All of the secrets out there on how to start a garden yet at the same time starting a garden from scratch can be quite the task. It may even be overwhelming to you and I get that! I’m married to an engineer who truly helps me put my action into a plan – I’m the one that just jumps right into it, he’s the one with the brains that helps me make it actually work and work well!
I don’t proclaim to have all of the answers, secrets or tips…I’m just here to tell you what we’ve done to successfully start our garden from scratch with our goal to grow it a bit each year.
First off…we did start our garden on a budget and we share all our tips for saving money here. We don’t pretend to have an endless amount of money to get started on a fancy garden…we have dreams, but we intend to start small and actually make sure we enjoy it and stick with it before we invest too much. Like any hobby it costs money, right?!!!
How do you start a garden for beginners?
1 Decide where your garden spot will be.
First access your area, yard, patio or acreage. Decide what best fits your lifestyle and area of living. If you don’t have a yard to utilize and maybe only porches or a deck then you’ll want to use a raised bed method. If you have acreage and want to utilize your land decide where it’s best with lighting, drainage, maybe access to having water if you need to water the garden, even consider the distance from your living space to your garden plot. It’s been said many times that if you can easily walk out of your backyard and access your garden you’ll frequent it more and “baby” it – so to say.
Garden space ideas and planning:
- Raised beds – there are so so so many great options for raised boxes or beds. From nice wooden boxes that are on a stand so you aren’t bending over, to a more economical box to some great looking cedar boxes! Explore your options before you buy!!
- Flower beds
- Box Beds on a patio or deck
For us we have started our garden in the back corner of our property. It gives us space to plant fruit trees, fruit vines (on the list for future!) can access water from our cottage/workshop and gives us plenty of space to build future beds to add on. It’s not necessarily “right out of our back door” of our home but it’s not too far of a walk! We check it at least twice a day on most any given day!!! This is the space that worked for us and where we felt it was best and “out of the way” for future backyard dreams!
2 Don’t be too ambitious!
I suggest starting small and growing it each season or year. This gives you time to really work your one space, learn about the plants you’ll grow and how to treat them etc. It’s like a science project on most days…have they had too much water? not enough water? do they need fertilizer? are there pests and bugs on the plants? how do you take care of those pests? what grows best in your climate? companion planting….and the list goes on!
3 What will you grow?
So depending on your space and where you’ve decided to plant your garden spot will help you determine what you will grow! Don’t grow butter beans if you don’t already eat butter beans. If you love tomatoes add tomatoes to your list!! You want to utilize your space wisely!
First decide what you will eat and then go from there. Next ask yourself and you may even have to research a little if that fruit/vegetable/herb on your list will grow in your zone and in your space. We love apples but apples like cooler weather so apple trees aren’t super successful down here in South Mississippi so we’ve stuck with pear and citrus trees for now!
If you have a small area or are planning on planting in raised beds on a patio/deck you may not be able to grow – lets say – watermelon quite as successful as you could grow green peppers. Make sense?
So even though you’ve made a list of what you’d like to plant and grow you still have to determine IF you can grow it based on your zone (where you live with climate) and your garden space.
4 Now it’s time to WORK!
So you’ve determined if you have front or back yard space or if you need raised beds on a patio etc. Now with a little research it’s time to get to work building that garden space from scratch.
If you need raised beds there are several options – building garden boxes or purchasing boxes. If you aren’t doing boxed gardening you’ll want to begin to till up your ground so that the grass can die before planting and bringing in dirt if you need to.
5 Start your seeds WHILE you WORK!
If you are working on your garden space go ahead and start your seeds so that your plants can be maturing. This takes a slight bit of planning but saves you money – I’ve talked about that here and will share more in the coming weeks on how to start plants by seed.
6 Keep working your space
Be sure your soil you are working with has good nutrients – determine how many square feet you need and then….get bagged soil from your local home improvement store or by the truck load or even buy a scoop of garden soil at your local greenhouse/ garden center.
If you are doing boxed/raised beds you’ll need to fill up each box with good soil. If you’ve decided to use a section of your land you’ll probably want to till up your original dirt and get lots of compost and/or manure or bring in some garden soil – or both!!!
7- Buy only your necessary tools
Don’t go overboard only buy your necessary tools along the way. Basic tools will be needed i.e. a good shovel, hoe and you may want a good hand trowel as well.
8- When should I start my garden?
When you are planning your space and what you’d like to grow…that will determine when you should start your garden. It’s really never too early to start building your boxes for your raised beds or working your soil in a plot in your yard.
9- Enjoy and accept failure
Lastly enjoy the process and accept you’ll have plants that die, wilt, get a fungus, die from pests etc….but oh the fun you’ll have learning about the plants, the pride you’ll get when you’ve started seeds and the next thing you know you have plants to plant in your garden space and then you are eating that fruit/vegetable! Enjoy the process but don’t let failure set you back – just keep on trying and learning.