How to Start a Garden

  • How to Start a Garden - Clementine Daily

    Image Credit: Erika Raxworthy

    Maybe you crave salads made with ingredients harvested in the backyard. Maybe you dream of bedside bouquets plucked from bountiful window boxes. Whatever your reason for wanting to start a garden, the process can be infinitely rewardingbut also daunting if you've never done it before. We've streamlined the six essential steps to get you growing, so you can enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor well before Labor Day!

  • Choose the Site // How to Start a Garden - Clementine Daily

    Choose the Site. Factors like light, space, and what type of garden you’d like to install will all influence where you plant. If an edible garden is your goal, keep in mind that most veggies need at least six hours of sunlight daily. Flower gardens can accommodate both sun and shade depending on the species you choose, but be sure to choose a spot like near the front door or along the patio so the display of blossoms can be enjoyed. And don’t fret if space is tight. Vertical and container gardening techniques can yield surprisingly bountiful, beautiful results! To Buy: Groundbreaking Food Gardens ($15), Vertical Vegetables and Fruit ($13)

  • Assess the Soil // How to Start a Garden - Clementine Daily

    Assess the Soil. With some exceptions, plants need a neutral soil pH for optimum growth. Test the soil pH or ask a local nursery if they can do it for you. Soil type also impacts drainage, so check to see if your ground has too much sand, too much clay, or the ideal ‘sandy loam’ consistency. Finally, start composting your kitchen scraps for a nutrient-rich supplement no matter what foundation you’re starting with. To Buy: Kitchen Compost Bucket ($30)

  • Prepare the Beds // How to Start a Garden - Clementine Daily

    Prepare the Beds. Time to work up a sweat! Dig up any sod or weeds, not only to remove them but to aerate the earth. Add any necessary augmentations, like sand to increase drainage or coira product made from ground coconut husksto improve water retention. Or save yourself the trouble and install raised beds instead! To Buy: Raised Garden Beds ($140-$310)

  • Choose the Plants // How to Start a Garden - Clementine Daily

    Choose the Plants. Determine which plants will grow best in your region by checking your state’s Cooperative Extension office. Seeds require an early start (think February/March) so if you’re planting later in the spring head to the nursery for already established plants. Choose vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes; they’re easy to grow and have a longer harvest time. Select flowers based on your desired colors and foliage, as well as the growing conditions of your site. And above all, start small! A limited variety of five or six species lets you get your novice hands dirty without overwhelming you. Image: Ikea

  • Plant Your Garden // How to Start a Garden - Clementine Daily

    Plant Your Garden! Moving to a new home is as stressful for plants as it is for people, so plant during a cool, calm time of the day. Dig a hole and bury the plant to the depth it was in its pot, water immediately, then cover the planting site with mulch to protect roots and to prevent water from evaporating too quickly. To Buy: Potting Trowel ($20)

  • Nurture and Maintain // How to Start a Garden - Clementine Daily

    Nurture and Maintain. Planting is just the first step; now the real fun begins! Help your selected specimens flourish by applying their respective guidelines for watering, weeding, staking, pruning, and pest control. Regular one-on-one time with your garden will allow you to nip problems in the bud, learn seasonal rhythms, and determine which plants should make an encore appearance next year. To Buy: Hose Pot ($172)

  • Look to the Future // How to Start a Garden - Clementine Daily

    Look to the Future. Speaking of next year, it’s never too soon to start planning! Consult an almanac or gardening calendar to determine when and how you should plant fall bulbs, safeguard your garden for winter, and start indoor seedlings. Take notes in a garden journal to keep track of it all. To Buy: Moleskine Gardening Journal ($17)

p.s. Now that we’ve learned how to start a garden, let’s get to cooking with our bounty!

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