Three Tips for Starting a New Garden

fall shrubsMaybe you’ve always wanted to grow your own flowers and vegetables or maybe recent circumstances have made you realize the value of a backyard garden.  Whatever your reasons, starting a new garden from scratch requires more effort than throwing some seeds on the ground.  To help you get started we’ve come up with a list of three tips for starting a new garden.

Pick Your Plot

Deciding where your garden grows is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.  Ideally you want a plot that gets at least six hours of sunlight every day.  If that’s not an option you may need to be more discriminating when it comes to the types of plants you grow.  If you have the choice, morning sun is often more forgiving on your plants than the hotter midday or late afternoon sun.  And if you’re growing flowers, you should understand which way they’ll face when tracking the sun.  If you’re hoping for a field full of beautiful flowers facing your house when you get home from work, you might be in for a surprise if your house has a western exposure.

Clearing A Bed

Clearing the area you’re planning on gardening is a necessary job which often requires a good amount of time and some hard labour.  If the area is already overgrown with grass or weeds, you’ll need to remove them to get down to the bare soil.  This is usually best done in the autumn as the winter will aid smothering any growth until you’re ready to start fresh in the spring.  If you have a lot of available soil, you could consider laying the gardening bed directly over the grass.  Completely cover the grass with a layer of cardboard or several layers of newspaper and top it with six inches of soil.  The cardboard or newspaper will smother the grass, eventually decompose and allow you to begin gardening immediately.

Understand Your Soil

Knowing the limitations of your soil will allow you to amend it to allow for easier gardening.  Having your soil tested for pH and nutrients can save you several seasons of trial and error to figure out why your plants are growing so poorly.  The texture of your soil will also dictate which plants grow best.  If your soil doesn’t appear that it will support the plants you’re intending to grow you can amend it with compost, nutrients and fertilizers.