Growing a Green Thumb: 10 Simple Strategies for Beginner Gardeners

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Gardening comes with many benefits but it involves much more than just sticking some seeds in the ground. Although you don’t have to be an expert, some basic knowledge can make a big difference. So, if you’re new to gardening and don’t know how to start, here are 10 awesome tips to help.

  1. Get the Right Tools

Low-quality shovels, spades and gloves make life harder. They wear out faster and simply don’t do the job. Also, you want to buy a high-quality hose, too, since poorly-constructed ones are almost guaranteed to leak, make you say bad words or both. So, buy tools that will make gardening easier and protect you from the elements. That way, you won’t want to give up before you even get started.

  1. Get to Know Your Gardening Friends and Neighbors

Most gardeners are excited to share their knowledge and are often willing to share their plant starts. Plant starts are those that have already emerged from seeds – virtually ensuring your success. Even better, they may be looking to divide the plants that are overgrown and give them to you. Plants like Hostas, Lillies, and other perennials are easy to divide and replant.

  1. Find Your Way to Your Local Greenhouse or Garden Center

While the prices are sometimes higher at a greenhouse or garden center than the big-box stores, you’ll find higher quality plants there. Also, they have a staff that knows their stuff, which will save you from costly mistakes.

  1. Study the Day’s Rays

Many plants, not only flowers but also vegetables, are fussy about getting their sunshine. Some thrive in morning sun, while others need full sun. Also, some plants will die if they’re too hot, like spinach and lettuce. So, note how the sun travels across your yard or garden plot to determine the best spots to plant.

  1. Get the Scoop on Dirt

If you’re planning a big garden plot, test your soil and amend it if it’s too acidic or alkaline. If you’re starting small, like in containers, invest in good soil and mulch to get your plants off to their best start.

  1. Give Yourself a Break

Plant hearty varieties that are easy to grow to ensure you have some success. Chives, mint, and Hostas thrive in many different conditions. And, they’re perennials, so your efforts will pay off for years. Also, you don’t have to do all the work. Enlist your friends, family and even your kids, if you have any, to help out.

  1. Nourish Your New Friends

It’s not cheating to use fertilizer or a growing agent. Remember, the more natural or organic it is, the better. Just follow the instructions on the container for the best results. Too much of a good thing is not helpful, so avoid over fertilizing. It can burn and kill your plants.

  1. Protect Your Plants

Even if your garden has a fence to keep big critters away, the small ones like squirrels and rabbits can ruin your efforts. So, use small chicken-wire or netting to protect your young plants from rodents, birds and other pests.

  1. Don’t Forget about Drainage

Adding mulch under and on top of plants not only protects from overheating, but it also helps plants survive heavy rains or overwatering by inexperienced gardeners. If you are planting in containers, line the bottom of your pots with a couple of inches of fine gravel to assist in drainage.

  1. Bugs are Your Friends

Earthworms, spiders, and many other creepy-crawly insects do a lot of work underground and above ground to help your garden grow. So, try to avoid dangerous, toxic pesticides. If slugs, Japanese beetles, or other insects cause problems, try a natural approach to get rid of them before using chemicals. Plants like marigolds repel pests, so plant them, too.

You don’t need to be an expert to grow a lush garden. All you need is some time, some seeds and a little know how. And even if you experience a problem, you’ll learn something new for next year’s garden. Better yet, you’ll save money on groceries and eat healthier, too. Gardening gets you outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and you’ll get some exercise and a feeling of wellbeing, too.

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