Many of us want to have a green thumb, but often our attempts at growing flowers or gardens end up in a jumbled mess of weeds, withered stems, or out of control vegetation. Thankfully, whether we bring the plants indoors or till a traditional plot, we can harvest the benefits of gardening with just a little planning and effort. Afterall, gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with family, sneak in a little bit of exercise, boost our moods, provide access to healthy foods, and save a little money in the process. So, even if we lack a natural knack for growing plants, the following guide can help us learn how to have the perfect home garden.
Home Gardening for Beginners
The first step to a perfect home garden is to think about our goals and needs before we ever break the soil. It’s often best to start small and realistically plan for what we can maintain and consume. One of the biggest mistakes novice gardeners make is getting too excited and planting an overabundance of plants. This misstep can find us facing an uncontrollable plot of weeds, harvesting, and canning along with our already busy schedules.
This makes it essential that we know our needs. Carefully think about what we want our garden to accomplish. Do we want it to be full of flowers and be a restful spot for reflection? Do we want the garden to be an extended outdoor entertainment area? Will this be a place for the kids and pets to run? Or do we want to grow our own organic produce? After we define what we believe is the perfect home garden, we can then design and plan accordingly.
Knowing what and when to plant is also essential when it comes to cultivating the perfect home garden. We can purchase expensive plants and beautiful flowers, but if they are planted in the wrong growing zone or during the wrong season they will never thrive. Contact the local extension agency to help determine what plants are best suited to the area or soil, when to plant, and find the growing zone you live in before buying any plants or seeds.
Tips for Home Gardens
No matter if you choose a flower, vegetable, container, or indoor garden, follow these 8 essential tips for success:
Provide the right balance of water. If we live in a dry area, consider looking for drought resistant or tolerant plant varieties and water during the early morning hours or evenings. Also, consider planting near a water source to eliminate extra work and lugging hoses around.
Boost the soil. Any type of garden requires good soil that is well-drained. Consider having the soil tested to see if you need to add more organic matter, such as compost or peat moss. This will aid with proper drainage, determine which plants thrive in the soil type, and help decide what nutrients to add.
Look for sunny locations. Most plants, especially vegetables, require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. If we can’t find a sunlit spot, consider planting shade loving plants like impatiens, peas, lettuces, succulents, or spinach.
Save money and start plants or cuttings inside our homes. Seeds are typically much cheaper than seedlings or established plants. A few weeks before the last frost, start seeds in your home. Dig through the recycling bin to re-use empty yogurt cups, egg shells, or plastic containers to help with this project.
Make your own compost. Save leftover fruit and vegetable scraps to mix with egg shells, coffee grounds, and dried yard waste to create a nourishing treat for the garden. Making your own compost is also a great way to help the environment with little effort.
Use rows to make small gardens appear longer. Take advantage of traditional rows and lines to fool the eyes. Rows that are planted running the length of the garden draw the eye forward and can make our gardens look bigger.
Consider companion planting. Do a little research to pair plants that grow better alongside each other. A traditional example is the pairing of sweet corn, pole beans, and squash or pumpkin.
Use Marigolds for a natural way to keep insects and pests out of the garden. This hardy and resilient flower helps keep insects away due to their strong scent. They are cheap and better for the environment.
Knowing how to garden isn’t an inborn trait or one that skips a generation. Anyone can learn what to plant and how to tend sprouts for a great harvest. If we plan it right, we can enjoy the perfect home garden loaded with fruits, veggies, and blooms without spending all of our precious time tending to it. Home gardening works best when we combine natural companion plants, conscious planning, and a little creative thinking to turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape or indoor garden.
Gwen Eve Lewis is a freelance writer from Southern California and has contributed to several beauty and health blogs as well as business/social media sites.
Sep 25, 2013 1
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