Top Tips for Beginning your Garden

Gardening is a wonderful way to enjoy the warm weather, while benefiting from the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.  To some, who have never planted a garden before, it may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.  Follow these nine tips and you will be on your way to enjoying a fun and fruitful new hobby.

1. Choose a Good Location

Marigold Flower planted in a new gardenYour garden location should be one that is visible and easily accessible.  If it is out of site, then it will definitely be out of your mind.  Your garden needs attention, whether it be watering, feeding, weeding or harvesting.  As much as you want it to be visible, you will want it to be in an area that does not see much foot and animal traffic.

2. Be Aware of the Amount of Sunlight

As you are choosing your location, think about the amount of sunlight that the area receives.  Depending on what you plan to grow, the amount of sunlight can either help or harm your crop.  Many fruits and vegetables require at least six hours of sun in order to flourish.

3. Ensure Water is Easily Accessible

The last thing you want to do is plant a garden that is hard to reach.  If a hose does not reach, think of the number of trips you will need to make with heavy buckets of water.  Therefore, when you are planning your garden location, be sure that a water source is easily accessible.  Depending on the amount of sun and needs of your plants, you may be watering them more often than you think.

4. Build your Soil

In order to thrive, plants need well-drained, disease-resistant, fertile soil that is rich in nutrients.  Understanding the type of soil you currently have will help you decide whether or not you have to supplement it. This can be done by looking at the soil, but in some cases it may require a home or professional soil test.  

5. Choose Your Plants

Often, this is the part that most gardeners are excited about—choosing what to grow.  For your first garden, don’t get caught up in the excitement by planting every fruit, vegetable and herb that you can find.  Start small with a few different types of plants.  More specifically, choose ones that you and your family will eat, so that your time and effort are worth it.  Consulting with a local garden center, such as A&N Lawn Servi ce, Inc. in Pittsburgh, will help you make the right decision. They can not only direct you to the best plants for novice gardeners, but they can advise you on which ones fare better in your region. 

6. Decide on Seeds or Transplants

Another key decision that your local garden center can help you make is whether or not to start your garden with seeds or transplants.  Some beginners are more comfortable with planting seeds directly into the ground and others prefer a head start with a plant that can be transplanted later.  

7. Know your Local Frost Dates

A pitfall you want to avoid is planting your garden too early, when frost is still in the forecast.  Find out the average first frost date for your area.  You can research it online or consult your local garden center.  For a gardener, there is nothing more discouraging than waking up to plants that have been killed overnight by frost.  Additionally, when doing your research, find out the average last frost date, so that you pick your fruits and vegetables or move the pants indoors before the cold weather hits.  

8. Consider Adding Mulch

Mulch helps with weed control.  Therefore, consider adding 2-3 inches of mulch around each plant.  This will also help reduce the moisture that is lost through evaporation.

9. Nurture your Garden

Follow the instructions that come with your seed packets or transplant containers.  They will guide you on how to properly care for your garden.  In addition to watering, add plant food to provide additional nutrients to the soil.  Nurturing your garden will go a long way in yielding a bountiful harvest. 

Local Garden Center Providing Garden and Lawn Care to Pittsburgh 

Pittsburgh’s A&N Lawn Service, Inc., located on Reis Run Road in Franklin Park, can help you build a hearty garden, as well as provide lawn care for your property.  Our garden and greenhouse knowledgeable staff have what you need to get started, including a variety of seeds and plants for sale. Stop by A&N Lawn Service today or call us at 412-931-9230.