Whether you’ve just bought your first house with a yard or you’re looking for a new hobby, there are lots of reasons to take up gardening. It’s great for staying active, can improve your mental health and has many environmental benefits.
Gardening can also seem overwhelming for beginners, and it can be tricky to know where to start. Check out these beginner gardening tips to find out everything you need to know:
1. Soil is Essential
The first step in gardening is making sure you have great soil. Without high quality soil, your plants won’t be able to get the nutrients they need to survive and stay healthy. It’s unlikely that the soil in your backyard will have everything you need for healthy plants, so it’s important to buy some high quality soil. You can also add organic mulch, compost, fallen leaves and other organic matter to improve your soil’s quality. Know the difference between types of soils and the kinds of plants you’ll be planting. Get more tips for building healthy soil.
2. Don’t Plant Right Away
You may be itching to get out into your garden and start planting right away, but there are a couple of steps you should take first. Before you do anything, you should loosen your soil so that it gets more air. This is also a great time to work in the new soil or organic matter to give your existing soil more nutrients. Whenever possible, avoid walking on garden beds, as this will compact the soil. We recommend planning your garden before planting. Identify the quantity and size of plants you need, and try to ensure that you have plants with varying heights to add dimension to your garden. Plants with similar water and sun requirements are best planted together.
3. Know How to Shop For Plants
Plant shopping is a bit more involved than just choosing the plants you like. Try to choose plants with lots of buds, rather than open flowers. Know the difference between annuals and perennials (annuals die at the end of their growing season, while perennials will come back next spring). Choose healthy looking plants that are bug-free, and read the labels so you know how much maintenance they’ll require. Also be sure to buy plants that are appropriate for your hardiness zone.
4. Choose the Right Plants
Plants come in a wide range of types, including annuals and perennials. Other types include bulbs, shrubs, trees, vines and turfgrass. You can choose a mixture of plants, but you should prioritize plants that are disease-resistant, pest-resistant, weather tolerant and hardy overall.
5. Keep Your Plants Alive
Once you’ve finished planting, the work has really just begun. Gardening is an ongoing project and requires regular maintenance and care to get the best results. Your plants will probably need to be watered heavily right after they’ve been planted, and will require regular, deep watering. The best time of day to water is at the beginning of the day, and plants in pots will need to be watered more often. In addition to watering regularly, you’ll want to continue to nourish your soil. Your plants will use the nutrients, so you’ll need to keep adding more to ensure that they’re fed and remain healthy.
6. Fertilize & Mulch
Fertilizing is not only an important part of keeping your plants alive, but it can help make your plants look their best. Fertilizing helps your plants produce more flowers or fruit (depending on your plant), and there are lots of ways to do this. You can buy plant fertilizers, or you can start a compost heap in your yard for free. You should also mulch your garden beds, not just for the nutrients they provide, but for the protection as well. Mulch helps protect your plants from drying out and can block unwanted weeds from growing in your well-planned beds. Mulch also attracts earthworms which are an easy way to get healthy soil.
7. Stock Up on Gardening Tools
The key to any successful hobby is having the right tools, and that’s especially true for gardening. The right tools don’t just make gardening a lot easier, they also make your garden look better. Be sure you have a sturdy shovel or spade and a hand trowel to make digging easier. Get a wide garden fork to make loosening the soil easier; you can also use the fork for mixing compost and moving mulch. Having a pair of high-quality garden shears is essential, and you should keep them clean and sharp to prevent transferring diseases between plants.
With the right knowledge and supplies, it’s not hard to go from a gardening beginner to a pro! Get all of the mulch, soil and aggregates you need to keep your garden healthy from Dirt Cheap.