Top 10 Tips for New Gardeners 

 Originally Written: March 21, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

vegetable_garden2I think this might help to lots of people – whether you are just starting your garden or need a bit of a refresher of ideas. Personally, I have learned the hard way, including my family’s favourite blunder I have made. So I might as well tell you… About 3 years ago and decided that my garden will be filled and blooming all the time – so I did all the right things – adding good soil, planting vaaariety of plants and flowers…including using Miracle Grow to get it all going good. Because I was not exactly paying attention while reading directions on the Miracle Grow container, I have mixed not one cap but one cup of the stuff into each watering can. Needless to say, the blessing was that I didn’t kill everything, but I had irises that were 6 feet tall. Since then, everything that grows for me is matched to : “ya – that’s because she uses a whole box of Miracle Grow in one watering!” You just never know… But I do hope the following tips will help you out a bit. And rest assured that i will continue posting more and more garden experiences –  and I would love to hear your comments and more suggestions!

Top 10 Tips for New Gardeners:

# 1: Don’t over-plant your garden – Chances are that you will, so don’t let it bother you if your garden grows like a jungle. We all have a tendency to want lots of green and tons of blooms and it is difficult to predict just how big each  plan will get. You have to get used to the idea of moving plants around, giving excess ones to your family and friends and even throwing out or getting rid of the ones that just don’t work for you.


# 2: Make Your Schedule – It is a good idea to plan the time you spend in your garden. As difficult as it may seems – especially if you have full time job and full time family, all you have to do is set maybe 15 minutes or 1/2 hour each day, before going off to work or after dinner or whatever works the best. Or maybe a little during the week and more on the weekend…if you have a st time in the garden, you are going to get more things done!

# 3 :Grow with good soil – this may appear to be a boring topic, but believe me – it is really important to pay attention to. Healthy, fertile soil is crucial to the organic-gardensuccess of your garden and if you don’t have a composter yet in the corner of your backyard… it is a very good idea to get one (just a little tip: don’t put it too far from your house, it makes it too difficult to consistently walk to it to dispose of your compostable waste)

# 4  : Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – Consider your garden to be your licence to make mistakes! Just keep working on your garden – some thing will work beautifully and some will come close to disaster – but that is how you will learn!

# 5 :Get help when you need to – I think it is definitely a good idea to get help – especially for large projects. Ia m talking about issues like making a complete new raised bed or using paving stones to create a walkway. I have found that local supply stores are a great source of information – especially the ones privately owned, like nurseries that have been around for some time.

# 6 :Plant your first garden close to you – start planting to a location that you will see regularly or will walk by every day. I mean like outside of your kitchen window or next to the garage. That will allow you to see plants like tomatoes going from bloom to ripe or just how many weeds pop up after the latest rain.

# 7 : Plant what you eat – Translation: Don’t plant cabbage if you don’t like cabbage. It is a good idea to plant vegetables that you know you like and use. It is also a good idea to limit yourself to a number of varieties you plant – don’t


try to do too much from the start.

# 8 :Keep Records – This may not be the easiest thing to do (and I must admit that I am not good at it either!) But for the records I have kept – I was – without an exception-grateful for. Despite your best hopes that you will remember when you planted you lettuce last year and which varieties you sued – you will not remember a year later!

# 9 : Let your kids work with you! – It is a great idea to include your kids in the gardening experience! They will get better understanding where food comes from and how flowers happen to bloom. You will be doing them a great favour for their future!

# 10 : Share – If you grow vegetable – like tomatoes – it is very likely that you will have more than than you can eat. If you don;t have people close to you that you can pass it onto – give it to your local soup kitchen or Food Bank!

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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