How to start your own garden

Grassland Garden Supplies: How to start your own garden

One of the most rewarding milestones you can achieve in life is to start your own garden. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching your plants and crops grow after a hard day’s work. You get your hands a little bit dirty while using all the gardening tools such as pruning shears, garden forks, hand trowels and spades. It’s like a project that you’ve always wanted as a kid, and now you’re taken so many steps toward it.

However, starting a garden is never an easy task to accomplish. This is especially true when you don’t have any experience in taking care of plants so you might not know exactly where to start. But things don’t always have to be complicated. For as long as you break it down into achievable steps, then you’re off to a great start! 

Check out the tips below:

Know your climate zone

For you to become successful in gardening, you should place your plant in the right place at the right time. This means you should start by determining your climate zone so you know the right crops suited for your garden. You can check with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) since they have a plant hardiness zone map you can search by ZIP codes. 

Find your zone and know the fruits, flowers, vegetables and herbs that grow in it. However, if you live outside the US, you can also take advantage of the international hardiness zone maps. When you’ve determined your client zone, know the estimated first and last frost dates so you’re aware of the growing season. 

To make things easier for you, find the number corresponding to your hardiness zone when buying from a garden shop. 

Consider what to plant

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of building your own garden is knowing what to plant. Since you have lots of options in the market, how are you supposed to pick something that would be useful to you? This is why you need to ask yourself questions. Do you want to have a vegetable garden where you can harvest crops? Or do you prefer a flower garden for decorations?

If you opt for a vegetable garden, make sure that you plant crops that your family is willing to eat. It would end up going to waste if you’ll pick crops randomly without considering your family’s preferences. On the other hand, if you choose a flower garden, pick something that suits your type of colour and fragrance. 

Here’s some advice: If you’re still not sure of things, start small until you figure out what you want.

Find the perfect garden spot

Most flowers and vegetables require six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. For starters, observe your whole yard throughout the day and know which spots gain full sun or full shade. Don’t fret if a big part of your yard is mostly shady. Although you can’t grow tomatoes and other crops in this area, other plants like Bleeding Heart and Forget-Me-Not will be fine. 

You can ask the staff at your local garden centre or check plant tags to know how much sun a certain plan requires. 

As much as possible, choose a flat area for your garden since it’s harder and more time-consuming to have a sloping garden. You also need to make sure that the place has easy access to water to keep your plants hydrated.

Clear the ground

Before building your own garden, make sure that you start with the basics first. This includes clearing the ground by removing weeds and sod near the area you plan to plant. For instance, you can use a spade and slice under the sod. Divide the sod into sections for easier removal then put them on your compost pile so they decompose. 

You may also go for the lasagna gardening method. First, blanket your garden with five sheets of newspaper. Try to spread a 3-inch layer of compost on the newspaper and give it some time. We highly recommend that you start by fall so a garden with no weeds is ready for you by spring.

Test your soil

The best way to test your soil is to get a soil test from your local USDA cooperative extension service office. Staff will guide you through the entire procedure such as the best time to get samples and how much soil to get tested. You need to wait for about two weeks for the findings. It will tell you what your soil lacks and what you can do to change that. 

Another option is to use a DIY kit. Although it’s not as detailed as the soil test mentioned above, it will still give you an idea of your soil’s nutrient levels. 

Keep in mind that your soil at home needs to be greatly improved, especially if your house is newly constructed. The topsoil may have been stripped away, containing low-essential plant nutrients. Your soil might also be compacted, which is not ideal for a new garden.

The good news is that you can add organic matter to improve your soil. For instance, you can add decayed leaves, old manure and grass clippings along with a 3-inch layer of compost. Make sure that you leave the organic matter long enough for it to rot into humus. 

Get basic gardening tools

You have to invest in basic gardening tools to accomplish any task related to gardening. Here are some of the tools you need to purchase:

  • Wheelbarrows
  • Pruning shears
  • Garden forks
  • A pair of gloves
  • Hoes
  • Rakes.

You might need a potting soil scoop for filling pots and planters. A standard kitchen knife may come in handy when making precise cuts when you have to harvest your crops and vegetables. Make sure that you also have a battery-powered drill in case you need to make drainage holes when making planters. 

If possible, refrain from buying cheap plastic tools since they are easily damaged. You can visit local garden stores in the US and find the right size to reduce the risks of injuries. And just like how you treat a knife, always make sure that your tools are clean and sharp. Remember, good tools will probably save you lots of money and headaches, so invest wisely.

Start your planting beds

When it comes to preparing planting beds, you should loosen the soil before planting or sowing your seeds. In this way, the roots can grow faster and have easier access to the water and the nutrients they need. You have two methods to choose from: dig by hand or till the soil using a mechanical device like a rototiller. If you’re just preparing small beds, digging by hand is recommended so you don’t overdo things.

Make sure that the soil is moist! To test it, the soil should form a loose ball in your hand but dry enough to fall apart when you drop it. In addition, refrain from digging when the soil is too dry. This is exhausting and it can potentially damage the soil structure. Once you’re done, you can walk on prepared beds to compact the soil by laying down plywood boards.

Choose your plants

Picking which ones to plant may feel overwhelming. You might spend half your time poring over garden catalogues but still end up indecisive because there are way too many options. Whatever your choice is, make sure that the plants adapt to your soil, sunlight and climate. You can also take advantage of the Internet and look at the plants suited to your preferences. 

Here are some easy-to-grow plants you can consider:

  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Black-eyed Susans
  • Daylilies
  • Russian sage
  • Sunflowers
  • Purple coneflowers.

Protect your garden

To make sure that your garden is protected from weeds, cover the soil with inches of mulch. That way, you’ll avoid overwatering and prevent weed seeds from germinating. Mulches include straw, shredded bark, river rock and wood chips, to name a few. However, we highly recommend that you use organic mulch like compost or cocoa bean shells. This will help enrich the soil once it decomposes.

Maintain your garden

Even if you’re done building your garden, it’s important to remember that you still have to maintain it. It won’t thrive on its own. You have to help it reach its full potential by doing garden chores on a daily basis so your plants don’t wither and die. 

You should also be mindful of harmful insects like tomato wornhorms. Pick them off the plant and hose them off with insecticidal soap. Moreover, throughout the growing season, pay attention to what the plant is telling you. If you see a deformed leaf, then you should clip it. 

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