15 Awesome Gardening Tips
It doesn’t matter if you are planning your first garden or if you have been gardening all your life, there are always new things to learn in the gardening world. Check out this list and maybe there will be some things that will help you take your garden to the next level.
Can’t you just stick some seeds in the ground? Well you can, but you will have more success if you plan where you are going to put your garden. Some things to consider are: Is your garden in the shade? Is it near trees? Is it near a water source? Is it going to flood in the rainy season? Check out a well planned garden for more things to think about before you start your garden.
To grow healthy happy plants you need to start them in healthy, humus rich garden soil. The soil you plant your seeds/seedlings in will make all the difference come harvest time.
Another way to make great soil and feed your plants at the same time is to compost. Whether you pile your leaves and veggie scraps in a bin, feed them to your worms or put them into a worm tower right in your garden, you want to compost. Composting makes wonderful fertilizer for your plants. It also makes your soil lighter and hold water better. And it keeps your scraps out of the landfill. Composting is a win win!
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Some seeds can be started right in the garden. But if you want to get a head start or you have seeds that need a little more of a watchful eye, take a look at how I start seeds. It’s the best way I have found yet!
5) Proper Spacing
It’s important to space your seeds properly. Plants need space to stretch their roots. And if a plant can’t get enough air and sunshine, it may get a fungus or just not grow well at all. Each seed packet tells you spacing requirements. Or you can check out the books below. They will let you know how much space each type of plant needs. How do you measure that in the garden? One way is to make spacing blocks like above, or paint a yard stick on your favorite long handled tool.
When is the best time to plant your seeds? First you need to know what each plant likes. Corn likes warm weather. You need to wait until the ground warms to plant them. Peas on the other hand like it cool. Eggplant doesn’t like any cool AT ALL. Kale can be planted in the fall and grow all winter in some areas. You have to learn when each plant you want to grow likes to be planted.
7) Companion Planting
Don’t plant beans next to onions. Basil makes tomatoes grow better. Every plant has a best friend and plants they don’t like to ‘hang around with’. Some for the chemicals they put out and some for the bugs they attract or repel. Learning companion planting is a fascinating study that will fill a whole book. A great one is “Carrots Love Garlic”.
You can’t keep every weed from poking it’s nasty little head up. Go to 10 ways to make weeds – go away for several ideas to help keep that dreaded task under control and leave you more time to enjoy your garden.
Watering with a sprinkler comes with it’s own set of problems. It can cause fungus to take hold. And when your plants get tall the spray will not get past them to the plants on the other side. What’s a person to do? I like soaker hoses and drip irrigation. It gets the water to the roots where it is needed. You have less evaporation so you use less water. and no tall plants can block other plants. This is a win win for me.
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10) Succession Planting
You can increase your garden yields tremendously with succession planting. When one plant comes out, dig in a little compost or fertilizer and have another plant or seed ready to go in. Just make sure it is a plant that can grow in the season coming up (warm weather crop or cold weather crop) and that it is of a different family than the one you took out. (see #12 below)
11) Garden Journal
Don’t forget your garden Journal. A very important part of gardening is your garden journal. Why? How are you going to keep track of what you planted where. You can also write down what varieties you planted and how well they performed. That will give you information as to what to plant next year… and the year after. It’s a great planning tool and is every bit as important as your shovel for your garden.
Every garden vegetable has a family. And every family has enemies such as pests and diseases. If you leave the same family in the same place year after year the diseases and pests will increase in number until they take over your plant family. The way to combat this is to move them around. This is called rotational gardening. You should let a garden bed rest from that family of plants for 4 years. Check out this article to see what I mean.
If you don’t have room in your yard, or you don’t have a yard at all, you can still garden. Just garden in containers. You may not be able to grow gigantic pumpkins, but many vegetables will grow just fine in containers. You can have a whole salad in a hanging basket, complete with lettuce, carrots and tumbling tom tomatoes. And so much more! Just look for smaller varieties. Most seed catalogs mention which are suitable for containers.
Don’t forget to plant flowers in your garden. Flowers do so many good things. Some ward off pests, like this marigold. Some are wonderful to eat like, the nasturtium, and most attract pollinators. Borrage is a great example of this. It is a favorite of bees. And another reason to plant flowers in your vegetable garden is just to make your garden more beautiful to look at!
15) Plant What You Like To Eat
Don’t forget to choose plants that you LIKE to eat. If you don’t like it, it is a waste of space and energy. So If you like salad, grow a salad garden. If you like potatoes, grow a large area of potatoes. If you don’t like collards, why bother? Think about what your family will eat and plant that. You will be so much happier with your garden.
Bonus Tip – Plant one thing new each year
How will you know about new things you might just love, if you don’t try them? I try to plant one new thing each year. This year it was TYPHON. I just love it. It is very versatile. And in a small space it will grow enough to feed the whole neighborhood. Try something new. You might just find your new favorite!
Happy Gardening and Have a Ducky Day!