Starting a garden can be overwhelming. There are so many types of vegetables to grow, so many options of how to grow (pots, planters, in-ground, raised beds…) it’s hard to know where to start. I wanted to put together the simple list of tips to start gardening.
My first suggestion is to start small. Even if you have acres to grow your garden, start with a few plants. You can always expand later in the season. Starting with a few plants will give you a chance to learn about those plants and how to care for each type. Don’t make gardening overwhelming for yourself.
Starting small also gives you a chance to learn about the problems you may face with your garden- what bugs start coming around, how much shade/sun does your garden get, how is your soil- once you start gardening you will start to learn more about your property.
Grow What You Like to Eat
Next, my second and most important suggestion is to grow what you like to eat. If you don’t like cucumbers, don’t listen to my recommended list of plants to start with! If you have a great first year you may end up with a lot of vegetables, so hopefully you grew the types you like to eat.
Suggested Plants for a First Time Gardener
I have planted enough plants over the last few years to know what worked and what did not as a beginner. Here is my list of plants I grew from seed that I think are great plants for a first time gardener:
Cucumbers can grow on a vine or bush. There are a ton of varieties of cucumbers. I’ve grown several types and found them easy to grow and each plant can produce a lot of cucumbers. This was my first pant I grew from seed and a great plant to start with.
Carrots are also, in my opinion, easy to grow. They can be picky about soil and temperature but for a beginner just put some seeds down in loose soil. Carrots can take time to germinate, so have patience. But for a beginner- pulling carrots from the ground is super satisfying.
Herbs! Pick what you like to eat and try growing. I started with basil. I now grow cilantro, rosemary, green onions, parsley, several types of basil and mint! I have a post all about herbs, check it out here.
Strawberries are almost fool proof and for that reason great for beginners. There are two varieties- everbearing and June bearing. Everbearing plants will produce throughout the season, while June bearing will produce one large harvest. I have heard the June bearing plants produce the juicer strawberries, but I think both types are delicious. You can purchase in bare roof form or plant. I’ve only purchased in plant form but have read bare root are easy to start with at first. If you buy in a nursery in plant form, you will probably get to harvest strawberries right aware, while with bare root, you may have to wait a while. Give strawberries water and trim runners (or not). The runners will produce more strawberry plants- so you can let them grow and produce more plants.
If you have kids, strawberries are particularly fun to pick- my little one likes to hunt for the strawberries in the leaves and is so excited to pick his fruit.
Learn, Learn, Learn
Once you start, everything is a learning experience. Go to nurseries, ask questions. Watch YouTube videos. Read books. Listen to Podcasts (yes, gardening podcasts exist, which I did not know until this year). There are so many blogs about gardening full of people sharing their experiences. If you want inspiration, don’t forget to check out instagram as well. I post almost daily what is going on in my garden (the good and the bad). Here is a link to my instagram.
Finally- Just Enjoy
Just enjoy and do not stress. Gardening is never going to be perfect- which as a perfection is one of the reasons I love this hobby- I know it will never be perfect, I can just enjoy the experience.