Welcome to the Wonderful World of Gardening!
Gardening is a rewarding hobby that can provide you with fresh food, beautiful flowers, and a sense of accomplishment. It's also a great way to get outdoors and connect with nature and ground a bit (if that's your thing). But if you're new to gardening, it can be a bit daunting. Where do you even begin?
Don't worry, I'm here to help. Because I'm also a complete novice and am learning from the beginning. We can do it together!
This blog post will walk you through the basics of getting it all started and the things I'm doing as a novice gardener.
Step 1: Choose your plants.
Before you start planting, you need to decide what you want to grow. Do you want to grow vegetables, flowers, herbs, or a combination of all three? Once you know what you want to grow, you can do some research to find out which plants are best suited for your climate and growing conditions. I have a note on my phone I add plant and flower varieties so if I'm out and about or hear someone mention one that sounds appealing I add it to the list. For example, here's what's in mine.
African blue basil
I also have a garden journal where I can write down times in my calendar when it's planting season for each particular one, and any other info I might need to help me stay organized. Maybe try that to get your head going in the right direction!
Here are some things to consider when choosing plants:
Your climate: Some plants are more tolerant of cold weather than others. If you live in a cold climate, you'll need to choose plants that can withstand the frost. Just go online and google your zone (mine is 8b). This will be your guide to the climate in your area.
Your sunlight: Some plants need full sun, while others prefer partial shade. Be sure to choose plants that are right for the amount of sunlight your garden gets and consider this when setting up the location you plan to plant.
Your soil: Different plants have different soil requirements. You'll need to amend your soil to make sure it's right for the plants you want to grow.
Step 2: Prepare your planting area.
Once you've chosen your plants, it's time to prepare your planting area. This will involve clearing away any debris, loosening the soil, and adding compost or other organic matter. If you want to get fancy, you can draw out a grid on Canva or just good old-fashion paper and make note of the locations where you want to place your plants. Keeping in mind the sunny spots, and what plants like to be paired with each other. Something I'm still having to research and if you're a novice gardener too, might help, is just start with one you're interested in say "green beans". Listen to a podcast about growing green beans the next time you cook or sit and fold laundry. Learn what you can about that particular veggie and write down notes later in your garden journal.
Step 3: Get Advice & Help
I used to be such a stickler for wanting to learn things on my own, sort of a self-discovery kinda gal but when it comes to gardening since it can be so overwhelming and easy to screw up, getting advice is important. Last week I listened to a podcast purely dedicated to growing beets. I downloaded some gardening books on my Kindle, found some books at the thrift store on flowers, and even went on EventBrite to sign up for some online class style gardening webinars. Here's the link to the Hobby and Craft webinars currently available. It's fun to learn new stuff and if you're a homebody like me, a little social interaction can do you good.
This past month we also went to the Home & Garden show, where I bought two dahlia varieties and that was a great place to ask the experts about gardening tips. The owner of Dan's Dahlia's invited us down any time to take a peek at his open dahlia garden this summer, and hands out a super informative care-sheet when you make a purchase. His advice for these particular dahlia's in our region is to plant them around mother's day which is an easy day to remember. There's also a lavender festival around here in July I was informed of so that's on the agena too! To help stay motivated, maybe book yourself in to some classes, workshops, and events that pertain to flowers and veggies so you can keep up the momentum!
Gardening is a journey, not a destination. There will be successes and failures along the way, but the most important thing is to enjoy the process. So get out there, get your hands dirty, and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor.
Enjoy your starter garden planning!