Starting a garden can seem hard, but it doesn’t have to be.
Do you have containers? Dirt? Do you have the seeds or plants you want to grow? These are just a few questions to answer first, but don’t get overwhelmed. I’ve got you.
I’ve been gardening since 2009. It started simply with containers on my front porch and, once we moved to our house with a back yard, it’s grown into a mini-farm. But, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and killed a lot of plants, so don’t give up if that happens to you.
Here are 7 easy tips to start gardening in any space:
- To start simply, get some containers.
Cloth containers, like these from Amazon, are very helpful and durable. The have handles for easy mobility, they aren’t plastic (which can break) or heavy terracotta. I’ve got at least 30 of these in my garden right now.
- Choose the right soil
I suggest starting with Black Kow compost (or a local bagged compost) and soil with a built in fertilizer. You can choose between regular or organic.
- Choose the right *amount of soil
There’s nothing worse than buying a few bags of dirt and compost, lugging it home and then finding out you don’t have enough. Find out about how many cubic feet (which is listed on the bag of dirt) you need based on the volume of your cloth bags. One 10 gallon bag needs 1.3 cubic feet to fill it to the top. But, one good thing about these bags, they don’t need to be filled to the top. You can fold down the sides and put in enough dirt for the roots of the plant.
- Pick the right seeds or starter plants *at the right time
Where you live in the country will dictate what you can grow at any time of the year. The USDA has an easy map to show your grow zone. On the back of most seed packets there will be a map that shows the zones and when you can start that seed. It also shows how deep to plant the seed and how long it will take to germinate and grow to maturity.
If you local hardware store has baby plants available, they’re likely ready to be transplanted outside into your grow bags. Just watch out for a late/early frost.
- Protect your plants
When cold temperatures come with the possibility of frost or freeze, protecting your hard work with frost cloths, like these from Amazon, is important. You can use the cloths and some supports like a tomato cage or some bent PVC pipes to keep the cloth off the plants..
During the spring and summer when pests can be a big deal, you can protect your plants with insect netting, like this one here. The netting does help, but make sure if it is a plant that needs to be pollinated that you’re letting bees in OR* you’re pollinating by hand (more on that in a later blog post).
If you plan on growing tomatoes or any plant that needs support, I recommend these support cages to help.
- Feed your plants
As the great Martha Stewart says, “Your plants get hungry just like you, feed them!” My favorite organic fertilizer for newly-started plants is the Espoma Organic Bio-Tone Starter, which you can get on Amazon. It has always done well for me and helped my plants grow bigger and stronger. I feed my plants every 6-8 weeks.
- Water your plants
Watering you plants may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to be careful to not over or under water. Also, don’t water the leaves of the plant, water near the soil line. I use this long garden watering wand and it is fantastic. You can also use an easy, 2-gallon watering can, like this one on Amazon.
I hope these 7 tips help you start your gardening journey. As your plants grow and you learn more, you’ll find endless things to research and try. If you have more specific questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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