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Gardening Basics – How to Start a Garden

Starting a garden can be daunting. There are all kinds of decisions to make, but a little planning can go a long, long way toward making a garden you’ll love working in as much as looking at. However even planning can be a challenge.

I think the three most important questions to keep in mind are:

  • How do you plan to use the space (entertaining, play area, grow food…)?
  • What do you envision in your mind?
  • How much time and money can you devote to it?

Selecting plants is one of the toughest gardening tasks, simply because there are so many from which to choose. Key things to keep in mind are your hardiness zone and your soil type. But when push comes to trowel, what it really comes down to is what plants do you like and how much time can you put into caring for them. Here are some lists and resources to help you focus your search:

  • Drought Tolerant Plants
  • Easy Care, Low Maintenance Perennials
  • Deer Resistant Plant Lists Shade Plants

Designing a garden is an ongoing process and half the fun of gardening. While there are so called “design rules”, like always planting in odd numbers, there are no garden police to enforce them. Make your garden whatever you envision.

Most gardens are a mix of plants – annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs – that are always growing and changing and even the best thought out design will eventually need editing. Even so, there are some basic principles that will get you started off right.

There are all kinds of tools and gadgets designed to make gardening easier and more enjoyable. There are a few that should be in every gardener’s shed, like good pruners, but most are optional and as you gain experience you will find yourself reaching for the same favorite tools again and again.

So don’t go overboard buying tools right away. However once you know what you like, it’s worth it to invest in the best gardening tools you can afford. Good tools are more comfortable to use and last a long time.

There is always something to do in the garden: planting, staking, dividing, cutting back and weeding. Some plants are more demanding than others, but garden maintenance is a given. It can also be the most enjoyable part of gardening, because you get to observe the changes your garden goes through.

By regularly working in your garden, you’ll stay ahead of problems and learn the seasonal rhythms of your plants. You will also learn which plants do well in your garden, which you love and which you’d just as soon dig out and give away. Maintenance is the real essence of gardening.

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