Beginner Gardening Tips: A Simple Guide To Getting Started

In recent years it has become increasingly popular to consume whole foods that are organic, healthy, and locally sourced.

The terms field to fork or farm to table resonate with families who want to shorten the distance and pathway from where food is grown to their homes. This has created an upsurge in the interest in gardening.

Not to mention 2020 caused a lot of people to look into other activities. While it was a tough change for everyone I think it caused a lot of people to wake up and realize they were missing out on life. 


With the current popularity in gardening, it’s becoming more common than ever to have a garden, and thanks to the abundance of and access to information anyone can have a beautiful and bountiful backyard garden.

Anyone Can Start A Garden

Gardening at home doesn’t require large amounts of land. There are many ways to grow gardens whether you have a large or small yard. Things like raised garden beds or container gardening can be a great option if space is limited.

little boy watering the garden with a watering can.

Some people enjoy growing food while others would rather have gardens filled with flowers and greenery. I am kind of in the middle and tend to be more practically minded. 

If something like carrots cost less than a dollar a bag. I’m not going to waste my time with those. But if it’s something like pumpkins for fall decorations… that’s more my speed.

Gardens can be grown in pots, raised beds, on the patio, or indoors if space is limited. All you need is a will to do it. Even a green thumb can be learned.

The type and style of garden you create depends on a few important factors, including

  • Soil type
  • Amount of sunlight and shade
  • Climate
  • Access to water
  • Time

Making certain the plants you want to grow work in the soil you have is important. You can easily enhance your soil if needed. Determining the balance of light and shade, and the climate where you live matters too. All living things need water, so planning how to keep plants hydrated is a big consideration. Ultimately creating a garden takes time. Make sure the garden you want fits with your lifestyle. Some gardens require very little effort but yield bountiful results while other gardens need a lot of tender loving care. Choose the style that works best for your needs and the time you have to give.

Gardening is on the rise. Raising fresh food for your family is fun and rewarding too. Having a lush yard filled with flowers, birds, and the sounds of nature can help you feel calm and peaceful. If you’ve considered starting a garden, now is a great time to create a beautiful and bountiful garden!

Benefits Of Gardening

Gardening is a wonderful hobby that also gives healthy food or flowers for your table and increases your personal health.

Many people start gardens because they want nutritious, organic food for their family and soon realize there are secondary health benefits they hadn’t considered.

That’s because gardening does more than contribute to your pantry. It can also change your physical and mental health.

Gardening Provides Healthy Food for your Pantry

The obvious and bountiful benefits of a backyard garden are the wide variety of fruits and vegetables grown and consumed by your family and friends. Gardens can produce year-round in many cases (if you live in a warmer climate or have a greenhouse) making it possible to feed your family healthy, organic foods all the time.

Food can also be stored, canned, or preserved to use long after harvest is over. Sharing the extra harvest is also a great way to help other families eat healthier and save money.

food in jars on a shelf

Gardening Stimulates your Immunities

Gardening is good for your health. Being in the sun exposes your skin to Vitamin D which is essential for strengthening your bones and building your immunities. Being in the sun for as little as thirty minutes has direct benefits for your immunities.

Like it or not working in the yard also builds immunities by exposure. It’s good for humans to touch the soil, get dirty, and be exposed to some germs. (that’s what a vaccine is)

Regular exposure can reduce the amount and intensity of common colds and other low-grade illnesses.

Gardening is a Great Form of Exercise

Gardening is listed as a form of exercise by the Centers for Disease Control. Which is great for people who want low-impact forms of exercise.

Things like digging, bending, and plenty of stretching in the garden can promote a healthy body weight in children and adults because all ages can participate in planting and caring for a garden.

Most gardens require routine maintenance which can help develop a regular exercise routine. In most cases, gardening is so rewarding you don’t realize how much exercise you are getting which is perfect for people who don’t enjoy rigorous exercise.

Gardening Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Being in nature, soaking up the sunshine reduces stress.

Moving your body, breaking a sweat, and other activities during gardening release serotonin in the brain and helps regulate your mood. Gardening can also boost self-esteem by successfully growing fruits and vegetables and seeing the ‘fruits’ of your hard work.

Gardening is healthy for your mind, body, and soul. Tending to a garden can make your life healthier and happier from the inside out. Have you ever noticed that people who garden a long time end up being as old as the hills? Just sayen….

woman looking calm

How To Get Better At Growing Things

A lot of people jump headfirst into the deep end of the garden and come up with a brown thumb- the polar opposite of the green thumb all great gardeners seem to have.

Not being good at gardening can make it feel like pushing a very heavy bolder uphill all summer long… in other words, not fun!

If you’re new to gardening or have had a bad experience in the past, there are some things you can do to help turn your brown thumb green.

  1. Start easy
  2. Start small
  3. Learn as you grow

Start With Easy-To-Grow Foods

Gardening isn’t all that hard when you get the basics down. Having the right environment matters. This includes soil quality, proper watering, and the right access to sunlight for the needs of the plant. Some foods are easier than others to grow. Staring with foods that are nearly bulletproof helps. If you’re new or rebounding from a bad gardening experience, focus on foods that are easy to plant, manage, and harvest.

Green beans are hearty and easy to grow. They tend to have an abundant harvest and can be canned or frozen to enjoy all year.

Radishes are hearty and grow relatively quickly. They can be eaten fresh or taste amazingly roasted.

Tomatoes grow quickly and are very forgiving when it comes to soil. Just don’t overcrowd them and be willing to water them often.

small tomato plant

Start Small For Better Success

Some people fail at gardening because they take on more than they can handle. It can be very tempting to try and grow all the things but it’s not worth the frustration. I promise you.

Gardens require maintenance which can get overwhelming if you are new to the craft. From maintaining the plants, weeding, pest, and critter control, it can feel like you’re spending more time taking care of plants than your children.

Plant a small raised bed garden or try growing a hearty plant in a container.

Learning to care for one, two, or three types of plants can help you get your hands dirty and keep your thumb green. As you gain experience and confidence you can easily add to the variety of foods you grow.

small seedlings just sprouting in seed pods sitting on a tray.

Learn As You Go

If you didn’t grow up gardening with an older, wiser adult, you may have a lot to learn. It’s best to learn as you go…or grow. Each plant, each season, will teach you new things about gardening. It’s normal to have some things work and some things fail.

Your garden is unique with specific benefits and deficits. Learning what your garden needs, what thrives, and what should be avoided may take research, trial and error, and time. Don’t give up. Consider each success a victory and each failure nothing more than a learning lesson.

Gardening can be a balance between easy-as-pie and what-was-I-thinking. Don’t worry if your thumb feels a bit brown when you begin. Over time you’ll get the hang of things and be growing and producing a beautiful and bountiful backyard garden.

Small Space Gardening

There was a time when gardening seemed like farming. The assumption that gardens required wide expanses of land kept people from tilling their soil and creating gardens no matter where they lived. Having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t have a great garden.

The main components of a garden are simple

  • Great soil
  • Sunlight
  • Water

That’s really all you need.

Sure, smaller spaces do present some limitations for gardening, but many of them can be overcome with some clever hacks and ingenuity.

Try these small-space gardening options to create the right garden for your unique space no matter how small.

Container Gardens Make Creative Use Of Small Spaces

Whether your space is small or doesn’t have adequate soil, containers offer a clever way to create beautiful gardens. Containers come in all shapes and sizes and can be attached to railings, fences, and walls.

If you don’t have adequate soil or your space doesn’t offer bare land, you can fill containers with soil perfectly designed for the fruits and vegetables you want to grow.

Here are some container garden options to help you grow more plants in style.

Best Choice Products Raised Garden Bed 48x24x32-inch Mobile Elevated Wood Planter w/Lockable Wheels – See On Amazon

3 Tier Stair Style Large Metal Plant Stand – See On Amazon

herbs crowing in different containers

Companion Planting 

Some fruits and vegetables need more space than others to grow.

Also, some plants need more exposure to the sun than others. Planting fruits and vegetables that complement the needs of one another helps extend small spaces.

Tall plants can provide space and shade for low-lying plants that need protection. Plants that produce early can be put alongside plants that need more time to grow and they won’t compete for space. This takes some extra time to choose companion plants but it is well worth the effort especially if you are trying to get more plants in a small space.

Planting Upward – (Vertical Gardening)

When you can’t go low, go high! It’s easy to create infrastructure to plant vertical gardens. With some ingenuity and affordable materials, you can easily plant vegetables, flowers, and plants upwards, along fences, and buildings. This style of gardening is very effective in urban areas where bare land or large yards are harder to find.

Try The Small Varieties

Many traditional fruits and vegetables have hybrid varieties that are smaller than their traditional-sized cousins. This means you can grow a wider variety of foods without taking up as much space. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and other vegetables come in dwarf sizes, but their flavor is every bit as big and tasty as the full-sized variety.

Don’t let a small space keep you from creating a beautiful backyard garden. There are plenty of ways to overcome a lack of space and make the most of whatever you’ve got to work with. Get creative and enjoy the benefits of gardening no matter what size your outdoor space.

Quick Easy Gardening Tips For Beginners

Watch The Sun

Not knowing what areas of your yard get direct sunlight (or not enough of it) is often the biggest mistake beginning gardeners make. 

Before you buy any plants or start to dig up the soil. Pay attention to the way the sun falls on the land.

You might be surprised by the way the sun lands on certain areas. This past year I was able to plant pumpkins in a space I thought for sure was shaded. Until I watched for a day or two and realized that space got plenty of light. 

Most edible plants require full sun (8hrs of sunlight per day) to produce well. 

Stay Close To A Water Source

A garden hast to be watered one way or another. You likely will have several weeks of the year when relying on rain is not an option. 

If you put the garden too far away from a water tap where you can’t run a hose down to it… well guess who’s toating water to the garden to water plants.

Thad be you sweetypie. 

Find Your Zone

Figure out your hardiness zone. I would love to grow avocados but they don’t like our northern weather. 

If you just grab anything that suits your fancy you will be sorely disappointed in a few months when the season changes. There are some vines I would love to grow that grow all year in the southern states but here in the north, they will die at the first frost. 

It’s very easy to find your hardiness zone. Just google your location plus plant hardiness zone and you should see what you are looking for.

Choose The Right Plants

It’s important to select plants that match your growing conditions. This means putting sun-loving plants into a sunny spot, choosing heat-tolerant plants in warm climates, and giving ground-gobbling vines like pumpkins and melons ample elbow room (or a trellis to climb). Do your homework and pick varieties that will grow well where you live and in the space you have. And to get a step up on success when growing veggies and herbs, start with vigorous young plants from Bonnie Plants® instead of trying to grow from seed.


Check Your Frost Dates

You want to check for frost dates because this will help you choose a good planting time. Again super easy to do. Just google your closest large town pulse frost dates and it should show up. 

Check your first and last frost dates to know when to start your seedlings and when it’s safe to get your plants after the danger of frost as pasted.

HOWEVER, while this is pretty accurate make sure to keep a close eye on the weather. I have had far too many surprises late in the season and lost many garden plants because I didn’t cover them or bring them inside when it was possible.

Get The Basic Tools

Here is a list of what you should have that will make your life so much easier. 

  • Spade
  • Wheel Barrow
  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Hand Trowel Took Kit – BEST PRICE for what you get!
  • Utility cart – I have one of these and use it ALL THE TIME! Big wheels is key to getting it across the yard. Otherwise, you will sink into the ground or never get it more than a few feet without carrying it.
  • Weed Control Paper – This stuff is great to help keep the weeds down but it doesn’t leave much room for free digging and changing your mind on where you want plants to go. You want to try to keep from cutting new holes in the paper.

Pest Control

Pests are going to show up at some point. If your goal is to have an organic garden then you need to have a good alternative to something like roundup. 

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is hands down the best thing you can do. It is ground-up focal that paralyzes any insect with a skeleton. 

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer, 4lb with Powder Duster Included Inside The Bag – See On Amazon

lady bug crawling on a plant

While organic gardening is all well and good you could end up with more frustration than you are wanting to deal with. 

Whether you are starting a vegetable garden or you want to grow a beautiful flower garden it’s not as scary as you think. Start small and remember that if something doesn’t go the way you planned you didn’t fail. It’s just a learning lesson.

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