It seems everyone has green fingers these days, and they certainly have the gardens to show for it. Whether they’re cultivating herbs and vegetables or growing an impressive flower collection, they make such a task look easy — and like something you want to try. Of course, growing a healthy home garden is tougher than it seems, especially if you’re watching a seasoned gardener at work.
To help you to learn the basics, here are six pieces of advice to get you started:
Choose The Right Spot
Your plants will have different growing specifications — some plants thrive in the shade, some need a mix of light and shadows, and others want the sun all day long. Scope out a spot in your yard where your selected greens will thrive and get familiar with some well-known gardening tools. Otherwise, you’ll be forcing a plant to try and grow outside of its comfort zone, and it probably won’t work for either of you.
Buy Good Seeds
Next, be sure that what you’re planting has the greatest chance to grow. Head to a local gardening store and buy seeds from a local grower who you trust. Be sure to inspect all plants before you buy them. The stem is the most telling feature of the plant — if it’s not firm-yet-pliable, then you should move onto another option.
Prepare The Soil
Your plants derive their nutrition from the soil, so make sure it’s up to snuff before planting anything. Start by tilling the ground, but not too much. You could damage the microorganisms living beneath the surface that’ll help your greens to grow. Then, dig deep enough holes to give your plants plenty of space to root. Many gardeners use raised beds for this reason — they want their plants to have even more space. As you refill the holes around your plants, you might want to fill them with super nutritious soil with plenty of drainage. Starting a compost pile alongside your home garden will give you an all-natural source of such material.
Ward Off Pests
Your next task will be to keep your freshly planted greens healthy and safe from external damage. Of course, pests can be a huge source of such headaches. Fortunately, there are plenty of organic options for doing so. For instance, professional exterminators can use all-natural bacteria to remove pests, rather than spraying chemical or otherwise dangerous pesticides on your garden.
On that note, you might want to consider investing in row covers to keep bigger pests at bay. These breathable roofs cover your plants so they can’t be eaten by bugs. Cover your plants right away so that these pests won’t lay eggs beneath your rows. The top will create the perfect incubator, which is exactly what you don’t want.
Water Them Well
Your plants will obviously need water to survive. Don’t overdo it, though, as too much hydration can be a bad thing. Many planters swear by irrigation hoses laid between their plants. Overhead watering can cause damage to the soil and to the plants, while irrigation hoses gently drip water straight into the soil, where your greens will soak it up through their roots.
Keep An Eye Out For Weeds
Finally, once you get your garden growing, you might be inadvertently helping weeds to grow, too. Keep an eye out for such invaders and be sure to pick them when they pop up. Otherwise, they’ll strip the ground of the nutrients and water you’re adding to feed your plants, and this can kill off your otherwise well-cared-for plants.
It’s time for you to venture into the rewarding world of gardening. With the right preparation and care throughout the growing process, anyone can have a flourishing patch of produce or bed of flowers. You have all the tips so now all there’s left to do is get started.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.