Monday, April 28

Top Ten Beginner Gardening Tips

Happy Monday guys! I'm so happy that it's a new week and I'm so stoked for my goals for the week. I have something a little different and fun for you today- Martin is going to share his top ten tips for all you beginner gardeners out there! Every time I post pictures from our gardens or mention anything even remotely having to do with herbs/flowers/vegetables of any kind I get requests for advice on starting or maintaining a garden for those that haven't had luck or are looking to begin, so we hope that these are helpful!
Martin comes from a long line of farmers and has a huge background in agriculture and working with the land. He also has the greenest thumb I've ever seen and everything he plants is beautiful and thrives:) I don't have many skills in that department, so it's all thanks to him that we have all the beautiful flowers and yummy herbs and vegetables that we do. Eating organic is such a treat(an often-times expensive one), but eating your own organic is such an amazing feeling! So lets get on to his tips:

Disclaimer: These are general tips of advice for novice gardeners, some of which may be more pertinent to our zone and temperature(zone 4). Our climate here in southern Idaho is dry and our altitude is high, so be sure and make the necessary adjustments in these tips if you need, to help them better apply to your location. 

Top Ten Beginner Gardening Tips

Not only is part this free and fun but it can save you many headaches later on. Establish your goal. What do you want from your garden? What is your budget? How much time are you going to have to establish it and then to tend it? Draw diagrams- get out rulers. Do you want a showy space for hosting or something more utility for clippings and vegetables? Start with the big picture and then work your way down to the little details. You may just love certain plants or colors, but remember they need to play well together- you don’t want anything to clash.

If you’re after blooms then consider the bloom times in your plants of choice. Its nice to have something to look forward to in each season(always having at least one thing in bloom at a time). When spring comes around I get really exited to get going on a new year of gardening. The grass greens up, the trees bud out, and I'm eager to get started planting. The problem is that we get freezes easily into May here, and just because my local nurseries are being stalked at the moment doesn't mean that my purchases will survive outside yet. However there is still much that can be done in early Spring, for instance bulbs and cold hardy flowers can be planted, beds can be worked, and I can refine my plan. I also have no problems buying the best plants at the nursery early and nurturing them inside for a while as they sometimes get bought out.
Once your plants or seeds are in the ground there's only so much you can do for your soil. Give your garden the best start possible by prepping the earth. Consider rototilling, soil amending, also the use of mulches and soil aids. Do whatever work needs done around the bed first so you won’t need to disturb your plants later on. You may also consider using a compost pile recycled from old kitchen veg and yard debris. We get treated compost from a local dairy each year. Remember that when planting you don’t want your soil overly dry because a seed can’t germinate properly, and will be drained of its moisture upon planting and die.

Spend time around your local area when forming your plan. Go on walks and drives, study that neighbors’ yard up the street that you've admired, visit public parks or the landscape of a local school or business. You can benefit a lot from the expertise, time, and wisdom of others, especially in regards to what works well locally in your area with conditions such as soil composition, moisture, and temperatures. Strike up a conversation with an obviously knowledgeable neighbor with any questions you may have. When determining varieties consider snapping pictures of a plant and asking help from a local nursery or image search the web.
Pay close attention to the needs of a plant. Sun/Shade, moisture, etc, and your zone/temp.

Seeds are fine and sometimes preferable with certain plants, but generally speaking paying extra for an established plant will save you time and give you some instant success in the garden. In buying a plant you can verify that the blooms are the color you really wanted just be sure you’ll still have some blooms left to enjoy in the garden. When buying vegetables remember that each variety has so many days to fruition- buying a plant can help speed up that process which is especially nice if you’re trying to beat an early fall. Check the soil of the plant to ensure that it has not been droughted(chalky dry), check the leaves to ensure they haven’t been frosted (black and dying) or the over-watered (yellowing and dying).

Once planting is done, spend time in your garden. Inspect the leaves and soil. Look for unhealthy bug problems. Catching signs early can be the difference between a healthy plant and a dead one.

Read labels. Some brands of fertilizer can “burn” your plant if applied too generously. Different plants need different nutrients- some plants do fine without adding any. Just be mindful that when fertilizing vegetables you may end up with all vine and no fruit. You may consider ceasing fertilizing after a month or so into growing. This is where that composting or vermi-composting (using worms) can really come in handy, because extra fertilizers are rarely needed when you build your soil up this way.
Be willing to say sayonara! If you're fighting a losing battle, yank it and fling it far away! Life is too short and you don’t need another burden. Sometimes we've made a mistake- perhaps it was poor stalk, maybe it has become diseased, etc. There's nothing wrong in tending and nurturing and that’s part of the fun, but there comes a time when enough is enough and it’s become a lost cause. I've seen people nurture a sick plant for years and its sad really because they could have been enjoying a healthy one all along.

This is the whole point really. You should have fun each step of the way. Plant what you want and what you like. Enjoy the space as it is growing and invite friends over to enjoy it as well. Clip and harvest some and bring it inside. There is nothing as endearing as fresh cuttings from the yard. Gardening can be a great kind of therapy and meditation- running your fingers through the soil and watching things grow, and feeding yourself and your family from your hard work is the best kind of reward. Enjoy it:)
Thanks so much for visiting and reading today, and if you have any questions for me or for Martin feel free to leave them in the comments and we'll get back to you as soon as possible! I'd also love to hear any stories and things you have pertaining to gardening that you'd like to share, so please do if you feel so inclined:)
Have a great rest of your week my loves, and visit again soon!
xo, Emily

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  1. Replies
    1. haha good! You know I actually learned a few things from reading his tips before I published:) pretty good!

  2. Awesome tips! I am hoping to start my own garden soon, so I am thinking these will come in handy! Thanks for sharing!

    1. aw no problem at all! I'm so glad they're useful to you! As I said Martin's the garden genius between the two of us, so I'm just glad he was willing to put this list together:)
      Have a great day!

  3. What a pity that I don't have a big garden.

    1. These are for any size of garden! even if it's just a couple pots with flowers or veggies:)
      Thanks for your visit and comment!

  4. Haha I love this. We LOVE gardening at our house and these are so true!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that! I know he's good, but it's nice to hear that from established gardeners:) Thanks for your visit and comment!

  5. My mind is constantly blown at the amount of activities you're involved in. You really are super mom. I have MAD respect for you, woman!


    1. Aw hey that's the sweetest thing to say! Thank you so much girly! You totally made my day:)

  6. And just when I was thinking of buying some herbs for my super mini apartment garden your tips came forward! Thank you! Planning phase is ON :)

    1. Oh I'm so glad to hear that babe! I wish you the best of luck with your arden! It's going to be great I know it:)

  7. My flower garden often needs the hand fork, but my herb garden vies for the hand fork as well, and, of course, the watering can with the sprinkler. Buying somewhere between 2 and 5 of every tool required in each one of my gardens isn't economically feasible so I put on my thinking cap around gardening tips for organization to get through this problem! I cannot tell you how many times I have had to buy a new sprinkler attachment for my conventional one-gallon watering cans. Here come the gardening tips! you can look here