How to create a garden in 10 simple steps

How to create a garden in 10 simple steps

Starting a garden from scratch as a beginner can seem daunting. One of the best ways to make gardening easier is to break your project down into manageable steps. Whether you want to create a vegetable garden or a flower garden, or perhaps both, this step-by-step guide will soon have you enjoying the delicious flavors and colorful blooms you grew yourself.

Ren Allen

1. Think about what to plant

Do you want to plant a vegetable garden? Herb garden? flowers Garden? If you choose vegetables and herbs to contribute to the dinner table, plant those that your family will eat or that you want to try. If you want flowers based on their color and scent, decide whether you want annuals that bloom most of the summer but need to be replanted every spring or perennials that have a shorter bloom time but come back year after year. Each one, or even a group, makes a stunning garden but will have different maintenance requirements.

Start small with a few plants so you know what you’re getting into and how much you can handle.

2. Choose the best place in the garden

Almost all vegetables and many types of flowering plants need 6-8 hours of full sun each day. So you need to monitor your garden throughout the day to see which areas receive full sun versus partial or full shade. Don’t worry if your garden is mostly shade: You won’t be able to grow tomatoes in shade, but many other plants (such as hostas and outdoor ferns) will do. Check plant tags or ask the staff at your local garden center to help you understand how much sun the plant needs.

Choose a flat spot for your garden, if possible, because dealing with a sloping garden is more difficult, time-consuming and can be expensive. And make sure your new garden will have easy access to a water source.

Bob Stefko

3. Clear the land

Get rid of weeds and grass in the area you plan to plant. If you want quick results β€” for example, if it’s already spring and you want vegetables this summer β€” chop them up. Slice under the sod with a spade. Cut the sod into sections to make it easier to remove.

For a long-term project, it’s easier to use the lasagna method of gardening: cover your future garden with five sheets of newspaper; Double this amount if your lawn is Bermuda grass or St. Augustine grass. Spread a 3-inch layer of compost (or a mixture of potting soil and topsoil) over the newspaper. Water everything and wait. It will take about four months for the compost and paper to decompose. But if you start in the fall, by spring you’ll have a ready-to-plant bed with no grass or weeds and plenty of rich soil.

4. Test and improve your soil

To learn more about your soil, have a soil test done through your Cooperative Extension office. They will guide you through the procedure: how much soil to send from which parts of the garden and the best time to get samples. Expect to wait two weeks for the results, which will tell you what your soil is lacking and how to amend it. You can also use a hand kit which may not be as detailed but will give you an idea of ​​the nutrient levels in your soil.

Residential soil always needs reinforcement, especially in new construction where the topsoil may have been stripped away. In addition to being low in essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, your soil may also be poorly drained or compacted. The solution is usually simple: add plenty of organic matter.

Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost to the soil when digging or to a new bed. If you decide not to dig or work with a fixed layer, leave the organic matter on the surface where it will eventually turn into humus (organic matter). Earthworms will do most of the work of mixing the humus with the subsoil.

5. Prepare your planting beds

Loosening the soil in new beds before seeding or planting helps new roots grow more easily and get the water and nutrients they need. There are two methods: plowing with a mechanical device such as a rotary tiller, or digging by hand. The first method is a good method when you need to mix large amounts of modifications. However, it is easy to overdo it, which will eventually damage the soil structure. Digging is more practical for preparing small beds.

In either case, work the soil only when it is moist enough to form a loose ball in your fist but dry enough to disintegrate when you drop it. Digging when the soil is too dry is harder work, and you can damage the soil structure if it is too wet. Use a spade or raking fork to gently turn the top 6-8 inches of soil over, mixing in the organic matter from Step 4 at the same time. Walking on prepared beds compacts the soil, so temporarily place plywood sheets to distribute your weight evenly.

Peter Cromhardt

6. Choose your plants

Some people study catalogs for months; Others head to the garden center and pick out whatever catches their eye. Either way, the most important thing is to choose plants that are adapted to your climate, soil, and sunlight. Here are some easy plants to grow for beginners:

  • Yearbook: Calendulacosmos, geraniums, impatiens, marigolds, sunflowers, and zinnias
  • Perennial plants: Black-eyed Susans, daylilies, lamb’s ears, pansies, phlox, purple coneflowers, and Russian sage.
  • vegetables: Cucumber, lettuce, pepper, and tomato

7. Start planting

Some plants, such as pansies and kale, are cold-tolerant, so you can plant them in fall or late winter. On the other hand, tomatoes and most annual flowers prefer warm temperatures, so plant them only after the danger of frost has passed in your area. Mid-spring and mid-fall are good times to plant perennials.

Many annual plants are easy to grow from seeds sown directly in the garden. Be sure to read the seed packet for information about planting time, depth and spacing. If you’re an adventurous beginner, start the growing season by sowing seeds indoors a few weeks before your last frost date. There are containers or flats specifically designed for seedlings and seed-starting soil mixes available at garden centers. Follow seed package instructions and place the containers on a sunny windowsill or under grow lights if you don’t have window space. Make sure to keep the seeds and seedlings moist but not wet, otherwise they may rot.

The easiest way to start your garden is to buy small plants that you can plant where you want them to grow. Drill holes in your prepared bed based on the marker’s instructions. Remove plants from the container by pushing up from the bottom. If the roots grow into a large ball (known as root bound), use an old fork or your fingers to loosen some of the outer roots before placing them in the hole. Place the soil in place around the roots, then soak the soil with water.

Bob Stefko

8. Water in a timely manner

Seedlings should never be allowed to dry out, so water them daily. Taper when plants get larger. Transplants also need frequent watering (every two days or so) until their roots are established. After that, how often you need to water depends on the soil, humidity and rainfall, although once a week is a good place to start.

Clay soil dries more slowly than sandy soil, so you won’t need to water it as often. Sunny, windy conditions dry out soil more quickly than cool, cloudy weather. Still not sure? Feel the soil 3-4 inches below the surface. If you feel dry, it’s time to water. Water slowly and deeply, so that the water soaks in rather than runs off. To reduce evaporation, water early in the morning.

9. Mulch your new lawn

To help keep weeds and moisture out, cover the soil with a few inches of mulch. You won’t have to water as often, and by blocking sunlight from reaching the soil, you’ll prevent weed seeds from germinating. Just make sure not to cover the seeds you want to plant or they may not germinate as well.

Choose from a wide range of mulches, each with their own benefits, including shredded bark, straw, and river rock. If you use organic mulch, such as bark, compost or straw, it will nourish the soil as it decomposes. For a vegetable garden or bed of annuals, choose a mulch that decomposes within a few months. For perennials, use a longer-lasting mulch such as bark chips.

Jacob Fox

10. Maintain your garden regularly

As your garden begins to grow, help it reach its full potential by keeping up with garden work. Water the plants before they wilt. Remove weeds before they go to seed. Get rid of dead, dying and diseased plants. Keep destructive insects away by picking them off the plant and dropping them into a bucket of sudsy water, washing them off with a hose, or using insecticidal soap purchased from a garden center. Support tall plants (such as tomatoes) with a trellis, stake or tent. Also harvest vegetables as soon as they are ready. And remember to stop and smell…well, whatever it is you’re growing in.

Frequently asked questions

  • When is the best time to start a new garden?

    Spring is usually the best time to start a new garden but plants can be added in the spring or fall, depending on the type of plant. Plants that thrive in the cold, such as pansies and kale, can be planted in fall or winter in temperate climates. Annuals and tomatoes should be planted when the weather warms and after the last frost date. Plant perennials in mid-spring or mid-fall.

  • What tools do you need to start a new garden?

    Every novice gardener needs a few basic tools: garden gloves; pruning shears; watering can; hand shovel hose; Kneeling garden; paper rake; A shovel or spade.

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