Spring is here and year after year you tell yourself you’re going to grow a garden. How about this year, for a change, you actually jump in and do it? Our Gardening for Beginners Read will give you all the tips needed to get started.

The first step to planning your garden is choosing your location. Will you be planting right in the ground or will you be using a raised bed? Will you even be using your own yard? For some, a plot in the local cooperative extension is enough; but for others once they get a taste they start wanting to convert the front lawn to a farm. 

For your first year you may want to start small. Green thumbs can be learned, but maintaining a garden takes more time than you might think and you want it to be fun, rather than a job. 

If the final frost date hasn’t passed you can’t do much work outside, but you can gather your garden tools and watch the sun. 

Visit your local garden center to pick out the tools you will need. A good center, such as Brinkmann’s, will have a staff member to help guide you to the exact tools you’ll want depending on the kinds of plants you plan to grow. Some of the basic tools you’ll want are a hand trowel, a larger shovel, and a rake. Depending on soil conditions and plants you may need other tools. Garden center staff will know what’s best for your particular situation. 

Watch to see where your yard gets full sun. If you’re planning on doing vegetable gardening or even planting flowers you’ll want at least 6-8 hours of full sun to get a decent crop. Spend some time observing and watching how the sun travels across your yard and it will help you determine where to place your garden bed. 

Preparing Your Soil:

Once the final frost has passed you can start preparing your garden soil. You’ll need to till it well and work in a layer of compost, grass clippings, or other organic matter. You can also use pre-packaged garden soil to help improve your planting medium. This will help to nourish the plants you put in the soil. 

Once the soil is prepared you’re on your way to starting a vegetable garden. If you’ve started from seeds wait until your seedlings are a couple of inches tall before putting them in the ground, though certain plants like lettuce and sunflowers can be planted right in the garden soil. Small plants you purchase from the garden center will be ready to plant right away. 

When your plants are young you’ll want to water them often. Young plants should never dry out, so water them daily unless it’s already been raining. The best time to water them is early in the morning so that the moisture doesn’t evaporate. 

Keeping Weeds Out:

Weeds can become an issue as they grow quickly and can appear seemingly overnight. To keep out the weeds and help let moisture in keep the soil around your plants covered in mulch. You can use grass clippings, pine needles, or bark chips. You’ll find many options at your garden center, or you can just use the clippings from when you mow your lawn.  And that’s it! Feed your plants about halfway through the growing season because they’ll be hungry as they make their final push to produce vegetables and flowers. Starting in the summer you’ll be able to begin your harvest. As your plants grow take in vegetables as they appear, and soon you’ll have more tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini than you know what to do with!