How to get Started in Gardening

So you’ve decided that you want to start a garden, now what? A person could easily find themselves overwhelmed with all the information out there and get discouraged. To save time and headaches I will break down some of the basics for a bountiful success.


In order to get started you need to see what kind of space you have to work with. Do you live in an apartment where your landlord may not want garden beds or do you own a house and have free use of your property? These questions will dictate what you can grow and how much of something you can grow. 

For our apartment dweller’s we’re going to be looking at container gardening which is extremely effective and rather convenient. You are able to grow a lot of different fruit and veggies in containers which include beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, basil, parsley, and many others. With container gardening you can be as simple or as fancy as your budget allows. A simple 5 gallon bucket from a big box store will work or you can source food grade buckets from local restaurants or grocery stores (some restaurants may give them out for free). There’s no need to over complicate things, you don’t NEED huge contains like a 5 gallon bucket to grow a lot of produce the exception being potatoes that grow under the soil level, for example if your just looking to do a simple herb garden a small windowsill container will do and it’ll hold 3-4 different plants. A huge advantage to containers is the ability to move them in and out of sunlight. Most plants need 6+ hours of sunlight to grow and produce well, herbs will grow with 4+ hours of sunlight. So if you find yourself on the shady end of an apartment you can move them or adjust what you grow to accommodate your amount of sunlight. Lastly if you live in an area that has a HOA (home owners association) container gardening may be the way to go for you. 

Moving on to our home owners who may not have the same restrictions as apartment dwellers and if you do refer back to containers. You now need to make the decision of an in ground bed or a raised bed. If you’re looking to save money and willing to put in a little work, in ground is the way to go. You’ll need nothing more than a fork to turn the soil over and lots of sweat but it’s worth it in the end, if you have a tiller or know someone who does and could borrow it than you cut the workload in half. When it comes to raised beds you can either buy them or if you have some tools and love small projects you can build them. A raised bed gives you the advantage of height, if you have a disability that restricts you from moving easily or are older and don’t want to bend as much you can buy or build them as low or high as you like. The biggest disadvantage to a raised bed is amount of space available to you and the amount of money you’d need to fill that raised bed which I’ll talk about soil in our next section. 

This section is more aimed at our container and raised bed gardeners but still worth a read. There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to potting mix so I’ll keep it short and to the point. The saying “if it’s too good to be true” it probably is. When shopping for potting mixes you will find so many different types, brands and more importantly prices. The truth of the matter is if you buy the more expensive mix you get your money’s worth but if you go for the cheapest you’ll get lesser quality. If you have a few container to fill buy the higher quality mix but if your filling a lot of containers you could buy the cheaper and expensive mix and fill the containers half and half, so essentially use the cheaper mix as filler just to fill the containers halfway and fill the other half with the good mix. Same goes for raised beds, if you have a larger sized bed fill it halfway with cheaper soil and use the higher quality stuff to top it off. I’ve used both qualities of soil on their own and can say for a fact if you want happy, healthy, and productive plants opt for the best you can get. 

So we’ve covered how we want to get started but now we have to decide seeds or starts for our plants. Going to your big box store or local nursery you’ll find both started plants or packets of seed and you’ll be asking yourself what is best. My recommendation for novice gardeners is to just buy starts, preferably from a local nursery. If you would like to buy seeds and give it a try the best things would be cucumbers, beans and peas, lettuce, corn, and carrots. Certain vegetables and fruits have to be bought as starts due to the amount of time needed to grow and fruit properly like tomatoes and peppers for example. Seed starting equipment can get costly and if you’re a novice it can be discouraging if you fail at it. Another issue would be just your general enjoyment with gardening, you would hate to spend all the money on seed starting equipment and everything else only to find out you don’t actually like gardening or putting that much effort into gardening. Little side note about buying starts, if you have the opportunity to support small farms do it not just because it’s a small local business but more so because they take care of the plants compared to big box stores you’ll find a lot of dead and unhealthy looking plants. 

Gardening is a fun and enjoyable hobby, you can provide you and your family with fresh and tasteful produce. We could easily get overwhelmed and stressed out when we get started. I wanted to help break down all the information that’s available into something more understandable so I could make it easier on you when you dig into the world of gardening. 


Popular posts from this blog

Heirloom vs Hybrid? What’s the difference?

5 Easy Crops to Grow for Beginners.

Guide to Watering.