5 Tips for planning your first garden

Moving into a new home is abundant with opportunity and the addition of a home garden is usually at the top of the list.  Whether you are a master gardener or a first timer the steps to planning out a garden are about the same.   Follow these simple steps to ensure you get a garden you’ll love and actually use.

  1. Draw up a rough plan- start by mapping out a rough shape and size. A good way to do this is to take a look at where you will be placing the garden and sketch it and other major features (trees, fences, etc.) onto graph paper.  Remember that you will be moving things around so a pencil would be best.
  2. Start small- The best rule of thumb for creating a garden is to go small and leave room to expand later. Many ambitious gardeners set out to develop a large garden that quickly becomes overwhelming with upkeep and the amount of produce being produced.  You can always add additional area, but you can’t undo gardening burnout!
  3. Consider prep work- when mapping out the area to turn into your garden keep in mind the work that will be required to prepare for gardening. If you have very rocky soil are you going to do rock removal, bring in dirt, or build raised beds?  If the area you are looking at is currently overgrown with thorny bushes or is set up as a pond are you willing to put in the work to use the area?  Is there another area that would also be great but take much less effort to set up?
  4. Consider watering- When setting up a garden most gardeners don’t consider the availability of water, one of the most essential ingredients to healthy plants!! Of course, in most areas water is easily accessible; however, will you need to pull hoses to the area, haul large buckets, or set up a water delivery system?  All these factors will add to or subtract from how much you enjoy your garden.
  5. Plan for food you already eat- moving into a new house, setting up your first garden, and overhauling the way you eat are pretty difficult to tackle at the same time. The thought of fresh produce being readily available at any time tends to inspire new gardeners to plant everything they can get their hands on, even if it isn’t something that they eat regularly.  Over planting adds to the workload and can decrease the enjoyment of your garden is a couple of different ways.  First, you will have more area to water and more area to control the weeds.  Second, if you don’t use the produce it will decompose in the garden which attracts pests and smells terrible; however, if you pick the produce and it goes to waste in your fridge or on your cupboard you will feel like your hard work is being tossed in the garbage.

Remember that gardening is supposed to be enjoyable!  By following these steps in planning your garden you can avoid a few of the pitfalls that can have you off the gardening bandwagon in less than one growing season.


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