A Beginner’s Guide to Gardening

Posted on Tuesday, 9 April 2024 under Stories Featured

Starting a garden can seem daunting, especially if you haven’t done it before, but we are here to provide you with a basic beginner’s guide with plenty of resources to help you be successful with the upcoming growing season!

Step 1: Pick your location and how you would like to plant

When starting a garden, it is important to pick an area that receives a good amount of sunlight and effective drainage. You will want to make sure you plant near a water source to have convenient access once you start watering. You will also want to pick an area with good soil. Read Where to Put a Vegetable Garden to learn more about where to plant your garden.

What do you do if you don’t have space for an outdoor garden?

It can be tough when you don’t have enough space to pursue a gardening project, but there are other options.

Our post Growing Food in Small Spaces has some great tips for growing indoors and can help you decide where to have your garden.

If you have your heart set on an outdoor garden but don’t have the space, community gardens are a great alternative. To find a community garden near you, look on your city’s website; you can often find a Community Garden Map like the one on the City of Vancouver’s website.

What Type of Garden should you plant?

For your gardening plot, you can plant it in the ground, in containers or raised beds. There are some advantages and disadvantages to each type, but pick one that will work with your space and your lifestyle. Read Row Gardening vs. Raised Beds vs. Containers to learn more about the different ways to garden.

Step 2: Prepare your garden and pick your seeds

You will want to make sure that your soil is prepped before you plant. Clear any debris, and weeds away from your soil and take the steps needed to prep your soil. Read our post from World Soil Day which goes into detail about what makes good soil.

When starting your first garden you will want to pick a seed that’s easier for beginners. Things like lettuce, beans and peas are easier to grow because of their self-pollination. For a more in-depth list, check out The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow From Seed.

You will want to pick a local seed that will thrive in your specific area. Read our article Planting with Local Seeds This Spring to learn more about the advantages of shopping locally for seeds.

Where to get your seeds?

Check out some of our resources to help you find local seeds this season:

Seed quality is important and will affect your results. To learn more about selecting seeds, read our Savvy Seed Selection post by guest blogger Mary Alice Johnson.

Step 3: Planting your garden

Most seed packets will come with instructions for how to plant and how much space you need in between rows. Make sure you consider this before planting, especially if you are planting multiple types of seeds. It can help to pre-visualize what your garden will look like with a map. Here’s a quick tutorial on How to Make a Garden Map.

You will also need to plant during specific times of the season. To learn more about when to grow in your area, look at our collection of Seasonal Charts.

Step 4: Watering and maintenance

Once you have planted, it is time to water. You want to develop a regular schedule and make sure that you don’t over or underwater. For an in-depth look at how to keep your garden watered read When to Water Your Vegetable Garden.

Growing beautiful flowers or delicious fruits and vegetables often brings uninvited guests. It is important to set up some safeguards to prevent pests and prevent disease from interfering with your crop. Read 10 ways to manage unwelcome garden visitors without pesticides to learn of natural ways to keep away pests.

Step 5: Fertilizing and Harvesting

Just like you, your garden needs nutrients, so fertilizing it will keep your plants and soil healthy. Here is a guide to How and When to Fertilize Your Vegetable Garden.

If all goes right, by the end of the growing season you will have some delicious crops to harvest. Make sure to harvest your crops when they are ripe, your seed packets should give you an estimate of when your crops can be harvested. Here are some ideas on how to keep your fresh food for longer in our Preserving the Harvest post.

Choosing to start a garden is a fun way to spend your time getting in touch with nature, and grow fruit and vegetables that you can add to your table, but it can also be a good thing for the environment. For more ideas on how to keep your garden sustainable read our post on How to Make Your Garden More Sustainable.