Gardening is the perfect way to provide food and improve your home’s curve appeal, all while enjoying the workout and relaxation provided by tending to a garden. Adding a few shrubs, trees, and flowers to the front of your home can improve the property value and give you the best looking home on the block.
In your backyard, you can create an absolute oasis with winding paths created between beds full of plants of all types. Intersperse a few vegetables and herbs, and you have constant access to fresh, home-grown veggies free of harmful pesticides because some are natural bug repellents.
Gardening is a lot of work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Once you have a thriving garden, there is no better place to sit and relax, enjoying all the smells from the plants.
It is also peaceful to work in a garden and escape for a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, knowing that you grew a source of beauty and sustenance for you and your family.
But what if your thumb is not green? What if you have no idea how to grow even the easiest of plants and flowers? What if laying out the perfect garden seems like a daunting task? If you are willing to put in a little effort and time, you can have the garden of your dreams!
What does it take?
Gardening is not just about throwing some seeds in the dirt and watering them occasionally or buying a plant at a store and putting it in the dirt to hopefully take root. It does require some work. The size and types of vegetables and flowers you want will determine how much work is involved.
You need to be sure you can handle the commitment that comes from gardening. You must turn soil, water, weed, plant for different season, and mulch. All of it is necessary to make the garden look its best. If you are unsure, keep it simple by starting with a few house plants and expand from there. Water and tend to these for a little while until you are confident in your ability to care for something larger.
Where to Begin?
You need to decide exactly what you want to grow. Do you want a vegetable or herb garden, an ornamental garden, a few plants, or a combination of all of it?
Do you want the huge garden with the trees and flowers and plants that you saw in the magazines or do you want just a few vegetables that you enjoy or some herbs like lavender and mint that will provide fragrance?
Once you have determined this, you need to pick the ideal spot. This is done by spending some time in your yard. You need to see how the sun moves and which areas get the most shade and sunlight. This is a critical step because some areas grow better in the shade.
If you want vegetables, areas that get a lot of sunlight will be best. You will also want to know what types of plants do best in each season so you do not buy something that will not do well during the cold or hot months.
Next, you need to clear the area of grass. The best way is to cover the ground with newspaper or magazines layered at least 10 sheets thick and cover with a thick layer of compost over the top.
If your grass is really durable, you may need to do more newspaper. You can also dig the grass up if you want to get started immediately or if you have lawn weeds.
You have to help your soil out. Adding compost is the best way. The organic matter from the decomposition of leaves, egg shells, manure, clippings, and coffee grounds makes your plants grow great.
If you can start a compost heap, it is really the best way to get nutrients to your garden. However, planting soil can be purchased if you want a faster way.
It’s time to plant!
You can purchase plants online, through catalogs, or in stores. If you are a novice, the store route may be the best way to go because you can talk to experts about what to plant and when and get helpful tips and tricks.
If you really want to get adventurous and grow your garden from seed, you need to be prepared for the extra work that requires. Some vegetables are easily grown from seed, like corn, okra, squash, beans, and peas.
Some flowers, like roses, require a refrigeration period of around 90-days and exact methods for growing. Most seed packets will include the ideal steps for growing the best plants though and it is a really great educational experience for children.
Once you’ve got everyone in the dirt, you have to make sure you care for them. You have to water, especially at first. If you live in an area prone to drought, you need water everyday after you plant.
Once new plants take root, you can decrease the watering to about once or twice a week. Seedlings, or small plants, should never dry out so be sure to keep an eye on your growing plants!
To finish your beds, and keep water in and weeds out, mulch is a great final step. Depending on what you have planted and the look you want to achieve, anything from pine needles to bark chips will work for this.
Your plants need to be fed. Fertilizer is necessary because it provides nutrients to the soil and makes your garden grow big and strong and produce the best flowers and vegetables around.
It may seem like a strange notion, but talking to your plants is another great way to help them grow. A garden grows best where it feels the love. “They are just plants,” you may say. Yes, but plants need love and attention as well. They seem to grow better and are healthier when you talk to them.