Go From Beginner to Expert Gardener With These Tips
Gardening is an activity that seems simple at first glance, but it is not something the beginner can be successful at without some previous knowledge. Few things could be more discouraging to an ambitious beginner than watching as their their plants die after expending a considerable amount of time, effort and money. It is an unfortunate fact that not everyone has a green thumb, so newbies should make sure to collect lots of gardening information before they begin their project. There is a lot of good information available for someone who will take the time to educate themselves about the what, where and why facts about growing any kind of plants. Some people simply want to create a lovely flower garden while other more ambitious types would like to grow and harvest some healthy and tasty vegetables. The information included in the following tips can help anyone get started on growing a successful garden.
1 - Plan According to Location
Planting according to zone is essential, so aspiring gardeners must first determine which zone they live in. The United States is divided into 11 different zones with the lowest being the furthest south and each one averaging 10 degrees lower than the previous one during the winter. It is easy to find the zone for each location by searching online. Plants thrive best when they are grown in the hardiness zone appropriate for them. Certain plants such as lettuce and peas do best in spring, but other edibles such as squash are not mature until the cooler days of autumn.
2 - Soil Must be Fertile for Plants to Thrive
Simply digging a plot to grow plants does not guarantee they will grow well. It is essential to ensure the soil has the proper nutrient and pH levels before planting anything in it. Soil test kits with complete instructions are available from local nurseries or garden centers. The results will indicate which plants will thrive there, and the soil can also be amended with fertilizer if necessary. Aged manure or compost is a good choice, or commercial fertilizer can be used if necessary. Soil texture is also important so the plant roots are able to spread and grow properly. Soil that is too hard can be improved by adding bagged garden soil along with compost.
3 - Plan Carefully Before Planting
Whether growing flowers or vegetables, it is important to know how large they will be at maturity. Plants that do not have enough space will not get enough sunlight and will be stunted. Flowers should be spaced at least 18 inches from the neighboring plant. This distance allows room for the plants to grow while still presenting an attractive garden. Consideration should also be given to how high each variety will grow so the taller plants can be placed behind the shorter ones. This arrangement allows proper sun exposure for every area of the garden.
4 - Regular Garden Maintenance is a Must
With so much effort already expended in learning, planning and the actual work of planting, it is necessary to water and weed on a regular basis. Plants do not thrive without enough water, and weeds can steal important nutrients from growing plants. When nature does not provide enough moisture from rain, the gardener must make sure the plants do not dry out and die. Regular watering is important during hot, dry weather, but deep watering is more beneficial than surface watering. The best time for watering is early in the morning before the sun gets hot. Mulching is a good way to prevent the garden from drying out, but wood mulch is not the best choice for a vegetable garden. Layers of old newspapers or heavy duty plastic covered with soil works great to prevent the soil from drying and weeds from popping up.
Gardening is not an exact science since there are many variables to consider. The best way someone inexperienced with gardening can find success is by starting small. By following the simple tips offered here, the learning curve will not be difficult. Great enjoyment can be found through gardening since it is a great way to experience nature closeup. The greatest benefit to beginning gardeners is enjoying the fruits of their labor and a feeling of accomplishment.