Have you always wanted to garden, but never knew where to start? Today we’re going to teach you how to start a garden so you can grow your own food.
There is nothing like homegrown veggies straight from the garden and the experience of growing your own food. Here at Rosevine Cottage, we’ve had a garden for over 20 years and we’ve learned a thing or to about starting a successful garden. We wanted to share what we’ve learned through experience, tons of reading and research, and good ol’ trial and error.
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How To Start A Garden: The Basic’s
Space – you need someplace to plant, which has lots of sunshine and access to water.
Soil – a successful garden needs good soil. You can make your own using our tutorial or buy some at your local garden center.
Seed – We just did a post on where to buy seeds for your garden and what things like “GMO”, “Open-pollinated” and “Heirloom” mean.
Tools – you’ll need to invest in some basic garden tools to get your garden started.
How To Start A Garden Step By Step
How To Start A Garden Step 1: Planning A Spring Garden
Just like any project gardening requires a good plan. Now is the time to decide if you want to do a container garden, a raised bed garden, no-dig, or regular planting in the ground. Once you’ve decided how you’ll be gardening it’s time to really dig in (pun intended) and figure out the little details like what you’ll be growing.
Some helpful tips for how to start a garden plan:
- Use a garden journal or notebook, and calendar to plan what you’re planting when it needs to go in the ground, and where it is going to go in your new garden. We have a great garden journal to help you with this part.
- Some other great tools to keep on hand when planning a garden are a companion planting book and pencils.
- Plan on growing veggies that your family will actually eat and make sense for your climate.
Make sure you mark your last frost date on the calendar and keep a running list of what you are planting. Make a note of any special requirements for each plant.
Roughly sketch your garden, and begin to mark where you’ll be planting everything.
How To Start A Vegetable Garden From Scratch
Select a site for your new garden, some things to keep in mind as you pick out the perfect spot for your new vegetable garden:
- Pick a place that gets the most sun in your yard (yes you can grow a garden even if your yard is mostly shade)
- You will need to be able to water your garden so pick a place that is easy to reach with a hose.
- You’ll need to tend your garden regularly so make sure you put it in a place where you can easily access it.
- Be mindful of places where your new garden will be susceptible to damage by wild animals, animals, and children’s play areas as all of these can damage your garden.
The next step in how to start a garden is soil health, now at first you may be tempted to skip this, but trust me. Don’t. The success of your garden and future harvest depends on healthy soil that can feed and nourish your new garden. You can purchase a soil testing kit to test the soil in your vegetable garden to see what nutrients it’s lacking. Once you know what your soil needs you can add (amend your soil) with whatever it is your garden soil needs. This will prepare the soil for planting which is really important for a successful garden.
Read more about preparing the soil for planting:
- How To Prepare Your Garden For Spring
- What To Do Now For A Spring Garden
- Preparing Your Garden For Winter
How To Start A Garden Step 3: When To Start A Garden
When to start a garden is largely going to depend on your geographic location, we’re blessed to live in the southern part of the United States which gives us a very long growing season (usually Late April-mid October). The best way to decided when to start a garden is by figuring out the last frost date for your growing zone. Also, find out what your growing zone is. This will give you a good start to figure out when you should start a garden. The USDA has a handy tool that you can put in your zip code and it will tell you your growing zone.
Look at the packages of seeds that you are wanting to grow, they should have a guide on the back to tell you when to plant for your area.
See “USDA Hardiness Zones & Your Microclimate” for more information on how growing conditions affect garden plans.
How To Start A Garden Step 4: Having The Right Tools
Depending on what kind of garden you plan to have the tools you will need will vary. For a container garden, you may be able to get away with just a hand trowel and a hose-end sprayer or watering can. However, if you plan to grow a garden in the ground or on a much larger scale you’ll need to add to your arsenal. Here are some garden essentials to get you started.
How To Start A Garden: Tips For Planting A Garden
The next step in how to start a garden is planting, we’ve put together our top tips for planting a garden
- Order seeds in the winter before it’s time to plant so you have everything you need when it’s time to get your garden in. Here are some great places to buy seeds.
- Start seeds inside before your last frost for a head start on the growing season. (here’s how to find out when you should start your seeds in your growing zone.)
- Harden off your seedlings before planting them in your garden.
- Transplant seedlings to the garden in the early morning or just before sunset.
- Water well after planting.
- Get cool weather-loving plants in the ground early in the season before the weather gets very warm.
- Try succession planting things like lettuce and root vegetables to extend your gardening season.
Here are some growing guides to help you get started:
- How To Grow Tomatoes | The #1 Beginner Guide
- The Ultimate Guide How To Grow Peppers
- The #1 Guide On How To Grow Asparagus Easily
- How To Grow Pole Beans On A Trellis
- How To Grow Watermelon | Tips From Grandpa Lowery For Growing The Best Watermelon
- How To Grow Green Beans
Caring For An Organic Garden
Because organic gardening means you aren’t using harsh chemicals in your garden it means you’re going to need to pay a little bit more attention to looking for pest damage. We use all-natural methods for preventing pests and weeds in our garden including things like diatomaceous earth, copper fungicide, Neem oil, essential oils, and even our animals.
If your state allows it, start collecting rainwater in a rain barrel and using this to water your garden, this is a great way to make sure you aren’t using chlorinated water in your garden. You can also use a filter to remove any chemicals from your water. Mulch your garden with straw or wood chips to help conserve your water and keep your plants from drying out.
How To Start A Garden: Spoiler It Isn’t As Hard As You Think
Gardening is a wonderful hobby to take up, there is nothing like the joy of working the soil and harvesting the reward for your hard work. Starting a garden really isn’t that hard, we hope we’ve answered all your ‘how to start a garden’ questions! If you have more drop them in the comments and we’ll answer them!
Before you go, check these out!