There are a million reasons to start your own garden, from growing organic vegetables to saving money to embracing a natural stress-relieving activity—the real question should be: Why not start a garden?
It's not as hard as you might think! Check out our slideshow and learn step-by-step how to grow your own little patch of green.
Create a Budget
Determine how much money you have to work with and stick with it. You don’t want to find yourself knee-deep in fertilizer before realizing that you have no money left for seeds. What tools can you borrow or rent and what quality materials would you rather splurge on? (Tip: Don’t slack off on the soil!) Begin with a reasonably-sized garden with the basic tools below and slowly grow your collection along with your garden.
Make a Seasonal Plan
It is very important to know your environment. Whether it is indoors or out, you need to understand working temperature. This will determine what you can grow. For example, if you are planting flowering plants outdoors, typically flowers will die off in July. So a trick is to have evergreen in the area to keep your garden looking good.
Great soil will make a great garden. So you need to know your dirt! PH levels are important. Is your soil too acidic or too alkaline? Many garden centers will test your soil for free or just a few dollars. Try your local nursery.
Light It Up
Lighting is crucial with gardening. If you're planting vegetables, you will need between six and eight hours of full sun every day. For an indoor herb garden, you'll need a window that lets in a lot of sunlight. Flowers and other decorative plants also have different sunlight requirements.
For those that receive a great deal of light, shop for colorful flowers and lively plants. Try marigolds, but be patient—they can take up to 50 days to flower.
For those that live on the dark side, don’t fret. Plants in shady areas actually look fresher longer. Try fibrous begonias or hellebore, they grow well in the shade. Just remember to keep the soil moist.
Where to Plant
Scope out your space. For vegetable growing in your yard, carve out at least a 4’ x 4’ plot. For flowers, decide where you’d like to dig the beds. Window boxes are also a great option for planting. If you are keeping your garden indoors, make sure you have ample space for your container(s). Also, make sure it is out of the way of pets.
If you have an outdoor garden, consider a fence. Especially for vegetable growers. Build this before the actually garden or Raccoons and Rabbits will invade your space. Some gardeners cover their small fruit trees with nets to discourage the birds. Flowers may also attract pests.
5 Essential Gardening Tools
Before you start growing your garden, these are the tools you will definitely need to pick up:
- Garden Fork: used for loosening, lifting and turning over soil
- Hose: to irrigate your garden and water flowers
- Wheelbarrow: to help you move heavy plants and soil
- Shovel: for lifting and moving loose materials (i.e. soil, fertilizer, etc.)
- Bucket: to carry water, plants and flowers