Want to get into gardening but not sure where to start? Learn all the gardening tips for beginners you need to be successful!
Use Quality Soil
The number one tip I have for growing a successful garden is to use quality soil. This could mean amending your existing soil to be a beautiful sandy-loam texture or purchasing and bringing in new soil.
But I also had amazingly productive plants, 6-7 ft tall tomato plants, 4 ft tall pepper plants, and produced enough food to feed my family and 6 others. It was well worth the cost!!
In addition to purchasing the high-quality soil, I added peat moss and pearlite to it to help with moisture retention and compaction. I wanted the soil to be the perfect setup for my plants.
If you are interested in amending your existing soil, this post about Soil Quality goes into more depth on how you can do that. It will give you ratios for organic matter and what compost you should be using.
If you want more information on composting, check out this post! How to Compost – it will give you all the information you need to make your own organic matter to mix into your garden soil.
My second most important tip is to water consistently! This makes such a huge difference in your garden. Most plants will grow best on a regular watering schedule. It is well worth your time and money to invest in an automatic timer for your watering system.
I also love the drip irrigation system we installed throughout my garden. This was also expensive to do, but only because I have 30 boxes and two large beds we were watering.
You can read more about watering your garden and how to know if you are watering your it enough in the linked post!
Following planting and throughout the season, you’ll want to fertilize your plants. This will help them start out strong and then have the nutrients they need throughout the season to produce well.
I have tried out a wide variety of fertilizers from Miracle-Gro to fancy organic brands and I always go back to the basics. Miracle-Gro works best in my garden, feel free to do your own experimentation and see what works best for you.
Plant at the Correct Time
Nothing is worse than putting a lot of time into starting seedlings indoors or spending a lot of money on started plants only to have them freeze and die after you plant them outside.
Always wait until the last frost date to plant your seedlings outside. This may seem like a long time to wait, but it is much better to lose a week or two of growth to avoid killing your plants.
It is also very important to harden off your seedlings before planting them outside. Hardening off is simply the process of acclimating your seedlings to the temperature and elements outdoors. It’s easy to do, here’s how!
How to Harden Off Seedlings
- On warm days about two weeks before you want to plant outside, place seedlings in a sunny spot.
- Bring them in for the night.
- Do this each day. They may fall over at first but after a few days, they should become stronger and more able to resist wind.
- After the seedlings have spent about a week outside, on warm nights where there is no danger of freezing leave the seedlings out.
- Finally, plant them in the garden after the last frost date.
Plant with the Correct Spacing
Planting seedlings at the correct spacing is very important to keep them healthy and productive. Plants that are planted too close together compete with each other for nutrients and water.
Planting them the correct spacing alleviates this extra stress on the plants and allows them to be even more productive.
In addition to reducing competition between plants, planting seedlings at the correct spacing reduces the risk for pests and disease to impact your plants. When the plants get bigger, they will create a lot of humidity between them.
Humid and wet plants are a perfect breeding ground for pests and disease. Obviously sick and diseased plants aren’t going to grow or produce well and they may even die.
Watch for Pests and Disease
Lastly, watch your plants closely for pests and disease. Catching problems early and treating them is key for gardening success.
While I think that natural or home remedies are great options for preventing pests and disease, I do recommend treating your plants with commercial products if you already have an issue. These products are safe, targeted, and effective.
If you are hesitant to use a product because it has “chemicals” in it, remember that everything is made of chemicals and they are tools, just like anything else. The dose makes the poison, and often these commercial pest and disease controls are much safer than natural remedies.
It is also important to note that creating your own concoctions to treat plants for pests and disease is actually illegal. All pest and disease control needs to be regulated and following the label instructions is also a law.