What Should Every New Gardener Know?

What Should Every New Gardener Know?

In the New Vegetable Gardeners
I'm just curious, what do you all think are the critical things for someone new to gardening to know?

29 Replies So Far

It all starts with the dirt! This may sound obvious but often novice gardeners are so excited to get planting that they don't take enough time preparing the soil. And once things are planted you can't do much to improve the soil until next year.

You can send a sample of your soil to the local agriculture extension service and they will recommend what you should add to improve the quality. There are also a couple articles on this site that could help you; Organically Supplementing Your Soil and Composting and Soil Management.

Good luck with your first garden.
The soil first.Then keep it weeded. Good luck.
yes I would agree with those posts. Good soil is important, weeds will crowd out everything else if you don't keep on top of them (know this from experience, lol). Also, water is important. things may survive but they won't be the best if you leave this too long.
Hello!
I am a container gardener, and this is my first time gardening myself. What I have learned in the process is to not use the same soil (lol) I was growing some lettuce in a big huge pot, was going to grow watermelons but decided to scoop up the seeds i just put dwn and just let the soil sit watered to make sure there was no plants growing b4 I start my new lettuce. I waited a month, nothing sproutted, so i decided to soil the lettuce seeds. A few week later Im excited to see my lettuce growing. Around a few weeks after I started seeing vines (lol) Lettuce dont have vines, found out my watermelon took over and still havent seen the lettuce plants yet (lol) thats my trial and error.....
Everyone is correct in having the right soil mix. Another very important thing to remember is NEVER work soil that is too wet. It should be crumbly like a chocolate cake. If you work soil that is saturated it will compact it to the point of becoming brick like when it's dry.
I am trying my hand at square foot gardening for the first time. I planted seeds on 04-25-2012 and so far I only have 4 radishes up and nothing in the spinach, lettuce, carrot, or onion square. What am I doing wrong? I used fresh seeds that I just bought this year. I don't think I planted them too deep. I have been trying to keep them moist. When do I throw in the towel and replant and try again? Or do I just give it more time? I do live in Illinois, so it still gets chilly at night, but we haven't had a frost since I planted them. Frustrated already!
I appreciate any advice.
Debbie
I am a container gardener, I have been planting for 2 yrs, things are still new myself. First to keep it simple as a newbie. I want to let you know that all the things you are planting grows better early winter to spring and fall for me. I am in zone 7. You need to first study your zone, and study more on gardening. I LEARNED alot from reading what plants work together, what soil to use with certain plants and how long its going to take to grow the time you are planting. Just because the Radishes is up, doesnt mean the other will grow the same time. I was the same way, I picked up a pack of seeds just because of the look and taste, it was a pack that I should have waited for a longer season, so by the time it needed to harvest snow was going to be on the ground. So studying more on what you growing helps out alot and be patient. Or try again if you did it wrong.
Thanks for the advice. I have been doing a lot of reading and this gardening is a work in progress. Looks like some of it is trial and error. I haven't given up complete hope that my seeds aren't growing. How could so many be bad seeds? I tend to think it is more the planter!
Yes! Trial and error, I just had a few of my plants bolted, thats another trial I am going through, but its fun to learn because you never can get bored and so many people are doing it.
It's all about the dirt! Let no one tell you different. Learn to compost, in the fall use leaves to improve your soil, just pile them on and til them in later. If you have bad soil you will just not get the product. Also, use local nurseries and growers! Not the chain stores (lowes or home depot) to get your veggie plants. The reason is the local guy/gal KNOWS what will do best in your area. Remember practice makes perfect! Never give up! If you have a bad spring, go again for summer, bad summer? Go again for fall garden! Don't be afraid to try new.......try edamame beans! Super simple to grow, and delicious......they will grow in anything and it gives you confidence. Grow, grow, GROW! Use what's cheap or free and start with seed! Don't be afraid! Fearless home farmers.....be fearless!
This is the first time I have ever tried vegetable gardening and did so with two things in mind from creating some flower beds in front of my house. One: I have a very small yard with a limited .amount of space. Two: Kansas soil is the closest thing to clay - concrete known to exist. Thus,nit needednsome good soil with some depth. Created araised bed. Technically speeking - incorrectly - using just 2x10 s. Soil wise.I just turned the top.soil, evened that out, added.lawn clippings, morensoil, compost, and hay. Left it alone for a few months and nownhave a small plot with crumbly - moist soil that drains well.
This is the first time I have ever tried vegetable gardening and did so with two things in mind from creating some flower beds in front of my house. One: I have a very small yard with a limited .amount of space. Two: Kansas soil is the closest thing to clay - concrete known to exist. Thus,nit needednsome good soil with some depth. Created araised bed. Technically speeking - incorrectly - using just 2x10 s. Soil wise.I just turned the top.soil, evened that out, added.lawn clippings, morensoil, compost, and hay. Left it alone for a few months and nownhave a small plot with crumbly - moist soil that drains well.
I say start small, dont get too excited and be overwhelmed by caring for your crops, because it can be overwhelmed if you taking on too much task. Either the bugs, disease, weather, soil, timing and spot your may have it can destroy your hard work. So research and start small!
Some years ago, a kind neighbor turned me on to vegetable gardening. I prepared the site, taking lots of time and effort to amend the soil (it's clay loam here) in the fall, then planted cover crop (winter rye) and mowed/tilled it in when weather allowed in the spring.

I LOVED the planning and planting work, laying out the soaker hoses and programming the automatic waterer. The inevitable weeds came up, but it was so exciting to be among the growing plants I didn't mind the weeding. The first flowerings were celebrated with high-fives and a well-earned glass of wine. Then late July hit, and along with it an intense steamy heat--Ugh! Weeding wasn't such a pleasure now. Working in the garden now was little more than full-out warfare against the mosquitoes, and I usually lost. The weeds got ahead of me and the fruits of my labor were abandoned to the field.

We did a lot of things right (consulting an expert, soil preparation, watering on a schedule) but the truth is that it isn't a sprint but a marathon. We failed to take appropropriate steps to control weeds, and that made it miserable! The next year I took a friend's advice and used straw as a mulch--bad idea as the weed seeds had a field day in our rich soil. The year after that, we used newspapers between the rows (soy-based ink only) and the slugs loved us for it.

Gardening isn't for the faint of heart! Recognizing we were lilly-livers, we put away our tools and planted our former garden with ornamentals. It is only now, 15 years later that we are planning another veggie garden, which will be kept to a responsible size.

There's some great advice from the other posters, but for me best advice for a new gardener should have been to keep the scale of the garden in line with what you are willing to care for when the weather is at it's worst.
Some years ago, a kind neighbor turned me on to vegetable gardening. I prepared the site, taking lots of time and effort to amend the soil (it's clay loam here) in the fall, then planted cover crop (winter rye) and mowed/tilled it in when weather allowed in the spring.

I LOVED the planning and planting work, laying out the soaker hoses and programming the automatic waterer. The inevitable weeds came up, but it was so exciting to be among the growing plants I didn't mind the weeding. The first flowerings were celebrated with high-fives and a well-earned glass of wine. Then late July hit, and along with it an intense steamy heat--Ugh! Weeding wasn't such a pleasure now. Working in the garden now was little more than full-out warfare against the mosquitoes, and I usually lost. The weeds got ahead of me and the fruits of my labor were abandoned to the field.

We did a lot of things right (consulting an expert, soil preparation, watering on a schedule) but the truth is that it isn't a sprint but a marathon. We failed to take appropropriate steps to control weeds, and that made it miserable! The next year I took a friend's advice and used straw as a mulch--bad idea as the weed seeds had a field day in our rich soil. The year after that, we used newspapers between the rows (soy-based ink only) and the slugs loved us for it.

Gardening isn't for the faint of heart! Recognizing we were lilly-livers, we put away our tools and planted our former garden with ornamentals. It is only now, 15 years later that we are planning another veggie garden, which will be kept to a responsible size.

There's some great advice from the other posters, but for me best advice for a new gardener should have been to keep the scale of the garden in line with what you are willing to care for when the weather is at it's worst.
A garden is a beautifying property in your home. It is wonderful to have a garden in your outdoor space as it provides an outlet for creativity and energy. Be it a small plot of land or a vast space, gardens are always a bonus and brings tranquility to your life. Anyone can become a gardener if you are interested in growing and planting. If you plant vegetables, you have the added benefit of eating your own harvest. So what are the essentials that every gardener must know about gardening? Below are some of the important things that every gardener must know while planting vegetables and flowers.
1. Soil
Soil is the first and foremost thing that a gardener should take care of. Decide a good spot where you would like to see your garden and remove all the grass from that particular area. Loosen the soil by pulling out rocks, sticks and other matter.
2. Light
when it comes to lighting, the choices are limited as not every spaces are apt for sufficient lighting. But not to worry, there are several plants that are suitable for every degree of light. If your garden gets at least 6 hours of light everyday, you can plant vegetables and flowers. For those who get less sunlight, buy plants that grow in light shade.
3. Water
A gardener must be well aware to water his plants at least twice a day (in very dry areas) or at least 3 times a week. Water your plants during morning or evening when its the coolest part of the day.
4. Fertilizer
If you have grown flowers and vegetables, they need the help of fertilizers. Fertilizers add nutrients to the soil which promotes in the leaf growth and helps in the root health. Chemical fertilizers are powerful but organic fertilizers do a good job and have the added benefit of improving the soil condition for a long period of time. All you need to do is just sprinkle some the fertilizer over the diert and scratch it into the soil with a fork.
Be realistic when you plan your first garden, take care of it with love, am sure it will give you what you want for. Pull weeds when you find them and fertilize during the growing season.
Don't plant trees,or perennials that won't survive conditions in your area. prune your spring flowering shrubs. Apply only composted manure. learn the growing season. remove weeds at regular intervals. Remove spent and faded flowers. Ensure that all the plants get atleast 8 hours of sunlight.But cleaning doesnt mean cleanig up everything in your garden. Plant spring blooming bulbs etc.
It is also important to make sure that you don't waste water while irrigating. Watering methods should vary from plant to plant. Also it depends a lot on the temperature and climatic conditions. Both scarcity and excess of water can destroy the plants and also the landscape. My landscape designers have a blog on their website on water saving irrigation options. Do read this if you find time, http://infinitygardens.ca/blog/category/water-saving/.
I must say all the suggestions given above are really very appreciable. I would like to add one of my point, As far as we sow seeds and let them grow for long, we also need to take care, plants should not get damaged because of the pesky insects like bugs or rats, aphids etc.. Instead facing damages in future we should contact or should read some useful content guided by professional rats, bug exterminator like exterminator Sacramento CA Florida arts at http://californiarodentcontrol.com/, okrin.com..
Thanks for sharing this information!
That was an informative thread for a beginner like me.


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