Starting A New Garden or Just Starting To Garden

This page is for you.

Thinking  about breaking in new ground for next year? Consider planting a cover crop this year to help prepare the soil.

When You Plant Think Seed Inoculants





 Once you have decided on where your garden is going to be you should consider a few things.




How much sun will your garden plot receive. The more the better. Most vegetable plants need the sun all day long. Too much shade can lead to a lot of foliage and a little fruit



How has the garden plot been used.




If it has been cared for as part of your yard




What chemicals have been used & when were they last applied





If weed killers were used find out if they tend to build up in the soil. Broadcast weed killer and fertilizer are often time released and could be dependant upon rainfall to be released. A very dry year may cause them to remain in the soil.






How has it been watered. City water and softened water can lead to higher than normal levels of chlorine and salts. Stop watering and let it receive only rain water for as long as possible before you prepare the plot for planting




If it has just been setting idle and not fertilized or no grass planted




What weeds are growing. 





If it is going to be several months before you start keep the weeds and other plants from maturing and seeds developing.










How are you going to water your garden




Rain water is the best - consider collecting as much rain water as possible to use when needed. More on rain water later.



Well water is next best it is mostly rain water filtered through soil, sand ect.



City is often not really soft ,but often contain low levels of chlorine




Water softened with salt should be avoided as much as possible but it is still much better than no water at all






Think about investing in a soil test



A soil test will help you get of to a good start. You will find out any special needs of the soil. 

A good laboratory will make recommendations beyond just what fertilizer.





Keep A Journal



Record everything your first year including when you started tilling, planting, when plants bloom, when you pick the first and last vegetable, fertilizers used and the weather conditions. Record successes and mistakes you make. This will help you next year as you plan and learn. Then pass on what you learn to someone else















2. Buy the necessary tools and seeds, pots and compost and plants.

Some supplies are remarkably cheap. A package of summer squash seeds, for instance, runs about $2.50. A nine-pack of cabbage seedlings? Around $3.50. Onion sets, 100 to the package, have been seen priced at $2.99. Do not scrimp on the quality of your hand tools.


3. Determine the best time to get your plants into the ground.

Find out when the threat of the last killing frost has passed. Familiarize yourself with how long it will take to transform seeds to table fare. You can turn to fellow gardeners or check with your county extension agent about the best crops and varieties to grow, and when it's best to grow them in your area. (


4. Sketch a layout of your ideal garden plot.

Start small, especially your first time out. You always can enlarge the garden or plant succession crops, which are follow-up vegetables that will mature before season's end.


5. Garden location is as important as size.

Do your growing in a place that gets a full day's sun or, at minimum, six hours. It also should be sheltered from the wind and within reach of your kitchen door.


6. Buy some starter soil and spread it liberally over the growing area, at least 9 inches deep for vegetables.

Gardens can be cultivated on bare ground, in raised beds or in containers. Look for commercially bagged soils containing a slow-release fertilizer.


If it's organic production you want, then spread generous quantities of mulch over the topsoil. "Mulch serves many purposes in the garden, including keeping weeds down, reducing your water bill and adding fertility to the soil as it decomposes," Doiron said.


7. Read the directions carefully on seed packets or seedlings about how closely plants should be spaced. Leaf lettuce can withstand some crowding. Tomatoes need a couple of feet between the hills. Pumpkins require about 4 feet.


Grow your plants upward on trellises or some other kind of support if you don't have enough elbowroom to garden laterally.

Starting with seeds is the cheapest way to garden and can give you the greatest plant variety. Seeds, though, require transplanting and take longer to mature. Seedlings or young plants are less demanding.

Salad greens, summer squash, onions, sweet peppers, carrots, radishes, zucchini, peas, green beans and tomatoes particularly cherry tomatoes are among the easiest vegetables to grow. That makes them great confidence builders for budding gardeners.

8. Keep detailed records so you can duplicate your successes and avoid your failures next planting season.

"If you are interested in doing something more ambitious, try working some flowers, vegetables, fruits and herbs into your garden plan," Doiron said. "It not only will look nicer and give you a wider selection of things to eat, but it will help make your garden less vulnerable to pests and disease."