The first thing you need to do is plan your garden. This is one of my favorite steps because you can get creative. What do you want to grow? You can have vegetables, flowers, herbs or fruits, or any combination of these.
Research the plants you want to grow to understand the needs of each plant. This is a very important step, so don’t skip it.
Some things to consider are: amount of sunlight, amount of water, height and width, and hardiness zones.
A simple drawing of your garden area will help you visualize how to place your plants, making sure taller plants don’t shade smaller ones. If you know the growth pattern of each plant, you can give them plenty of room to grow.
2. MAKE THE BED
The bed where your garden will be should be prepared so that the plants you place in it will have the best possible head start to grow and thrive. You can prepare the bed in the fall for fall planting or for spring planting.
You will first need to mark the area you will be using and then remove any grass, weeds, bushes, etc. so you will have a clean area to work.
Then you need to till the soil to loosen it or turn the soil over with a shovel to about the depth of the shovel.
If you are planting in the fall, enrich the soil with composted manure or fertilizer and any necessary amendments and turn it in well. It is best if you can wait 1-2 weeks before planting to avoid burning plants or seeds.
If you are planting in the spring, you can start preparing the bed in the fall. To do this, you can add leaves, grass clippings, manure, and whatever amendments a soil test suggests your soil needs. These will break down over the winter and your garden will have a head start in the spring.
If you prefer, you can wait until spring to prepare the bed. Add composted manure and amendments and give it back good. Again, it’s best to wait 1-2 weeks to plant.
3. DESIGN AND PLAN
You have a plan on paper, so use it to lay out where you will need to place your plants. If they are potted plants, you can put them (still in the pots) in place to see how they will look. That way you can make any adjustments you need before you dig the holes to plant them.
If you are planting seeds, plant according to package directions. Remember to mark where you have planted and what you have planted.
If the plant needs staking, it is best to do this at planting time to avoid damaging the roots when staking later.
4. WATER AND KEEP WET
Now that your plants or seeds are in the ground, they will need moisture. Seeds need moisture to germinate, so make sure they don’t dry out. Once it has germinated and you can see the growth breaking through the soil, then you won’t have to water as often. You only know the water requirements of the plant.
Potted plants also need frequent watering until they are established and their roots can find moisture.
5. WATCH YOUR GARDEN GROW
Yes, this is actually a step. Don’t plant and forget about your garden until it’s time to pick the vegetables or flowers. Observe the plants to see how they are doing. Make sure weeds don’t drive them away, they get enough water, and aggressive neighbors don’t shade them.
Watching your garden grow is one of the best and most relaxing pastimes in the world.
Gardening is fun and enjoyable, but it is hard work. If you follow these simple steps, your hard work will not be in vain and you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.