Effective home gardening tips and tricks for beginners
03/22/2022 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Effective home gardening tips and tricks for beginners

Home gardening can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a beginner with no idea where to start. But if you want to be self-sufficient and grow tasty organic fruits and vegetables for your family, planning a home garden is the best way to start.

Keep things manageable by planning ahead and starting small.

Choose the right location for your garden

You need to consider several important factors when choosing the site for your home garden.

Is it sunny?

A lot of plants require at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Some veggies like leafy greens can tolerate some shade.


Does the soil drain well or does it stay wet?

If the soil if wet, plant roots will also get wet and can turn into rotted roots. If your garden has poorly drained soil where water pools, you can plant crops in a raised bed or raised row for improved drainage.

Till the soil if the area is rocky. Remove the rocks because they might interfere with root growth, which can result in weaker plants.

Is the area stable and not windy?

Don’t start a garden in an area that gets strong winds. Young plants will get knocked over and the wind can prevent pollinators from doing their job.

You also don’t want to plant in a location that gets too much foot traffic or floods easily.

Is the soil full of nutrients?

Healthy soil will help your plants grow strong. But if you have thin, nutrient-poor soil, you’ll have weak, unhealthy plants.

Add lots of organic matter to the soil to help your plants grow strong.

Start small and keep things manageable

It might seem exciting to start planting as many crops as you can, but it’s better to start small so you can keep an eye on all your plants. Doing this also ensures that you don’t lose track of what you need to do.

Keep a gardening journal

Start a gardening journal to track your gardening process.

Take notes so you can keep track of all tracking information in one place. Having a journal will also make it easy to check your progress from year-to-year.

Use the journal to track what crops you plant, where you plant them and their progress.

Include photos in the journal so you can see how your garden is coming along. A journal can even help you become a more productive gardener.

Choose a garden size that suits your abilities

Plan your garden with care. Start small and only grow what you and your family will eat so you don’t plant too much too soon.

  • If you’re planting in the ground, a 10′ x 10′ garden (100 square feet) is a manageable size. Grow three to five vegetables and buy three to five plants per crop.
  • If you choose to start a raised bed, a 4′ x 4′ or 4′ x 8′ plot is a good beginner size.
  • Once you’re ready to work on something bigger, plan for a 12′ x 24′ garden in the ground. This plot of land should be large enough to grow food for a family of four.

Once you decide on the size of your garden, make sure you have paths that give you easy access to your plants so you can weed and harvest. You should be able to reach the center of a garden row or bed easily without stepping on the soil.

Choose what you’re going to grow

Beginners should start with easy to grow vegetables that are also productive. Check with your state’s Cooperative Extension Service to find out what plants will grow best in your area.

Here are 10 vegetables that are perfect for gardening newbies:

  1. Beets
  2. Carrots
  3. Chard, spinach or kale
  4. Green beans
  5. Lettuce
  6. Peas
  7. Peppers
  8. Radishes
  9. Tomatoes (Bush variety or cherry tomatoes.)
  10. Zucchini

Plant flowers like borage, lavender, marigolds or nasturtium in your home garden to help attract pollinators. Pollinators like bees are important because they will fertilize plants, which helps plants produce fruits and vegetables.

If you’re not sure what to plant, follow these five tips to help you decide:

Grow your family’s favorite veggies

Don’t waste your energy and resources to grow something no one will eat. If your family loves corn or potatoes, grow these veggies in your garden.

Don’t overplant

Don’t overplant because this will drain both your energy and resources. You can give excess vegetables to friends, family or the nearest soup kitchen.

Grow what you can’t find at the local grocery store

Grow vegetables that you can’t get at your local grocery store to make the most of your home garden. Note that homegrown herbs are less expensive than grocery store herbs.

Consider the season

Plan your crops accordingly. Tomatoes and zucchinis grow best in the middle of summer. Cool-season crops like lettuce, kale, peas and root vegetables suit the cooler months of late spring and early fall.

Use high-quality seeds

Seed packets are cheaper than individual plants, but if seeds don’t germinate, that’s your money and effort down the drain.

Invest in quality seeds for higher yields come harvest time.

Deciding where and when to plant

If you want to start a full garden, consider where will each plant go and when you need to plant each vegetable.

Here are some guidelines that will help you decide how to arrange your crops:

You don’t have to plant all your crops at the same time

“Cool-season” vegetables like broccoli, lettuce and peas grow in cooler weather during early spring and fall.

Meanwhile, “warm-season” plants like cucumber, peppers and tomatoes shouldn’t be planted until the soil warms up in late spring and summer.

Keep tall plants like pole beans on a trellis or sweet corn on the north side of the garden so they don’t shade your shorter plants

If you do get shade in one area of your garden, plant small, cool-season veggies. If some areas of your garden get constant shade, plant cool-season vegetables that like shade as the weather heats up.

Most vegetables are planted yearly

If you want to grow perennial crops such as asparagus, rhubarb or herbs, plant them in permanent locations or beds.

Note which crops mature quickly and their harvest period

Crops like bush beans and radishes have a very short harvest period.

Other plants like tomatoes, take longer to produce. At the same time, tomatoes produce for a longer period.

If you’re not sure, check the “days to maturity” section on the seed packet.

Stagger plantings

Make the most of your garden with staggered planting. This ensures that you can harvest lettuce for several weeks instead of all at the same time.

Remember that every region has a different planting time based mainly on the weather. Also, every vegetable has its temperature preferences.

If you’re not sure what to plant in your area, enter your city, state or zip code in this vegetable planting calendar.

Keep things manageable in your garden by choosing the right location, planting the right crops and starting small so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Once you’re more confident with your gardening skills, gradually expand your home garden and grow more crops.


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