Five Tips for Gardening Beginners

person with a garden shovel

Starting a garden for the first time can be intimidating. But one of the best things about creating a garden is you can customize it to fit you and your lifestyle. If you haven’t earned your green thumb, now is the perfect opportunity to show that with these five simple tips, anyone can grow an abundant garden.  

  1. Determine your Garden Type

beautiful flowers in a park or garden

When it comes to gardening, there are several different types of flora you can grow. Looking to add colour to your yard with some flowers? Interested in growing your own herbs and vegetables? Perhaps you simply love the beauty of butterflies in and around your garden. Either choice is great. After all, it’s your garden!

One of the most common gardens to grow is a flower garden. Your whole neighbourhood might be filled with them and for good reason, it adds visual appeal to your property. However, merely choosing the prettiest flowers to plant isn’t the best way to start. Some types of flowers can be tough to care for or require maintenance that you may not be prepared for. Instead, opt for common, hardy flowers and do a little bit of research before you add the flower to your shopping cart and start planting.

Vegetable gardens can vary in maintenance as each type of vegetable will require different care such as different amounts of water. Choose vegetables that you and your family will enjoy and ones that are easy to grow for beginners such as lettuce, tomatoes, peas, and carrots. When you get to see and eat your hard work, it can be extremely satisfying.

  1. Research Your Plants

Once you’ve decided on what type of garden you want to grow, you’ll also need to know what types of plants do well in your area. Also known as the hardiness zone, or zone, which is an important factor for the survival of plants. It defines each area based on the weather patterns with Zone 1 being the coldest and Zone 13 being the hottest.

The location of your garden also plays an important role in the success of your garden project. Observing the amount of sunlight that the space receives will also determine the types of plants that will grow in the area. Is it in full sun, partial sun, or full shade? Most vegetables require full sunlight daily, while some flowers thrive in partial shade. The location of your garden will determine the types of flowers you can grow based on these sunlight amounts.

  1. Make a Plan/Layout

Now that you’ve decided what plants can thrive and which ones you want to grow, now is the time to lay out the plants. A simple and clean layout is arranging your plants in three rows. This creates a foreground, middle ground, and background in your garden. This can be achieved by simply arranging the tallest plants in the back, medium sized ones in the middle and the lowest growing in the front. Too formal? Try weaving the plants in the different rows, creating a layered and casual garden.

Looking for something more casual? Try a cottage garden design. This includes planting a wide variety of plants creating a colourful, fun, and natural atmosphere.  In these types of gardens, you can find a mix of annual and perennial flowers in many different heights and forms, textured plants with lots of foliage, and even a range of vegetables grown throughout.

  1. Start Small

As mentioned earlier, starting a garden can be a daunting task. To keep the project and your sanity at bay, it’s always a great idea to start small. It’s easier to be excited about your small garden thriving, than being overwhelmed as your large garden starts to fail. When your garden project begins to flourish and you’ve learned some gardening basics, then it’s time to expand.

  1. Pick the Right Tools

You don’t need to fill a tool shed with all the equipment in the books. However, there are essential tools to help get things going and make your gardening project go as smoothly as possible.

Hand Trowel: This must-have, small multi-purpose tool is ideal to dig small holes, dig up weeds, break up soil and transplant plants. Look for one with a wooden handle and metal blade.

Garden Gloves: From weeding to harvesting your first vegetables, gloves will provide protection and prevent some blisters. Some soil and plant life can also have sharp tiny pieces that poke your hands. Bonus? They’ll keep your hands clean.

Cultivator: Like a hand rake, this product is most useful for turning and mixing soil. It’s also a handy tool to remove those pesky weeds.

Pruning Shears: As your plants begin to grow and flourish, use this tool to trim or cut small branches and clean up any plant that starts taking control. These are also used to harvest vegetables without damaging the plant.

Angled Shovel: Think of this as the hand trowel in giant form. It can do all the same things but on a larger scale.  

Watering Can or Hose: To keep your plants growing, watering them is going to be essential. A watering can is great for smaller gardens and small container plants. A garden hose with a sprayer head can carry water long distances and allow you to control the water pressure and flow.

With these basic gardening tips, you’re on your way to turning your garden into a plant paradise. What other tips do you recommend for first time gardeners?

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