Gardening tips for beginners [9 helpful tips]

Are you thinking about starting a garden but don’t know where to begin? or If you’re new to gardening, it can be tricky to know where to start. With so many different plants and soil types, how do you know what will work in your garden? This guide provides some basic tips for beginner gardeners that will help you get started on the right foot.

Creating a garden can provide you with fruit, vegetables, beautiful flowers, and a tranquil environment.

Gardening tips for beginners

However, diving into gardening for the first time can be overwhelming if you do not know where to start. Read on to learn about the basics of gardening so that you can get off on the right foot.

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1. Learn the Different Plant Types

When choosing plants for your garden, you should know the difference between annuals and perennials.

Perennials come back year after year, while annuals only last for one growing season. Some perennials grow from bulbs while other plants reseed themselves.

Whether a plant is a perennial or an annual depends on the zone in which you grow your plants.

This is because a zone may be cold or hot enough to kill off a plant that would survive longer in a different environment.

There are also biennial plants that grow for two seasons before blooming. They then reseed so that you will have flowers in another two years.

Some examples of biennials include Alliums, Black-eyed Susan, and Hollyhocks.

2. Choose What Type of Garden You Want

There are plenty of different types of gardens that you can grow.

Depending on your space availability, you can even create a few different gardens in your space. Often, it is a good idea to mix and match garden types for sensory interest.

At the end of the day, you should try to grow what you want and what you think you will use. This choice will make you more likely to take care of your garden.

Grow food you and your family will eat and grow plants you want to have around.

Visit your local plant nursery to see what plants draw you in. You can also ask someone which plants would grow best in your growing conditions.

A fun part of gardening can be experimenting and seeing what sticks.

Vegetable Garden

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This garden type allows you to grow your food and eat it too.

Choose this option if you want your garden to be functional and nice to look at. This type of garden can require a fair amount of maintenance and care.

A mix of fruit, vegetables, and herbs can make your garden a multi-sensory experience.

Sunny Flower Garden

Many flowers thrive in the sun. You can add structure to a flower garden by adding trees, shrubs, and containers. Play with color and texture when choosing your plants.

Many people aim to get a mix of perennials and annuals in their garden.

Shade Flower Garden

If your yard does not get much sun, you may want to choose a shade garden. Just because your garden is in shade, does not mean that you can not have beautiful, colorful flowers.

There are plenty of flowers that do well in the shade. These can pair well with shade-loving foliage such as hostas.

Pollinator Garden

Pollinator gardens have plants that specifically attract pollinators. This garden type is great for attracting more pollinators to your area.

You should do some research about which pollinators are in your area and which plants will attract them.

Container Garden

A container garden is when you grow most of your plants in containers. This garden type is lovely if you have limited space or if you want to be able to control your soil quality.

You can grow fruits and vegetables or beautiful flowers in containers. Take special care to make sure that your containers drain well.

Wildflower Garden

A wildflower garden contains wildflowers and other native plants. This type requires very little planning compared to more manicured gardens.

Choose this option if you love gardens, but you do not want to spend too much time on them.

Research which wildflowers grow well in your area and strew them around as if they naturally blew in on the wind. This garden type will often attract pollinators.

Water Garden

If you have a water feature in your garden, your space is primed for a water garden.

Choose a selection of water-friendly plants. Choose water lilies for the water itself and other plants for the periphery of the water feature.

Rather than needing plenty of drainage, plants in these gardens can withstand very wet root conditions. 

3. Make a Plan

While many lovely gardens can result from randomly strewing seeds, you will have the best long-term luck if you spend a bit of time planning and you will end up with better results.

Your plan can be as detailed as you want it to be.

Make a list of the plants you want to grow, add any relevant info to the list, and use that information to determine where you will grow which plant.

For example, knowing ahead of time which plants need sun will help you plan appropriately so that your plants are more likely to survive.

Know Your Zone

When you buy seeds or plants, you may see a numbered zone listed on labels. This number refers to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone in which a plant will do well.

The average annual minimum winter temperature determines these zones. The colder zones are labeled with lower numbers while warmer zones are marked by higher numbers.

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Location is Key

If you have limited space, you will need to grow your garden under the conditions available.

However, if you have different parts of your yard to choose from, choose your garden’s location carefully.

Sun, drainage, and accessibility are all factors to consider when picking a spot for a garden.

If you are growing vegetables, choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day. If you want a shady oasis, pick a spot where shade plants will thrive.

Choose an area that you can get to easily for watering or servicing.

Decide How You Will Start Your Plants

An important thing to know when planning your garden is how to start your plants.

Some plants can begin from seed directly in your garden, while others can only start from seed indoors. Other plants do best if you start them from small plants.

For example, greens, carrots, and other root vegetables do well when seeded directly into a garden.

Fruit-bearing plants such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers do best when planted from started plants. This rule can also be true for flowers and other plants.

Timing is Everything

Keep timing in mind when planning a garden. Pay attention to when in the season you can start certain plants. You can also time different plants with each other.

In a vegetable garden, you can stagger plantings so that you have a bountiful harvest all season long.

Pay attention to the blooming schedule of any flowers. Some plants may even lose some of their foliage during certain parts of the season.

Avoid bald spots in your garden by adding plants that provide foliage when other plants go bare.

4. Plan Ahead With Water

Your garden will need regular watering, especially if you live in a warm climate or if your garden gets a lot of sunlight.

The only cases in which you will not need a lot of water are when you are growing desert plants.

Frequent watering can be easy if you have a hose and sprayer attachment or an irrigation system.

However, trying to water only using a watering can is difficult unless you want to spend a lot of your time lugging water around.

Either install a watering system or plant your garden close to your non-hose watering source.  

5. Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Weeding

Weeding may not seem fun, but it is a vital part of gardening.

Weeds can take necessary nutrients from your intentionally grown plants, and keeping up with regular weeding can save you a headache later.

When removing weeds from your garden, get every part of the plant, ensuring that seeds or rhizomes do not remain in the garden.

Identifying weeds can be tricky since there is no hard and fast rule regarding what a weed is.

Often, weeds are invasive plants from other regions or just plants that grow fast and aggressively, taking up space from other plants.

Some plants are considered weeds in the contemporary garden, but they are just native plants that are not harmful. 

6. Use the Right Soil

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Without good soil, you can not grow much at all. Soil provides nutrients and structure for all plants.

Soil that drains well also allows plants to get the water they need without being at risk of root rot. Some plants benefit from a good soil microbiome.

You can maintain the health of your soil by regularly assing compost or fertilizers. These additions add important nutrients back to the soil after they help your garden grow.

Soil amendments improve the texture and drainage of your soil, improving your plants.

7. Learn About Nutrients

When growing certain vegetables, you will want to maintain levels of certain nutrients in the soil.

For example, fruit-bearing plants such as peppers and eggplants need nitrogen to produce their fruits, and they remove this nitrogen from the soil.

Meanwhile, legumes add nitrogen to the soil. As a result, you should grow legumes alternating with fruit-bearing plants.

Nitrogen can also exist in certain fertilizers along with phosphorus and potassium.

While nitrogen helps fruit and leaves grow, phosphorus produces healthy root systems and flowers. Potassium feeds plant cells so that the tissues grow strong.

These three nutrients are put together in different ratios for different plants. You can choose natural or synthetic fertilizer to provide your plants with essential nutrients.

These fertilizers have labels with the ratio of these nutrients that are present. This ratio is shown with three numbers in this order: N-P-K.  

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8. Consider Co-Planting

Co-planting is when you plant certain plants near each other so that one or both plants benefit. There are many different types of co-planting you can do, depending on the benefits you want.

Some plants deter pests that damage other plants, while other plants encourage the growth of others.

Here are some examples of co-planting:

  • Marigolds are a popular addition to gardens since they drive away pests that target plants such as beans and asparagus.
  • Nasturtium is a popular co-plant for many plants since it drives away aphids and other insects.
  • Chives deter aphids.
  • Oregano is a great deterrent for many pests.
  • Chamomile improves the flavor of onions when they are grown together.
  • Mint helps the flavor of peas when grown together.
  • Nasturtium not only helps the growth of radishes but also improves the flavor. 

On the flip side, you should avoid planting certain plants near each other. This arrangement can be because certain plants stunt each other’s growth while other plants attract similar pests.

For example, tomatoes and corn attract similar pests, so they should not be near each other. Beans can have their growth damaged by garlic and onions.

9. Redefine Failure

A big thing to remember when it comes to gardening is that everything likely will not go according to plan.

Sometimes, growing conditions are not ideal, or you end up with a finicky plant. These occurrences are normal and not the end of the world.

Look at plants that do not thrive as an opportunity to learn more about your garden and your strengths as a gardener.

As you continue gardening, you will learn more every day.

Make notes about what does and does not work in your garden under various conditions and use these notes to plan for next year.

Perhaps you need to change your watering schedule, add different fertilizers, move things around, or try new plants.

Gardening tips for beginners
Gardening tips for beginners

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Final Thoughts

Planning a garden does not need to be difficult when you have a basic knowledge. This experience can be fun and rewarding.

Every garden is different, so do not feel like you need to reach a perfect garden immediately. Have fun making your garden plan, and do not be afraid of getting a little dirty in the process. Use these tips as a starting point and see where you grow from there.