Rock Talk

Gardening 101: Back to the Basics

Last updated on November 7, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Spring is in the air! It’s by far my most favorite season; flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and the days are getting longer. What’s not to love? Growing up I was fortunate to have the chance to get my hands in the dirt and plant veggies and flowers alike. If you’re not experienced with gardening, don’t worry.

Here are some steps to get you started with Gardening 101 Back to the Basics:

Decide what you want.

Do you want a vegetable garden? Flowers? Herbs? A butterfly garden? If you want a flower garden do you want annuals which must be planted every year, or do you want perennials which come back year after year? Keep in mind that annuals provide color most of the summer. Perennials bloom for less time but come back each year. Your garden can have any combination of plants because it’s your garden!

Location, location, location.

Nearly all vegetables and most flowers need approximately six hours of full sun every day. Pick a spot where you think you’d like your garden to be and watch the sun exposure throughout the day. If your ideal spot doesn’t get much sun, fear not; there are still many plants that thrive in shade. It also helps to check your Plant Hardiness Zone. It’s a great way to find out which plants will do well based on where you live and most have zones identified on their plant tags.

Prep the soil.

You’ll need to remove the sod, or grass layer, first. I prefer to just dig it out. Then use a spade to gently turn over the top 8-12 inches of dirt. Your plants’ roots need to dig into the dirt to grow and if your soil is too hard they won’t do well. As you’re turning over the dirt, give it a boost with organic matter like compost, decayed leaves or even dry grass clippings. You can also buy compost from most garden stores. You’ll want your organic matter of choice to fill the top 1-2 inches of your soil.

Pick your plants.

This is the fun part! Pick plants you like but also make sure they’ll thrive where you plant them. Just about all plants have guidelines either on the packet or that little plant tag in the pot. If your dream plant shouldn’t have more than two hours of sunlight each day, don’t plant it in a spot that gets six hours of sunlight. Your plant is doomed from the start.

Water, water everywhere.

Not sure when to water your plants? Those guidelines I mentioned above usually tell you how wet the soil should be. Even so, your plants will tell you when they need water. If they wilt slightly in the heat then they’re practically begging you for some hydration. Give them water slowly so it soaks into the ground. Don’t rush the watering; power washing your plants will most likely end in disaster. Watering early in the morning is ideal since it minimizes evaporation too.

Keep going strong!

Water when needed, pull weeds so they don’t bully your plants and enjoy!

No yard? It’s no problem! You can still use the steps I’ve listed above to grow veggies and flowers from indoor pots, trays and jars or create your own vertical garden. You can even find a community garden if growing in your own home won’t work. Do you have your own garden? Got gardening plans this Spring? We want to hear and see them! Find us on Twitter and Instagram.

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