So you want to START a garden

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 - 8:36am

So you want to start a garden. Here are some practical tips for before you even buy a seed. 

Where? Where will your new garden be located? Are there too many trees on your property so there is no sunny place to grow vegetables? You might have to take a tree or two down to start. How much space you have and how much sunshine you get there will be a deciding factor as to what you can grow, and how much you of it you can grow. Don't forget vertical spaces that you already have or can put up. 

Water? What sort of rainfall or other watering issues will you have? Do you live in a dry area, a too-wet area, near a river or stream or pond? Is it hot or cool most of the year? You really might want to install drip irrigation in dry areas. Should you capture rain water? Should you get a well? Some water in urban and suburban communities is extremely expensive. Assume it will get more costly, as time goes by.

How? Will it be a row garden, a square-foot garden, raised beds, French dig, container garden? Read up on it. As a general rule, those with lots of rural space might choose row gardens, suburban growers might be more comfortable with raised beds/square foot gardens, and urban growers might be more comfortable with container gardens. 

Soil? Do you have enough soil? Do you have a local compositing facility where you can get more, cheaply? How good is your soil? Do you know where your local agricultural extension  is? Their labs do soil testing for next to nothing and you can use their advice to make the soil healthy for your coming garden.

Okay, now you can buy seeds! 

What? Choose seeds and plants that will work well in your climate. As a general rule, buy seeds from local providers and plants and food trees from local nurseries. The "big box" national chain stores will not carry what's best for your climate, only what's most popular nationally, and they tend to use a lot of chemicals on their starter plants and be okay with the products of big agricultural firms that might not work well for small gardeners. 



1 Comment

Helix's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 20 2008
Posts: 83
Three important rules for new gardens

(1)  Plant only what you like to eat.

(2)  Start small.

(3)  Visit your garden every day if possible.  Keep an eye out for problems -- weeds, bugs, disease, raiders.  Remediate problems before they take your garden.

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