your packets can tell you some of this as well
  • Once it is all plated you will need to water, follow your area's guidelines on watering but as your seeds germinate into plants they will need more water than later in the season.
    • This is very important, you want to see your progress, weed a little every day so that it does not get away from you.  
    • It is also good for your soul, and is one of the biggest joys of having a garden.
    • Even if it is only for a little while everyday, get out there! 
    • If possible plant your garden close to the door you use everyday.  That way you have to and get to see it.  

I hope this is helpful.  There is a lot of work and joy in the garden.  Plant the veggies you love, plant some that you are not your favorite as well, they might become so as they are so much better fresh out of your own labor.  Don't forget to have fun!

One final tip, it is more fun to garden with someone, and can be a great way to bond as a family or community!

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