The easiest way to start a garden is to just jump right in and do it. Gardening is one of those things that feels really complicated and intimidating. It’s easy to get swept into the rabbit hole of soil composition, fertilizers, pest controls, and then quit before even starting. But friend, I am here to tell you that starting a garden is not complicated. You just need four ingredients. They are seeds, sun, water, and dirt. That’s it. It really is that simple.
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want a flower garden, vegetable garden, or both. If you want to grow vegetables, I still recommend planting a few colorful flowers to attract the pollinators. You can order seeds online from a place like Botanical Interests, or you can buy them from your local box hardware store. You will find lots of choices at both places, whether you’re looking for vegetables, flowers, organic, or conventional. It really doesn’t matter. It’s important to know when to plant your seeds. To determine this, you need to know your planting zone. All you have to do is google your city and planting zone. Zones are labeled by a number and letter. If you are on the edge between two planting zones (I live close to 5b and 6a), go by the dates for the colder zone (so 6a for me). There is nothing sadder than when your new baby plants freeze because you planted them in the ground too soon. I actually plan to start my seeds inside this year, and then will transfer them to the ground in the beginning of May.
Almost every vegetable will need a considerable amount of day time sunlight to grow well. That seed packet you just bought – flip it over and read that back. That is where you will find exactly how much sun your plant needs. Knowing that you need access to a lot of light, it matters where you decide to place your garden. If your yard is mostly shaded, you can use large pots (or even buckets) in a sunny spot on your porch or edge of your driveway.
When determining where to place your garden, you need to consider your water source. The easiest thing is to have your garden be close enough to your water hose, so you can easily use that. Once you get into the summer months, you will need to water your garden almost daily. If you live in a place with extreme heat, you will want to put a sprinkler on your garden for several hours if you go through a spell with no rain. I can attest that filling up a watering can and walking it to your vegetables multiple times each day get real old real fast. So yes, your plants need to have access to lots of sunlight, but they also need to be close to your water source.
Next, let’s talk about dirt. This is where I see a lot of new gardeners get overwhelmed. Dirt composition is a whole thing if you make it one. But you can have a healthy and thriving garden without knowing too much about what type dirt you have. Don’t overcomplicate it. If you are using containers, just pick up some bags garden soil (or maybe find someone with extra topsoil). If you are worried about the soil at your house, you can also use store bought soil and mix it in with what you already have. This is a great options for those in the south who’s yard is mostly that hard red clay dirt.
Don’t forget about pest control. If you are using containers or have a raised bed garden, you won’t have to worry too much about rabbits. But if you think some furry critters will be interested in your veggies, then surround your garden with some type of fencing (I just use chicken wire). As far as bug control, your best resource are the employees at your local nursery. They have a wealth of knowledge about the pests in your area, and they will recommend effective measures to combat them.
Lastly, it’s important to note that starting a garden takes the most time and energy in the beginning. Once things are in the ground, pests are controlled, and you have a watering routine, the hard work is over. Then you get to reap the harvest of that work. You might have some bumps along the way, but takes the lessons from the garden all in stride. Have you ever had a garden? Do you plan to start one this year? Let me know in the comments below. If you’re looking for other spring themed activities, check out how I make a spring sensory box here. And as always, if you liked this post, please share it with your friends.