5 helpful gardening tips for beginning gardeners

Gardening can be daunting, but don’t let it stop you from attempting a home garden. With produce prices soaring, planting a garden is a money-savvy move to have an endless bounty of garden goodies into October! Even with small spaces, a garden can thrive with the right tools and some TLC.

First, let’s start with what you want to grow. Fruits? Herbs? Veggies? Decide what space you must dedicate to a garden and what produce or herbs you want to grow. Keep in mind that some plants can vine, so be sure you account for all garden space needed. Second, grab yourself a watering can, gloves, trowel, and spade. I suggest harvesting shears for good measure.

Here in Cedar Rapids, we’re zone 5. This will help guide you on which seedlings are suitable to sow and transplant (and when) for our location. It also lets you know when our first and last frost is – essential to know when planting and harvesting!

Now that you have the basics down let’s get into 5 helpful gardening tips.

  1. Get to know your plants – research what care they need to thrive. Some vining plants (like peas and beans) do better with a trellis, while tomato plants should be pruned to remove “sucker” stems.
  2. Water needs to be readily available – you will burn out quickly if you’re watering with only a watering can. Invest in a quality hose (with sprayer attachment) or perhaps a drip irrigation system. Be cautious not to overwater (hint: yellow leaves often mean you’re watering too much).
  3. Plant indoors if you need – Most garden vegetables can be directly seeded where they are to grow, but some do better with a head start. Buy transplants for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and melons, or start your own indoors for 6 to 8 weeks before planting them outside.
  4. Be mindful of the sun – some plants need more sun than others, so place them accordingly. Pay attention to how the sunlight hits your yard before choosing a spot for your garden. Most plants need at least 6 hours of sun to thrive.
  5. Have fun – gardening should be enjoyable at the end of the day. Whether you’re doing it for pleasure, financial reasons, or providing a teaching moment to your littles, a garden will be a rewarding experience.

What other tips would you give a beginning gardener?

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