Starting Your First Garden

Credit: Caelus Green Room

Let’s get that thumb green’d up.

Gardening is a fun, relaxing hobby, but it’s also a commitment. Whether you’re growing produce for the kitchen or just want something nice to look at, you’ve got to take this seriously. If it sounds like I’m trying to scare you off of gardening, I’m not, I’m just trying to stress that you can’t do this halfway. If you’re still on board, let’s get to it.

First, choose a simple plant to start out. If you just want a houseplant, try aloe or spider plants. If you want something you can eat, carrots and dill are a good start. Whatever you pick, make sure that the plants you choose can survive where you live. You need to consider typical weather patterns, how much sun faces your prospective spot, and the kind of soil you use. Ask someone in the gardening department of your local hardware store if you’re not sure.

Speaking of the hardware store, make sure you’ve got some tools to work with. You won’t need an entire suite of hoes and power shovels, of course, but you will want a sturdy pair of work gloves, a couple of spades, a watering can, and some pruning shears.

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When you have your climate-appropriate soil, make sure to pre-wet it before you plant anything. Lightly damp soil absorbs water well, which will help your plants take root. Once your seeds/plants are in there, it’s time for the waiting game.

Make sure to water your plants on a regular basis. You don’t have to do it every single day, especially if they’re outdoors, but you should definitely make sure to give them a deep watering whenever they look a little dry. You should also try to do it first thing in the morning when you wake up to give the water time to reach the plants’ roots. If the plants are outdoors, keep a vigilant eye out for weeds that could steal their nutrients. You’ll also need to prune off any heavy stems, branches, or buds so your plants don’t collapse under their own weight. It might help to take pictures and keep a visual journal of your plants’ progress, too.

Now, unfortunately, gardening is not an exact science. Unless you’re a prodigy, you’re more than likely going to have a few casualties before you have a full garden. That’s okay; just make sure to keep careful notes on your plants, and if something you did hurt them, make sure not to do it again. It’ll take time, but soon enough, you’ll have a garden you can be proud of.