This is our second year planting a garden and our first year planting a fall garden and I’ve definitely learned a few things that I think are worth sharing. I figure every year I will continue to learn more and more about gardening and the more I learn, the less I’ll remember the little lessons I learned in the beginning. So, from one beginning gardener to another…
1. Raised beds are the way to go
I’ve found raised beds to be manageable for a busy life. Andrew and I both work full time jobs, have a daughter, a son on the way, and take care of our animals but our raised beds never get out of control with weeds. They’re so easy to maintain if they’re done right. Laying something down in the bottom of your raised beds like landscape paper will help cut back on weeding by a ton. We’ve actually used leftover roofing paper in the bottom of ours before. The next thing to be considerate of is what you fill them with. If you fill them with dirt that has grass growing in it, it will most likely take over. While raised beds will cost more in the beginning than a garden in the ground, they are worth the investment if you don’t have a lot of time to spend weeding.
2. Do as the back of the seed packets tell you
Last year we planted carrots and I had a ton sprout. I remember reading the back of the seed packet and thinking to myself, “Why would I thin out my carrots when they all look like they’re doing great?” Because you will end up with a bunch of stubby little carrots, Courtney. That’s why! Instead of a generous amount of nice, long carrots, I ended up with an enormous amount of short, oddly shaped carrots. They didn’t have the room to grow and were sharing the space with too many carrots. We didn’t end up eating any of them and I ended up decorating with them because what else is a girl to do? Lol. Our chickens enjoyed them too! Note to self: Thin your plants if needed.
3. Count the Successes
Although our gardens have been pretty successful, I remember telling Andrew, “As long as we grow something we can eat, I’ll be happy.” Usually, I keep my expectations pretty high but in this case I made an exception. I feel like gardening can be like second nature one day but other times it feels like the learning curve is steep. Luckily, we ended up with a variety of vegetables we were able to eat despite my pathetic carrot crop. I was so excited that I had more than just one type of vegetable to harvest and eat.
4. Google, YouTube, and other gardeners in your area are your friends
One of today’s luxuries (to most people) is that you can google or watch a video about anything. If you happen to misplace a seed packet or you need a question answered about a plant that didn’t come with directions, google it. Besides google and YouTube though, I’m sure you have friends, neighbors, or family in your area that have quite a bit of experience gardening in your zone. I’ve picked peoples’ brains about gardening in our area and have learned a lot. Andrew and I both have asked our coworkers as well and have gained valuable information.
5. Figure out what planting zone you’re in
I think it’s important to know what planting zone you’re in as you can find out when is the best time to plant and what grows best in your area. You might connect with other gardeners on social media that have experience gardening in the same zone. You can also easily google when your first and last frost dates are for the city or town you live in. I’ve attached a link below that provides a map of the planting zones.
Gardening is a lot of work but also really rewarding. I actually think it’s relaxing and therapeutic to pull weeds and water ? I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips as a beginning gardener. If you have any gardening tips, I’d love to read them below in the comment section!