19 Gardening tips: Doing these 19 gardening tips before you plant will teach you what you need to do before you plant. When planting a garden, there are steps you need to take in order to ensure you have a beautiful, bountiful garden. And, if you are new at gardening and don’t know where to begin these 19 gardening tips below will help you start out on the right track. Learn how and where to choose your site, how to prepare your site, how to design your site, and how to choose the right plants for your garden. You will also learn the best way to track your progress in the garden.
Enjoy the 19 gardening tips below and good luck with your garden!
“The Love of Gardening is a Seed Once Sown that Never Dies”
1. CREATE A PLAN
It is always a good idea to start any project by creating a plan. You can start by drawing out a map of your yard. Placing your driveway, sidewalks or pathways, and your entryway first.
Also you will want to insert on the map your house and any other buildings that may be in your yard such as a shed or the likes.
Next, you will want to identify any private areas such as backyard patio’s, children’s area, or swimming pool.
And lastly, you will insert where any utilities such as gas lines, phones lines, or electrical lines are in your yard.
What will be left is area you can plan your garden in whether it is a flower bed or vegetable garden or something else entirely.
2. KNOW WHERE TO DIG
You should always know where any buried utilities may be in your yard. When you plan to dig in your yard you should call The Blue Stakes Notification Center at 811 or you can reach them at 1-800-662-4111. They ask that you call them at least 48 hours before you want to dig. You want to always put safety first!
Another good thing, when you are digging your site you need to know how to amend the soil. There are a few steps to follow when amending the soil. First, you should understand how to amend your soil, then when to amend the soil, and last you need to know how often this process should be done. For more information on this subject check out Soil Amendment: Improving your soil.
3. KNOW WHAT TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
Having the right tools when gardening can save you a lot of time and hard work. Some tools that you may need for your gardening may include:
- A shovel for digging
- A rake to help with clearing your site
- A hoe when preparing to plant and when weeding your garden
- A small hand shovel and rake for use when planting and help when raking in small areas
- You may want to have a bulb planter
- A good pair of garden gloves
- Watering bucket
If you have grass or a large area that you will need weeding you may want to include:
- Lawn mower (riding or push)
- Weed wacker
Don’t forget gardening with the right tools can make your job easier and more pleasant.
4. KNOW THE SUNLIGHT AND SHADE OF YOUR YARD
You will want to know which area of your yard has sun all or part of the day, and which area is fully shaded or partially shaded.
Also, you will want to take into consideration where the sun is in your yard during the summer and winter months as well as in the morning and afternoon. Knowing this will help you to know which plants you should plant and where in your yard they will thrive the most. You don’t want to put a sun loving plant in an area that gets only shade because those plants would not do well or may even die.
To be sure where you should put your plant, you should always follow the recommendations that come with it. They will tell you whether the plant needs to be planted in sun or shade or somewhere in between.
5. PICK A SITE
Depending on what type of garden you are planting. You will want to pick a site that is best suited to your style. You may have a shaded area you would like to plant a flower garden in or a large sunny area perfect for growing vegetables, or maybe you have an extra hot area that would be great for a cactus garden.
Whatever your choice of garden style is, be sure to pick a site that is suitable for the type of plants you plan to use and that they get the proper amount of sunlight.
You may also want to take into consideration how you will be watering your garden. Is there easy access to water, do you have a sprinkler system: Do you irrigate? You want to have a system in place or a plan on how you will choose to water. The easier you can make the watering, the more time you have for other gardening tasks.
6. CLEAR YOUR SITE
You will want to clear the ground and remove any weeds or debris from the area. Clear away any grasses or ground cover. After clearing your site, you will be ready to turn the soil. The soil should be damp but not to wet.
To turn the soil, you will want to dig down about 8 to 10 inches and then turn the shovel of dirt upside down into its hole. Do this throughout your site. By turning the soil once you prevent breaking down the soil too much. This method helps the soil retain the nutrients the plants need as well as helping to keep weeds down by not spreading the weed seedlings that may be in the soil.
By doing this the soil is broken up enough for planting but the nutrients in the soil will still be somewhat intact.
7. KNOW YOUR SOIL
There are a few things you need to know about your soil in-order for your garden to thrive. You will need to know about your:
- Top Soil
- Soil Texture
- Soil pH Level
If you would like to know more about this topic you may want to read my article on Soil Amendment: Improving your soil. Knowing about your soil can help when picking plants for your site. You will be able to choose plants that are suitable for your type of soil and will thrive in the garden, therefore providing you with a huge bounty of crops and a beautiful garden throughout the season.
8. START SMALL
Sometimes bigger is not always necessarily better. If you are new at gardening, you may want to start small. You will get the chance to learn more as you go and will have a better chance at success. Gardening can be a lot of work and if you start out too big you may become overwhelmed and frustrated with all the work.
You want your gardening journey to be enjoyable and something you look forward to not something you grow to regret. So, just remember to start out small and over time you can add to your garden and watch it grow.
9. SIZE AND SHAPE
There are many ways for you to shape your garden beds. You may have a hard to get to corner or a slope you want to do something with or maybe you have a narrow area of your yard you want to utilize. You may want a curved garden bed or a circle shaped bed or you may want a large square area for a vegetable garden.
Whatever your needs, be sure to know the size of your gardening area and be sure to plant things that are suitable for that area. And when choosing a plant know the size it will become at maturity, so you can prevent making the mistake of overcrowding your plants.
10. MARRY HOME AND LANDSCAPE
When planting around your house you want to ease the transition from the built structures to the natural environment outside your home. You can accomplish this by choosing flower colors that compliment your house, by planting shrubs near the foundation to hide the base of the house, or you can plant small trees near the front corners to help visually balance the yard. By doing these things the home and the landscape become easy on the eyes and is visually well balanced.
11. HARDINESS ZONES
You will want to know the zone you are in. There are 11 hardiness zones which reflects North America’s enormous climate diversity. These 11 zones go from one extreme to another. The Artic zone 1, found mostly in Canada and Alaska which is the coldest region. Then you go to the other extreme, tropical zone 11, found in Florida and Hawaii with the rest of the U.S. falling somewhere in-between.
Knowing your zone can help you with picking the right plant for your zone and knowing when to start planting your garden. You would want to put plants in your garden that are hardy for the zone you live in. Because most plants that are hardy for zone 1-4 would probably not survive in zone 9-11 and vice versa. If you would like to learn more about Hardiness Zones you can find out everything you need to know about your zone and others at What is a Hardiness Zone?
12. KNOW WHEN TO PLANT
Of the 19 gardening tips, this is one of the more important tips. You want your plants to survive and knowing the best time to plant will improve their chances for survival.
Each zone is different when it comes to planting times. So, when you know what zone you are in it helps you to know when to plant. Gardeners in the hotter zones may start planting in February or March where as if you are in a warm zone you may want to start your plants outdoors in April or May. Or, if you are in a cooler region you may not want to plant outdoors until June.
Another way to know when to plant is by the soil temperature. You want the soil temperature to be warm enough to ensure good germination. Depending on the seed or plant, but most need to be planted when the temperature is above 60°F and no warmer than 95°F. For more information on planting times check out my post “When is the best time to plant“. You will learn in greater detail about planting times and temperature in each zone.
13. MAKE A LIST/CHOOSE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE
You want to make a list of the plants you want to put in your garden. You can narrow down your choices by choosing a personal style. By choosing your personal style you will be buying plants that fit into that style which will help to narrow down your choices.
There are many different styles to choose from, such as an English Style Flower Garden or maybe something more modern. Perhaps you want to plant a vegetable garden or a drought tolerant Cactus Garden, whatever style you choose do your research and find the best plants suitable for your garden plan.
To find seeds and plants you can choose to look through annual plant and seed magazines or go online and search your favorite nurseries or you may want to visit one in your local area.
When you find a plant that you are interested in you should picture that plant at its maturity. Also, try picturing it in your garden and think about how this plant will look together with your other choices. If it is something you think will work add it to your list.
In the end you will have the plants best suited for your garden plan, as well as, plants that will fit your garden size.
14. COMPANION PLANTING
When companion planting you choose an assortment of plants that naturally go together. This could by size, color, or plant family.
There are certain plants that may thrive better if planted close to another plant. Some reasons for this could be due to pest control, some plants may attract beneficial insects that control the unwanted insects which will keep them under control.
Another reason could be cross pollination, providing habitat for beneficial insects, or maximizing space, all of which would increase crop productivity. To learn more on companion planting check out this article What is Companion Planting?
15. PLACING YOUR PLANTS/SPACING/ODD NUMBERS/DEPTH
First and foremost, you want to follow the instructions for the individual plant. All plants are different, some require being planted rather deep where as others may only need to be a couple of inches in the ground. When spacing your plants, you want to follow what the planting instructions recommend.
When I first started gardening I found out the hard way and learned my lesson about spacing. I thought 5 feet apart was a lot for my rose bush and my hibiscus, so I planted them 2 1/2 ft. apart. Needless to say, these two plants are way to close together. At their maturity they are very close together with the climbing rose bush overcrowding the hibiscus. So, learn from my mistakes and follow the spacing directions.
You will want to make sure your plants are not overcrowded. Because overcrowding will lead to disease due to lack of air circulation, or a breeding ground for unwanted pests in your garden.
It always helps to picture your plant at its’ maturity. This will give you a better idea on spacing.
When planting there is one fundamental rule of design. Always plant in odd numbers,3,5,7,9,etc. When you plant with odd numbers this causes the garden to have some movement. This type of planting helps the eye move from one area to another with ease. Even numbers tend to look like rows and unnatural. You want a bit of chaos in your garden which is naturally found in nature. So, when planting, think odd numbers.
The depth of your plant will be different for each plant type. You should follow directions and plant to a depth recommended with the plant guide.
16. BEE’S AND BUTTERFLIES
Decide if you want plants that will attract bee’s and other pollinators, such as butterflies, lady bugs, and lacewings just to name a few.
You will want to attract beneficial insects to your garden that will feed on and get rid of any unwanted insects. Simply put, you want to attract the good bugs to get rid of the bad bugs.
Here are some examples of flowers that attract good bugs:
- Cosmos attract lacewing which feeds on aphids, whiteflies, spider mites and other small insects.
- Queen Anne’s Lace, Coriander, and Marigolds all attract lady bugs which feed on aphids, spider mites, and various soft bodied insects.
So, when choosing your plants keep in mind that you want plants that will attract good bugs to your garden while keeping the bad bugs out. For a list of beneficial garden insects see this post on Beneficial garden insects and bugs.
Know when and how much to water. Watering to much or too little can weaken your plants and make them susceptible to disease and insects, as well as producing fewer blooms or vegetables. To learn more on watering your garden, visit the “Old Farmers Almanac and check out their watering guide. You may also like this article from Wikihow.com on The Best Time to Water Your Plants.
Just remember that a deep soaking is better for your plants because it encourages the roots to grow deeper and stronger where as a shallow watering tends to lead to plants having less root growth, drying out and dying.
18. KEEP A GARDEN JOURNAL
By keeping a journal, you will have a written record of your garden. Some things you might put in a journal would be:
- Your garden layout
- Your plans that went into creating your garden
- A record of what has worked in the garden and what has not
- Keep track of what plants thrived and what ones didn’t
- When to fertilize and with what
- Keep pictures of your plants and garden
- Expense and receipt tracker
- Notes for observation
- Chores list
- A record of what plants were planted, transplanted or divided and the date of each.
- A copy of 19 Gardening tips
As you can see there are many uses for a garden journal. By following the 19 gardening tips to grow a successful garden and keeping track of how your garden is doing can help to keep you motivated and let you see how far you have come with your garden.
19. ENJOY THE JOURNEY
When you follow these 19 gardening tips your gardening can be a very enjoyable and rewarding journey. But, with that reward also comes planning, hard work, patience, and knowledge, as well as time. Keep in mind when you love what you are doing it doesn’t feel like work. And when you are setting in your flower garden sipping your favorite drink ( why not try a Mojito, find one at( Mojitos-30 different ways) and enjoying the beautiful flowers or when you are serving that delicious meal created from your vegetable garden it will all be worth it. You can truly enjoy the fruits of your labor, the reward of a job well done.
When gardening you will encounter a wide variety of insects and bugs along the way. Some are beneficial, while others are pests. Want to know more about these insects and bugs found in the garden? Get the ultimate guide below.
Get Your Free Garden Guide
For a healthy beautiful garden learn how to tell which insects you want in the garden and which ones you don’t. It’s a complete guide with over 30 different insects and bugs. Find out how to spot, control, and destroy them. Download the guide and receive weekly newsletter from Daisies-n-dollars.com. Sign up and join us today and get this gardening guide FREE!
SUMMING UP 19 GARDENING TIPS
Having a well thought out plan, doing a little research, preparing your site properly, choosing the best plants suitable for the area, and keeping track of your progress, you can have and enjoy a beautiful garden space.
I hope that these 19 Gardening tips will help you when planning your garden. Here’s a little inspiration!
“Garden as though you will live forever”
Have fun gardening!