In the past few years, I have ventured into gardening. At the time, it seemed like what someone does when they have a house. It is just what you do. That, and I was searching for a job and the idea of free food was alluring.

Since then, gardening has become a bit of a sport. I definitely do not have a green thumb, but I am working toward making the garden work for me and my family.

Before I knew anything about gardening, I thought that you tossed some seeds in the dirt, watered them liberally and prayed for growth. But gardening is much more a skill and a science than I thought. To have a successful garden you must follow specific guidelines to achieve optimal growth. You can’t just hope it will come.

First you have to plan out what you want to garden well in advance; we’re talking very early spring. Depending on the type of varieties you want to plant, it will significantly alter when you start to plant. For example, in a vegetable garden, peas should be planted in the middle of March, but other plants not until much later. If you wake up in June and think it would be nice to have a vegetable garden, you are going to have to wait until next year. So first, make a list of what you want to plant at the beginning of the year.

Whether you are growing a vegetable or flower garden (or both!), you need to make a drawing. It does not need to be too fancy, even those who have no artistic abilities can draw a basic gardening zone. You will want to focus on where your current plants are like trees and bushes, and then calculate where the sun will hit those areas. Your vegetable garden will need to be in a place with a lot of sun, whereas, your flower garden can have a lot of variety. Some plants and flowers thrive in the sun, while others require full shade. Drawing out your planting area will help you determine which areas can handle which types of plants.

Next you must research each item to determine optimal planting times. As I mentioned above, certain plants must be planted well in advance, while others do not. Thankfully, we have the internet which is the perfect research tool for planting times. Just make sure to adjust your planting schedule to your specific climate. Generally, planting time is great after the last frost, which can vary from region to region (and year to year).

Once it is about the time to plant, you need to prep your soil. Your plant will only be as good as your soil, so invest well. Compost is a great way to enrich your soil to prepare for good plant growth. Do not skip this part- this will greatly determine the success of your garden.

Then it is time to plant! Water and feed according to each plant and enjoy your beautiful garden.


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