Perhaps you dreamed of having a lush, beautiful flower garden in your new home. There were many visions of planting seeds, and watching your brand new garden thrive with bountiful harvests.
If you are a newbie gardener, gardening can be an exciting and rewarding journey, inspiring a newfound passion for the wonders of nature. You might think you can overcome a lack of experience with genuine enthusiasm, but some gardening problems are particularly confusing for beginners - even if you have done your research and spent hours flipping through gardening guides.
Like any other new venture, gardening is a journey of experimentation and learning. Without the guidance of more experienced gardeners, you will encounter certain roadblocks in your quest for the garden of your dreams. To get you up to speed, we will cover the top five most confusing questions for beginner gardeners in this article, with detailed answers and tips on how to overcome these hurdles.
1. How should I prepare soil for a healthy garden?
The soil of your garden provides essential nutrients for plants and veggies to grow, and good soil is the foundation of a successful garden. You should start with proper soil preparation and investing in high-quality soil for optimal plant growth.
You will likely need to do some research about the soil conditions in your garden. Different soil types include peat, clay, loam, chalk, silt, and more. The consistency, pH levels, and amount of nutrients in different soil can vary, and you can use test kits to help determine its quality. To further improve its structure, adjust pH levels or enhance drainage, you can add amendments to the soil. For example, you can add compost to your soil for additional nutrient quality and improved structure.
2. How often should I fertilize my plants?
Fertilizer helps plants get the most important nutrients needed in order to grow healthy veggies, flowers or fruit. Fertilizers come in different forms like organic, synthetic, liquid, and manure, and how often you use them depends on what you are fertilizing in your garden.
Some plants need regular fertilizing to thrive, while others can grow well without fertilizer. Meanwhile, using too much fertilizer on certain plants can lead to high levels of nitrogen in the soil or excessive growth, and even fertilizer burn.
Fertilizing regularly is more important if you are gardening on land that has already grown vegetation before. Most gardens will grow fine if you mix compost into its soil every few months, and feed your veggies with liquid-soluble plant food every couple of weeks.
3. How often should I water my garden?
This is indeed one of the most asked gardening questions. Meanwhile, there is no fool-proof answer that is going to work for every new gardener, and your garden will likely suffer if you just water your plants once a week.
A host of factors including the type of soil you have, the climate in your region, the amount of moisture and rainfall, and where your plants are grown will all affect the frequency of watering needed for your garden.
For most gardens, you can test the soil by sticking your finger about one inch in. Watering is needed if the soil feels dry. If it is still moist, you can wait for it to get dry. A general rule is to water deeply once per week, or twice a week in hotter climate conditions.
4. What are the easiest veggies to start with?
As a beginner, it is definitely a good idea to start your gardening with some easy to grow plants or veggies.
Some of the easiest vegetables to grow are tomatoes, lettuces, carrots, and radishes. With radishes, you can even grow them from seed to harvest in under a month. Starting with easier plants will help build your confidence as a gardener, without too much stress or time spent tending to more high-maintenance plants.
5. Is it better to use containers, raised garden beds, or plant in the ground?
The answer to this question depends on your gardening scenario, including the amount of garden space you have, your soil type, and your specific needs.
You can save costs by planting in the ground without containers or beds, while raised garden beds allow you to save space and control the soil quality in your garden. Using raised beds also lets you tend to your plants more conveniently, without having to stoop to the ground repeatedly.