Important Things to Know When You Start Gardening

Let’s face it - there are few pastimes as relaxing and fulfilling as gardening. However, as with most things; gardening can be difficult to start out if you’re not already familiar with it. Don’t worry, though; we’ll give you a speedy rundown of the basic things you need to remember while beginning to tend to your garden. 

Proper Siting 

Just as with real estate - gardening is all about picking the right location. If you’ve got a big yard, make sure you start the garden in an area that you visit often, and always have an overview off. While gardening is fun, the landscaping that’s required to keep a neat garden may not be something you’re always in the mood for.  

Because of that, you may find yourself procrastinating making a pass around the yard with your electric lawnmower. But, if you make sure that you can always view your garden from the windows on your home, you’ll have the incentive to keep it tidy. After all, we all like a nice view.

Following The Sun

There are a couple of major pitfalls that plenty of people fall into when they begin gardening. And that’s only natural - after all, you’re not supposed to know everything under the sun. But in this case, that’s precisely what you need to think about: being under the sun. 

Or, in other words - avoid misjudging the amount of sunlight your garden will get. Before you pick the spot where you’ll start your garden, spend some time observing how sunlight falls upon your entire yard. In order for the majority of edible plants to thrive, they’ll need a daily minimum of 6 sunlight hours. That includes fruits, herbs, and vegetables.

Stick To Water

If we had to pick the most practical gardening tip in here, this would definitely be it: start your garden in a location that’s got a water source nearby. If you have to lug a can of water every time your plants and vegetables become “thirsty”, that will be a huge drag. Instead, you want to make sure that you’re able to run a hose to the garden.  

cat drinks water

But how do you know when to water your plants? There’s a rule of thumb for that - or rather, the rule of the index finger. Poke your finger into the nearby soil, for about an inch. If you feel that it’s dry, you need to water the plants!

Think About Containers

Obviously, not everyone can afford a large yard. For many people, yard space is definitely at a premium. But don’t worry - that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun gardening! You simply need to think about using containers instead of planting directly in the soil. 

There are plenty of plants that you can successfully grow in pots - and that actually includes shrubs, berries, fruit trees, flowers, herbs, and even vegetables!  

But if you’re using containers, just make sure you get pots that are big enough for the specific plant. And if you want to make sure that your plants will thrive, you can find plenty of potting mixes, which contain formulas that help potted plants be as healthy as possible. 

Picking The Right Plants

When you start gardening, it’s pretty important to assess the growing conditions you’re working with, and pick the right plants accordingly. For example, melons and pumpkins will need plenty of room, which is something you have to consider before planting them. Or if you’re in a warmer climate, you’ll need to choose plants that are the most tolerant of heat. Obviously, sun-loving vegetation will require plenty of sunlight. As you can see, doing your homework before you start gardening is pretty crucial. That will enable you to choose the varieties that will be adequate for the amount of space you’re working with, as well as your general location. 

Searching For Your Zone

Finding out what your area’s “hardiness zone” is will allow you to choose the most adaptable plants. In other words, this zone represents the coldest possible place in which a plant is able to grow. The higher the number is on this scale, the warmer your climate is. To put it simply - if you find out that you’re gardening in zone 4, and a plant succeeds in hardiness zone 3: you’ll be able to keep it in your garden. Otherwise, you could be growing your plant in a garden that’s simply too cold for it to thrive in. So, this is pretty important information!

Discover Your Frost Dates

If there’s one thing that can mean certain doom for your garden - it’s planting too late or early in the season. So, you want to avoid putting your plants out too early, as that might accidentally kill them. With that in mind, find out the final spring frost date for the area your garden is in.  

Conversely, it’s also good to know about the first fall frost date, in order to get your plants indoors or harvest them before the cold destroys them. Find out about these two average dates for the place where you’ll be starting your garden. 

Feed The Plants

So far, we’ve talked quite a lot about how you need to take great care in picking the location of your garden, as well as the plants you’ll be seeding there. However, it’s not all about just doing all the preparations beforehand. Once you’ve got your plants in proper soil, you want to give them some quality nutrition as well. If you use top-shelf plant food, your garden will be guaranteed success!

Around a month after you’ve sowed the plants, you can start feeding them with plant food. However, don’t forget to carefully follow the directions on the label!

(Last Updated On: October 28, 2020)

Mark Robards, Content Architect at iClean International, Netherlands. Mark has been a pet lover since childhood and now are best friends (and roommates) with a great dane, 2 labradors and a cocker spaniel. He has successfully incorporated his love for animals with work and is now the resident expert on all matters related to pet care at Iclean international.