The weather is starting to warm up, the snow has melted, and I’m more excited than ever to start my very first backyard garden! Growing up I played in my grandpa’s HUGE backyard garden, and a few years ago I had a blast getting involved with a local community garden, but as a first time homebuyer I’m GEEKED to be starting a garden of my very own. The only problem…
I’m excited but have no idea what I’m doing – lol! So before I started digging up my yard, I did a little research and found I had a few friends in my network who are certified master gardeners!
Disclaimer: Although my friends are experts, since I’m new to gardening, I still encourage you to do your own research on top of everything I share. My novice lens might “miss-filter” important information from experts and I don’t want you to suffer from my mistakes.
On the other hand, if you you’re good at gardening and have advice for me and my fellow garden newbies please share in the comments! If you are new and just want to vent about how terrible it is to wait until mother’s day to plant stuff, comment below as well. I’m obsessed with my garden plot at the moment and am eager to chat about worms, rocks, dirt, compost, and the best garden gear you can rock outdoors as well – hehe 🙂
Check out this video of my yard and then read on for my top 5 tips on how to start a garden!
- Pick your spot! I have two HUGE trees in my backyard that will create a ton of shade and their roots are everywhere. I could have placed some raised beds back there (and I still may do that) but I really wanted to start out by digging in my “already paid for” dirt. I found a spot on the side of my house that’s fairly sunny and has no crazy tree roots in the way.
- Decide on the size. Just because I wasn’t going to use this piece of land for anything else, I decided to prepare it all for use as a garden. I left strips wide enough along the sides to mow and stand on while I plant/weed/water as well.
- Observe the amount of sunlight. You will plant certain things in certain areas depending on the amount of sunlight the area receives. My plot has partial shade so I’ll keep that in mind as I shop for veggies. The ones that like shade will go on the side nearest my house. (see video)
- Test your soil. Before you go digging and planting food in your dirt and eating it – test the soil for harmful chemicals. Your local health department may do it for free or cheap. I went to a local community college and am waiting on the results of their free test. Can’t wait to see what I find out!
- Buy the right tools. I’m on my second shovel. As a newbie, I didn’t know digging out landscape shrubs was so difficult and Josh accidentally broke my “cheap” shovel/spade. I didn’t know the importance of investing in sturdy tools until I wasted some money on the cheap stuff.
What other advice do you have for starting a garden? I’ll be sharing details on how I started a compost pile very soon!