How To Garden

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

Learning how to garden could launch a lifelong hobby, provide flowers for your table or food for your meals, and offer the unique sense of satisfaction that comes from growing something with patience and hard work. Anyone can garden--all you need is a sunny spot, a few tools and seeds, and these handy tips.

Gardening tips for beginners

Gardening is both as simple and as complicated as digging a hole and dropping a seed. These gardening tips can help you get started:

  1. Hatch a plan. Your gardening adventure needs some planning before you break ground. What kind of garden do you want? Do you want vegetables for your table or flowers for your vases? How about herbs? You could have all three.
  2. Choose the land. Your garden should get ample amounts of sunlight every day--experts recommend at least six hours of direct light for vegetables, but there are plenty of flower and herb gardens that thrive in shade. Pick a level spot that won't erode when rains come, and place your garden near a water source, so you don't have to drag a hose across half an acre to tend to it.
  3. Think small. Don't get ambitious with your first garden. It can be tempting to imagine a plot teeming with blossoms and vines, but keep in mind that a garden needs work on a daily basis. If you plant too much, you could get frustrated and be ready to quit before the first tender blooms appear.
  4. Break ground. Clear the sod from the area by digging it out, or if you have more time, use layers of newspaper covered with compost to kill the grass and prepare the ground. This could take up to four months--that's why planning ahead is so important.
  5. Gather your tools. The basic tools necessary for gardening include a shovel, hand spades, a small hoe, and a water hose. Much of gardening is done with your hands, so a good set of gardening gloves is a must.
  6. Choose your plants. Now that the ground is ready and you have the necessary tools, choose the plants you want in your garden. Read all the information available on each plant. The more you learn about them at this stage, the easier it will be to take care of the plants as they grow.
  7. Plant them. Follow the instructions for each plant, taking care to provide plenty of room between them. This is where all that reading and research will come in handy.

Finally, take care of your garden. Starting the garden can be the easy part--maintaining it can be tougher. Regularly mulch, water and weed your garden. Continue your reading and research into each plant. Be patient and consistent, then celebrate when you see that first bloom.