Gardening can be intimidating if you’ve never had a garden before. Perhaps you feel that you don’t have a green thumb. Let me be the first to say that nothing could be further from the truth. The key is to find the right plants for your space, your abilities, and your climate. Gardening for beginners doesn’t have to be hard.
For example, I know that strawberry plants grow all year in Hawai’i, but that isn’t the case when I lived where it snows. If I had tried to grow strawberries in Michigan during the winter, they would just turn into a pile of brown leaves.
Gardening for Beginners
Let’s start at the beginning – what do you want to grow? Flowers, vegetables or a combination of both? How much space do you have – a big yard (if this is your first gardening endeavor, I would start smaller), a few pots on a deck or patio? Once you have answered these questions, we can move to our next step.
Visit Your Local Garden Center
Visit your local nursery; not the big box store, but the local person who just sells plants and supplies. Most of these garden centers have someone who has spent years learning about plants and gardening, and can help you determine which varieties will do best in your home. They also can provide you with the supplies, and if you run into a problem later, they can help you to troubleshoot and resolve it.
When you visit, let them know you’re a beginner, what you want to grow, and where/how much space you have. They will work with you to develop a realistic idea of what you need and what you can handle.
Plan Your Space
Keep a little notebook, and begin by designing your space on paper. You don’t need anything too detailed, but just a plan of what-goes-where. You might also want to write down what plant varieties you grew, so you can remember what worked, and what didn’t work for next year.
Start with Easy Plants
Whether you want to grow flowers or veggies, start with something easy! If you have space, sunflowers are a great beginner plant, and they come in varieties from one to six foot tall. Marigolds, zinnias, radishes, lettuce, zucchini, and tomatoes are all good choices for those just starting out, and they will grow almost anywhere. Herbs are also ideal for beginners. Ask you nursery professional for varieties, and whether to start with seeds or plants.
Get a Gardening Routine
Get into the habit of maintaining your garden on a regular basis. Plants needed to be watered on a regular basis; weeds need to be pulled, and flowers cut or vegetables harvested. If you spend a few minutes every two to three days working on your garden, it won’t seem like such a chore.
Gardening is a living breathing thing, and your plants need to germinate from seeds or establish themselves in their new environment. Give them a little time. Honestly, as long as they are shriveling up and dying, they are more than likely okay. Have patience, though, and let them get acclimated to their new home.
Remember, gardening should be enjoyable even gardening with kids! If you feel overwhelmed, cut back on the size of your garden. As your confidence grows, you will want to try new plants. Again, your nursery professional can help move you to the next step. They are a great resource for gardening for beginners.