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The Official Guide to Gardening for Beginners

by Caroline Harris

The Official Guide to Gardening for Beginners
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It’s gardening season! Late March to late May is the best time to start your garden for fresh fruits, vegetables, and plants that you can enjoy once summer rolls around. Not sure how to get started? This guide has tips and product recommendations to make gardening for beginners easy and fun. 

 

RELATED: The 9 Easiest Herbs To Grow Indoors

 

 

1) Decide what kind of garden you want to grow.

 

Close your eyes and visualize your dream garden. Does your yard teem with lilies, peonies, and roses? Have you always wanted to grow herbs? Or do you see yourself with a fruit or vegetable garden? Each type requires different maintenance and care, so it’s important to weigh all your options before jumping into gardening for beginners.

 

Do your homework to discover what plant varieties thrive in your location and current climate. You’ll find there are top native plants for where you live. For example, red huckleberries and stream violets thrive in the Pacific Northwest, while rain lilies and climbing roses excel in the South. Crops often perform best in either cool seasons or warm seasons, so make sure to plant at the proper time of year. Melons and squash love summer weather, for instance, while hardier vegetables like broccoli and kale favor the cold.

 

 

2) Pick a spot that is sunny, flat, and still.

 

Most plants require at least six hours of daily sun, so choose a sunny spot in your yard for growing your fruits, herbs, and vegetables. (Research the light requirements of your plants to be sure.) Some plants, like primroses and oakleaf hydrangeas, thrive in partial to full shade, so do your due diligence before planting them.

 

It’s also wise to choose somewhere flat for your garden. (Sloping gardens can be tricky to manage because of soil erosion and draining issues.) Avoid areas that are heavily hit by the rain or wind, and try to place your garden by a water source, like a hose. That way, when it’s time to water your plants, you won’t have to lug a heavy watering can across your yard.

 

3) Prepare your soil by clearing the ground and adding organic matter.

 

Create a new garden bed by using a shovel (such as Landscaper’s All-Purpose Shovel) to dig up the sod, which is the top layer of earth that includes grass and the roots holding it together. Mark the perimeter of your new garden using spray paint, stakes, or string. Apply a layer of corrugated cardboard, dampening the material with a garden hose. Add six sheets of newspaper, then spread three to six inches of compost over the paper. After several months, your soil should be nutrient-rich, fertile, and plantable as earthworms work their magic.

 

If you already have an established bed to work with, improve the soil by adding two to three inches of compost. You’ll also want to work the soil: using a spade (such as Barebones for Terrain’s trowel) to carefully turn the top layer of soil while adding more organic matter to the mix.

 

4) Plant your seeds.

 

Study your plant’s seed packet and do some research to learn about planting time, watering levels, spacing, and depth. How you sow the seeds will vary based on the plant’s unique needs, so make sure to research what conditions are best. Generally speaking, you will want to dig holes into the established bed, set your plants into the holes, then pat the soil surrounding the roots. Add a generous amount of water to finish off the process.

 

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5) Water regularly and use mulch to help prevent weeds from growing.

 

Once a week is generally a good metric for how often to water your plants, but this number depends on the level of humidity and rainfall where you live. Keep in mind that some plants require more water than others. An easy hack to find out if you need to water your plant? Stick your finger four inches into the soil, then water your plant if the soil feels dry. Adding a couple inches of mulch to your soil will help lock moisture in so you don’t have to water your plants as regularly. Mulch also helps prevent weeds, so show your garden some love by investing in the helpful product. 

 

After following these techniques on gardening for beginners, you may discover the green thumb you never knew you had. Get started with these amazing gardening tools and accessories from Terrain.

 

1 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Organic Mechanics Container Blend Potting Soil

Price:$16.00

This potting soil includes organic compost, worm castings, aged pine bark, coir, and rice hulls to provide great nutrition for your plants. The blend is earth-friendly and 100 percent organic, so feel free to use it for your vegetable garden. One reviewer said their “plants are really thriving in this soil” because of the high-quality ingredients.

2 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Organic Mechanics Seed Starting Blend

Price:$6.00

With this seed starting soil, you’ll get up to a month of fertilization power. The organic blend is formulated with coconut fiber, fertilizer, rice hulls, worm castings, and aged pine bark. Plus, the soil maintains plenty of moisture so your plant baby can thrive.

3 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Second Skin Garden Gloves

Price:$30.00

These durable Supplex nylon garden gloves are perfect for digging around in the dirt while protecting your skin. The gloves are covered in silicone grips and offer SPF 50 protection for warmer days.

4 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Beech Wood Handle Watering Can

Price:$22.00

This chic watering can is made of steel and beech wood for a modern look and feel. It’s ideal for watering small plants because of its five-inch height and long spout.

5 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Meadow Seed Mix

Price:$12.00

This shade seed mix delivers beautiful blooms of shasta daisies, forget-me-nots, corn poppies, and more. Each blend creates 100 square feet of wildflowers to plant in the early to mid-spring. There are also two other meadow mixes to choose from—the bee-friendly seed mix and the flower seed mix—for more flower varieties.

6 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Gardening Scissors and Sheath

Price:$14.00

Use these gardening scissors to prune your plants. The scissors are very sharp with extra-tough steel to prevent rusting. The English set comes with a leather sheath for stashing your scissors in when they’re not in use.

7 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Barebones for Terrain Trowel

Price:$24.00

Use this trowel to pot your plants. The trowel features a stainless steel blade and a sustainable bamboo handle. It’s carefully angled to make digging as easy as possible, and the blade is designed for comfort with a helpful hanging strap.

8 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Landscaper’s All-Purpose Shovel

Price:$58.00

This shovel is exceptionally good quality because it is formulated from the highest grade of aircraft alloy steel. It weighs only 2.3 pounds, making digging a breeze with its t-handle and manageable size.

9 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Sneeboer Hand Leaf & Debris Rake

Price:$36.00

Kneel over your flower beds without ruining your outfit with this canvas garden apron. The apron includes large pockets for storing your trowel, gardening scissors, and other basic equipment. There’s even a built-in pocket for your phone so you can snap pics of your plant babies to share on social media.

10 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Hunter Garden Clogs

Price:$95.00

While Hunter is largely known for its rain boots, don’t sleep on these incredible garden clogs. They’re made of rubber with a high-traction sole that prevents slips during your yard work. One happy shopper says they’re “beyond comfortable” and make you “feel like you are walking on air.”

11 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Waterproof Canvas Garden Apron

Price:$36.00

Kneel over your flower beds without ruining your outfit with this canvas garden apron. The apron includes large pockets for storing your trowel, gardening scissors, and other basic equipment. There’s even a built-in pocket for your phone so you can snap pics of your plant babies to share on social media.

12 of 12 Image Credits: Terrain

Cotton Crusher Hat

Price:$36.00

Prevent sunburns while gardening with this handmade hat that has UPF 50 sun protection. The adjustable inner drawstring helps you get your perfect fit, and the cotton material is lightweight to keep you cool on summer days.