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Gardening 101: Getting Started on Your Spring Garden

Beautiful green garden full of trees, decorative plants and blossoming flowers

Picture this: It’s finally spring and the vibrant flowers of your garden are filling the air with their sweet scent, attracting buzzing bees. Occasionally, a squirrel drops by to say hi.

But you’re bad at gardening, and you can’t grow a single crop to save your life.

Despite our best efforts, growing a garden isn’t as easy as it looks. And we know how disheartening it can be to see a display of unsightly, wilted plants.

If this sounds too familiar, don’t worry; with the right tools and knowledge, anyone can grow a thriving garden and develop a green thumb.

In this guide, we'll provide tips and tricks for getting started on your spring garden and turning your gardening dreams into a reality.

Take a look at your garden

Two women working in a greenhouse, watering plants

You need to know what you’re working with. Plants need a few key ingredients to thrive – sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.

The first thing is to consider the location of your garden. Does it have enough access to sunlight?

Next, you need to know what type of plant works well in your climate and soil. For example, blueberries might be difficult in a tropical climate, but papayas would love the tropical heat.

Another tip is to take a look at what’s already growing in your garden. It can tell you the pH levels of your soil.

For example, if there are a lot of weeds or moss growing in your garden, the soil might be leaning towards high acidity. If your lawn is turning yellow, it might be because the pH levels in your soil are too alkaline.

Plan and design your garden

Lavender plant in a clay pot

We’ve heard the phrase ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ Before you start your spring garden, it's important to have a plan in place.

So it’s time to map out and design the garden you want. Take a notepad and roughly sketch out the design of your garden, including any existing structures or trees.

Then, decide on the types of plants you want to include and carve out a good spot where they can thrive. You may want to group plants with similar sunlight and water requirements together.

It’s also good to note that it’s completely fine (and encouraged) to grow flowers alongside vegetables.

By incorporating pest-repelling or bee-friendly flowers into your vegetable garden, you can attract advantageous insects to aid in the pollination process – leading to more bountiful harvests of fresh produce.

Prepare the garden

Parents showing their little daughter leaf attacked by aphids

Next, prepare your garden. This is a crucial step towards growing a healthy and thriving garden.

One of the first things you need to do is clear the site. This involves removing any weeds, rocks, or debris from the soil.

You can also add compost or organic matter to the soil to improve its nutrient content, which will help your plants to grow strong root systems.

Lastly, check for any signs of pests. Pests like aphids and mites can be a major problem in any garden, as they can quickly damage or destroy plants if left unchecked.

Time to start planting

Woman gardening at home

So you’ve done your research, designed and prepared your garden. Now it’s time to get planting.

If you’re starting from seed, you can start the plants from seeds either indoors or outdoors. But it’s best to follow the instructions on the seed packet to ensure they grow properly.

For potted plants, put the pot in the hole to make sure it fits with about three fingers’ width of extra space around it.

Small shrubs are usually sold in plastic pots, but they may have outgrown them. If the roots are tightly packed, you can gently loosen them and the soil, which won't harm the plant, and new roots will grow.

Water and feed regularly, and general maintenance

A man watering plants in greenhouse

Don’t forget to water, prune, and fertilize your plants whenever necessary.

Water: It’s best to water the roots instead of the leaves for better absorption. For chronic over-waterers, the rule of thumb is to water about once a week.

Also, make sure the soil has proper drainage and don’t let the plants sit in standing water.

Prune: Regular pruning can help promote healthy growth and prevent overcrowding.

Be sure to use sharp, clean pruning shears and make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle. It's also important to know the specific pruning needs of each type of plant to avoid damaging it.

Fertilize: Fertilizing your plants is another important aspect of maintaining their health. During the growing season (spring and summer), you should aim to fertilize every two weeks, but be sure to adjust the frequency and amount depending on the specific needs of each plant.

When fertilizing, it's important to follow the instructions on the product carefully and not to over-fertilize, which can damage the plant's roots.

So, grab your gloves and get digging - your dream garden awaits!

Gardening can be challenging, but it's also incredibly rewarding. Enjoy the process and don't be discouraged if things don't go exactly as planned.

Remember, gardening is all about trial and error, and every mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow!

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