Known as National Gardening Month, April is the most optimal time of year to start gardening because the days are longer and the soil is warmer. Not only is gardening a great excuse to beautify your yard and grow your own produce, but it is also a great excuse to venture outside and absorb some much-needed vitamin D.
When it comes to gardening, most people are unsure how to begin planting flowers or produce. How do you know if the soil is healthy? What do you plant? Where do you even start? Because today, April 14th, is National Gardening Day, we are providing you with a few helpful tips that can increase your gardening confidence.
Before we continue, it is integral to invest in a few essential gardening tools to make gardening easier. The minute that gardening becomes a chore is when most people tend to give up. Don’t get your butter knife out of the silverware drawer to dig a hole to plant your seeds. Basic gardening tools include a hand shovel, a rake, gardening gloves, and a trowel. You will greatly benefit from a hoe and a shovel if you plan on gardening in a large area.
#1: Decide What You Want To Grow
The rule that you need to abide by is, “If you won’t eat it, don’t grow it.” There is an exception if you are growing flowers, of course. Try to focus on the herbs, vegetables, and fruits that you enjoy eating. When you pick your produce, make sure that it can grow in your area. You can browse information about your gardening zone and microclimate online.
#2: Choosing A Location
Plants require sun exposure, and if you want fruiting to happen then five hours of direct sunlight per day are necessary. Greens, herbs, and root vegetables can grow in partial shade with minimal sunlight. Pick a location for your garden that is exposed to sunlight, but make sure that it is easily accessible and easy to water. If you have to work hard to get to your garden, you won’t have the desire to maintain it.
#3: Test Your Soil
If you plan on using garden boxes, you can purchase soil that is healthy with a neutral pH balance. If you have rough soil that is contaminated, rocky, or soil that is a mixture of silt and clay, you may need to purchase a simple at home soil test kit for about ten dollars. You can also improve your soil by composting, meaning that you bury kitchen scraps in the dirt to enrich it with nutrients.
#4: Nurture Your Garden
After planting your seeds, you have to dedicate a little time out of every day to nurture your growing plants. If you aren’t going to take time out of your day to water your plants, weed your garden, and search for pests, your garden may not turn out the way you want it to.
A final rule of thumb for gardening is that plants require about one inch of water per week during growing season (during the spring). Watering too much does as much harm as under watering, so feel the soil prior to watering to see if the plants really need a lot of water.