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10 Gardening Tips for Beginners!

Written by Ahshara Colon. Published: March 24 2023


Phew! Spring is finally here! It’s been a long time coming, and we are so excited for warmer weather, flowers, grass… all of it! Not the allergies though -- we'd like to skip that part, please!


Of course, with Spring comes lots of Spring cleaning, even outdoors. One thing I love to do every Spring is to start cleaning up my garden and getting ready to start planting. Whether you are looking to start planting some fruits and vegetables or plant some flowers, here are some beginner tips for anyone getting started on their gardening journey!


1. Pick a Good Location.

When it comes to planting, the Sun is the most important. During the process of photosynthesis and all that good stuff, the Sun is vital. So, pick an area with lots of sunlight where your plants can thrive!




2. Is Water Nearby?

Whether you are taking care of a small plant in your home or have a garden bed outdoors, making sure to have water nearby is really important. Whether you use a water hose or watering can, it can be annoying to constantly have to walk back and forth to water all your plants, especially the bigger ones that take more water, so make sure that water is nearby so you can have a great planting experience!




3. Make Sure You Have Good Soil.

Soil is super important when it comes to planting. Soil contains lots of nutrients and flexibility, and it also allows for good drainage. So when you are watering your plants, you want that soil to be rich enough for it to soak it all up and continue feeding your plant. Whenever I plant, I like to feel around in my soil -- if it feels almost like Play-Doh and you’re hands can sink right into it, you’re off to a good start! If it feels like sand and it’s a light brown color, you may need to trade it in for something better! Don’t be afraid to add richer soil to what you already have for a better planting outcome. 




4. Do You Prefer Seeds or Plants?

This is a good question to ask yourself as you start to plan out what you want to plant. This will help you determine the amount of space you’ll need for your plants. Seeds will take longer to grow, whereas a plant is already grown -- you just have to place it wherever you are planting and keep it alive. But the biggest thing is that plants need space! Space is super important because, as plants grow, so do their roots. You don’t want plants crowing at each other because then they’ll die. So, whether you chose plants or seeds, spread them far enough apart that they can grow with ease. Think about it: do you like New York City trains at 5pm on a Friday or 1pm on a Tuesday? Exactly -- space!




5. Get All The Right Tools!

Gardening can be fun, but it is also tedious and it takes a lot of time. You can make the process easier by having all the right tools. You’ll definitely need gardening gloves -- it’s not fun digging around in the dirt and getting stuck by a sharp rock or having a spider with ten legs crawl over your fingers! You’ll also need digging tools. Depending on how big your plants are, this can be a small gardening knife for digging and scooping soil, or it can be a bigger shovel to really get in there. You’ll also probably need some pruning shears, plant ties, plant labels, and more. Honestly, the list goes on, so make sure you write down what you need before you go shopping!




6. Mulch!

Mulch is more for planting things like flowers or bushes and trees in a bigger area. So, the front of your house or your backyard, for example. Mulch is great for retaining moisture and temperature. On those really hot days, plants soak up water so quickly, it can be like you never watered them within 5 minutes. Mulch helps trap that water and also creates a barrier between the soil and the sun so that the water doesn’t evaporate so quickly. This also helps reduce weeds because it’s blocking the sunlight that feeds them. You can usually find mulch at your local plant store, but be careful when you are buying mulch because it can also rot. The most common signs that I’ve seen are a white, powdery coating on the mulch or if it smells more vinegary than like fresh-cut wood. Look for fresh mulch that is rich in color, has no white stuff, and smells nice!




7. Plant Food!

Just like us humans, plants have to eat too! But they don’t eat rice and chicken. There is food made specifically for plants. Sometimes you may see them in stores, and they might be these tiny blue balls that dissolve into water or that you pour on the plants before you water them. Plant food contains lots of nutrition so that your plants can live a nice, long, and healthy life!




8. Learn When Is The Best Time To Plant.

Based on your location in the world, you may be able to keep your plants alive all year round, or you may only have a few months of warm weather to plant. So, make sure to know when are the best times to plant. For example, here in New York, planting season can start around April and end as late as October, depending on the weather. But by the time December comes around, everything is dead because it’s too cold. So, know your climate and when it is too early and too late to plant!




9. Know What Your Plants Need!

Whether it’s vegetables or flowers, they all require something different! Some flowers LOVE water, and the more they get, the more they thrive. Some of them barely need it. For example, a cactus -- they store water so they don’t really need it, but hydrangeas, on the other hand, needs lots of water. There are also plenty of gardening apps that allow you to take photos of your plants and the app will tell you exactly what they need!




10. Be Wary of Animals!

I had to learn this lesson the hard way! In my neighborhood, there are bunnies and hedgehogs, and they are both herbivores. So, in the evenings, I would see them coming to feast on the flowers that I had spent so much time planting and taking care of. Eventually, I realized that I was technically in their territory, so I just let them have their plant dinner and made my peace with it. That being said, if you are planting vegetables, make sure you protect them, because some animals might not be able to make it through the fencing you put around your veggies, but they can burrow underground and go around it. So, in this case, you might want to consider planting beds! But if you are just planting flowers, like me, you may be able to co-exist with your furry friends! (Not the bears, though.)




Honestly,  I love Spring and Summer. All things hot, all things fun and relaxing, and I love to plant. It’s something I really look forward to every year and I can talk about it endlessly! These are some of the things I’ve learned over the years, and I hope these help you in your journey to gardening. Happy planting!