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These top gardening tips for beginners can be a guide on
what to consider before buying any plants.
If you are a beginner gardener or new to gardening, you may have already been tempted to visit your local garden center to load up with beautiful flowers, fruit trees or vegetable seedlings, right?
Hold up a minute….do you know those particular plants and shrubs will thrive in your yard? I mean, you can always take the chance. It might work, but the odds might be against it.
Not every plant included in your gardening zone will thrive in every single yard! It depends on several things – read on for some of our easy gardening tips for beginners to learn when it comes to creating a beautiful yard.
And further down, you’ll find links to many of the relevant articles here about:
- growing vegetables
- planting flowers
- creating flower beds
- how to build a small greenhouse
- and even more!
When it comes to gardening, you are better off to begin with a plan in order to save time, money and unnecessary heartache in the future.
Once you figure out a few things about your particular yard, you will have a much better idea of what shrubs, perennials and annuals you should spend your money on.
You’ll also be more confident that whatever you do purchase has a good chance of surviving in your own yard. Not every yard is the same, as we will see!
Gardening Tips for Beginners
Here are our best 5 tips new gardeners should keep in mind before running off to the garden store:
What Are Your Neighbours Growing?
That being said, take notice of what your neighbours are growing. This is a great initial source of proven suggestions for the new gardener.
If your neighbours grow buddleia, hebe, lilac, their hydrangeas are blue and their Japanese acers are grown in pots, then there’s a very good chance that their soil is alkaline.
This is a good “tell” that your native soil is also probably alkaline. A simple soil pH meter will confirm this, but trust your eyes as a first impression.
Alkali-loving plants will not grow well at all in acidic soil (and vice-versa) after a few years, so don’t waste your money but…
A naturally acid garden bed can contain neutral/alkaline areas or vice-versa. Just amend the soil in that particular bed to change the pH of the soil there.
You just need to know where these spots are and keep a written garden plan for future reference!
A soil test will tell you for sure – invest in a test kit!
Work with Nature
It is always cheaper and lower maintenance to know your garden area and create your garden based upon what nature has already provided.
If you don’t work with nature, there will likely be a lot of importing of soil, rock, drainage material etc.
An extreme example of this is to have a site with a high water table and the gardener who wishes to grow cacti or Mediterranean herbs.
The only way to succeed would be to grow all the plants in containers and not the natural ground. Otherwise, you would be buying replacement stock every year!
In order to save money, try your best to work with what you already have. If money isn’t an issue, amend your soils with lots of healthy compost and organic fertilizer.
Raised Beds are Perfect for Gardening in Poor Soil
It is quite common to have raised beds containing soil and a level of drainage that is very different from the rest of the plot. This enables very different plants to grow that would not be successful growing in the ground.
Many gardeners choose this method, especially if their native soil is terrible, full or rocks or pure sand. Instead of doing all the work to bring the soil up to good health, they work with what they have.
Which is nothing good (in the soil) – so consider planting in containers instead and fill those pots with healthy compost and soil.
A raised bed has the added advantage of bringing the plants to a more accessible level that makes gardening much easier. This works perfectly for older people who love gardening and raised beds are not hard to make.
In areas with high winter rainfall, it’s easy to add a seasonal cover to a raised bed to protect more tender plants from frost too much rain.
Want to keep track of everything you do in your garden this year, so you’ve got a perfect record to use next year?
Look at this Vegetable Garden Planner!
Vegetable Garden Planner Printable: Grow Your Best Garden Ever
Design Your Garden with 3D in Mind
Don’t forget the third dimension! Plant a clematis or honeysuckle beneath a shrub or climbing up a tree to provide extra interest at trunk height.
If this plant flowers in mid-summer, add a pair of climbers that flower early and late summer for added colour throughout the season – and they will occupy the same ground space!
Don’t forget! Not all clematis and honeysuckle are climbers. Clematis hendersonii is a purple/blue ground cover clematis, while Lonicera involucrata should be treated as a herbaceous bush with its double-barrelled flowers of red and yellow.
Want to lead the eye to a certain garden spot? Tall, narrow conifers can make ideal natural frames for your path or a view.
Know Your Soil Temperature
A soil thermometer is a very useful device. You can leave one in the ground to tell you when to take out your borderline tender plants in the autumn and when to plant out in spring. A ground thermometer can also explain why your more tender plants are not surfacing!
Even with warm spring temperatures, it takes awhile for the soil to warm up. The soil has been resting over the colder winter and it may take longer than you think to warm up enough for perennials to pop up again.
Questions for Beginner Gardeners to Ask Themselves
Before you go and buy any trees, shrubs or perennial flowers, ask yourself these questions? Find out the answers and make some notes.
- In which direction does your garden face?
- From which direction does your prevailing wind come from in summer? What about in winter?
- What are the expected seasonal temperatures in your front and back yard? Are they different?
- Can you describe your soil? Is it clay? Shale? Sand? Is it light? Heavy?
- Is your yard well drained? Where are any areas that collect water in the winter that won’t drain away.
- Is your ground acid, alkaline or neutral?
So, now you know some of the best tips for beginner gardeners to keep in mind and start figuring out. Where do you want to go from here?
Here are links to some of our best vegetable gardening, fruit gardening and flower gardening posts. You’ll find lots of gardening tips for beginners in these articles!
Vegetable gardening tips for beginners:
How to Grow Potatoes – learn our hack for growing 3 pounds of potatoes from 1 single potato.
How to Grow Peas – plant them along a fence line to save having to string up netting.
Grow All My Food for a Year – serious about growing vegetables? You want to read this….
How to Grow Rhubarb – Call it a vegetable, call it a fruit…Rhubarb is the perfect perennial for cold weather climates.
How to Grow Beans – we grow pole beans in a greenhouse – these tips work for wherever you will grow pole or bush beans.
Our Vegetable Garden Plan – Here’s how we decide what to grow and how much to grow.
How to Grow Carrots – Seed them a little thicker, then thin and eat baby carrots till the others grow big!
How to Grow Peppers – Sweet or hot, in pots or in the ground, here’s all you need to know.
How to Grow Onions – If you grow them from sets, it saves a lot of time!
More Articles about How to Grow Vegetables
How to Grow Garlic – This 4 part series covers planting, growing, harvesting and curing garlic.
How to Grow Beets – use them small for pickling beets or let them grow bigger for side dishes.
Vegetable Garden Planner and Journal – Everything you need to keep you on schedule from seeding to harvest!
How to Grow Cabbage – Start to grow cabbage from seed then transplant into the garden.
How to Grow and Transplant Tomatoes – Yes, here’s why you always need to transplant tomato seedlings.
The 8 Fastest Growing Vegetables – yup, you’ll be eating these within 25 – 60 days!
How to Grow Zucchini – You may only need a couple plants, but there are some growing hacks you really need to know.
Learn how to grow fruit:
How to Grow Strawberries – Big, juicy strawberries – our hacks for growing big strawberries
How to Grow Honeyberries (Haskap Berries) – So healthy and delicious in smoothies or baking.
Berries in the North – We can grow ’em big here!
How to Grow Raspberries – and how to maintain and control those wild Raspberry canes!
Transplant a Saskatoon Bush – native to our area but sometimes we want to move them over a few feet!
How to Plant Fruit Trees – We planted apple trees; these hacks work for any kind of fruit tree.
Flower Gardening Tips for Beginners
How to Plant Flower Bulbs – plant in Fall, enjoy pretty flowers every Spring!
Learn to Grow Hops – Beautiful to look at, but there’s something you need to know before planting!
Create a New Flower Bed – Sun loving perennial flowers take center stage.
Perfect Plants for Shady Areas – great for side yards or anywhere with low light.
How to Grow Valerian Herb – So fragrant, this perennial will become a favourite.
More Gardening Tips
Pruning Tips – for shrubs and fruit trees
How to Rejuvenate an Old Overgrown Garden – great ideas for restoring a beautiful yard
A Pretty Winter Garden – these shrubs add winter interest and colour!
Gardening Hacks to Get the Most from a Small Garden – grow an amazing garden in a tiny space
Gardening Gifts for Hardcore Gardeners – Love a Gardener? Here you go…
Putting the Garden to Bed – Garden season’s over? Do these things before you take a rest.
All Natural Weed Killer Recipe – even works on poison ivy!
How to Improve Heavy Clay Soil – plant this and you’ll see a big improvement
Plant Clover instead of Grass – Bring amazing benefits to your garden by using clover, here’s why.
More Gardening Resources for you
Hopefully these top gardening tips for beginners have helped! Get your garden growing today!
Want to find out which are The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow?
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