5 Steps for a Successful First Time Garden
For many people, gardening can be quite overwhelming. For first timers, it’s easy to start a garden if you start small. By following just a few simple tips, you can have a green and productive garden. Take a look below before you start your very own:
- Start with fresh soil and seeds
Any garden store will carry a big variety of organic seeds and soils. Your seeds will grow best and healthiest through an organic start. Plus, if you are going to start your own garden anyway, why not just start fresh? Add water to the soil and make sure it is moist before you put it in your starter pots. Add four to six seeds to each pot and cover with about an inch of soil. Remember, each seed can grow several plants, so you don’t want to add too many seeds to any pot, otherwise – they’ll begin to fight for the nutrients provided by the soil, and the weaklings will die out.
- Add filtered water
Just like humans, plants need water to function properly. When growing from seeds, it’s best to buy a really nice spray bottle and squirt the planted area 8-10 times every morning. You will need to make sure that the pots are always moist, as seedlings should never dry out. Once the plants grow to about two or three inches, you can begin using a small cup to slowly add just the right amount of water to the plant.
Watering slowly ensures that the plant is soaking in water, rather than having the water simply run past the roots. It’s important to note that overwatering can kill the plants. The soil should be moist throughout the day, and never dried out. Be careful to only water the plants in the early morning or late evening, as the sun can also dry them out – especially if there is water on the leaves. The water will act as a magnifying glass, and add extra heat to unneeded areas.
- Find the perfect spot
A sunny patio or windowsill works perfectly for new plants. Along with water, plants need enough sunlight to grow properly. Most plants need about 6 hours of sunlight per day. If you can’t find a spot that gets exactly six hours a day, your plant will still be okay – but as stated previously, the sunnier the better (of course, not too much sun though!).
Usually, your plants will receive the best amount and type of sunlight early in the morning. It’s not too hot, and your plants are less at risk of being dried out from evaporation. You can place your pots in a spot that receives plenty of early morning sunlight and move the pots back to a shadier place in the afternoon to ensure that they do not dry out.
Garden tip * If you prefer not to wait for your new seedlings to grow directly in the soil, you can start by applying the seeds to a wet napkin, placing that napkin into a Ziploc bag, and taping it to a window or patio door where it will receive plenty of sunlight.
- Fertilize and protect
Instead of using store bought fertilizers and food, it’s best to use what you already have at home. You can add decayed leaves, old manure, orange peels, too-old-to-eat fruits and veggies, and dry grass to your soil to give it just the right amount of life. You can also use an Epsom salt and water solution to make your plants a little greener. Coffee grounds will also do the trick.
Garden tip * If you are using soil found from your garden, you can have a soil test done through your city to find out exactly what is in your soil and whether or not it is the best option for your new garden.
If you would like to take it a step further (or if you live in a slightly chillier climate), it would be a great idea to add mulch to the garden. Unlike soil, mulch will help keep the heat, weeds, and water in the soil. That way, even if your plant does not get up to six hours of sunlight a day, it is still making the best of the time it is exposed to the sun.
When your plants are about three inches, it’s a good time to transplant them into their own pot. Be careful not to rip their roots apart, and tap on the pot until the soil is loose before picking out your plant and planting it into a new pot – following the same steps you followed when planting a seed. Again, water the plant often until the roots have become established.
Once you have done these things, the most important part of ensuring that your garden provides you with its promised veggies, is to tend to it everyday. Water your plants every morning, give them food, pull any weeds you see immediately, and check the leaves frequently for infestation. Many infestations will not kill a plant immediately, but they can make it very hard for it to keep growing at its best capability. Tend to your garden often, and your garden will reward you with delicious goodies!
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