Be sure to check out our previous post “5 Important Tips on Gardening” to help you with further gardening questions.
My husband and I are no experts when in comes to gardenining, however I was raised on a farm where having a garden was a huge part of my life. I am still learning about gardening and discovering new techniques thanks to Pinterest and other wonderful bloggers. Jason and I are working harder to eat healthier meals and exercise daily. When you eat healthier and exercise you start to have more energy and feel better so you are able to be more productive, work harder and do more to serve the Lord. Planting and growing your own vegetables and flowers is very rewarding. You may just discover that you like the taste of home grown natural vegetables a lot more than frozen or tin-canned vegetables that you buy at the store.
There are many ways to start a garden, and it can be right on your patio or it could be in a large area in your backyard like ours. Either way these tips below will help you get started so you can enjoy tasty fresh veggies/herbs or make your home more welcoming with some colorful flowers. Lets get started!
1) What Plants Will Grow in Your Area
Before you start buying your seeds or seedlings, grab a pen and paper and do some research. Research online or an almanac for the types of plants that grow best in your area. This is a very important and essential step before gardening. This step may sound a bit overwhelming, but rest assured once you learn this information and write it down somewhere safe, odds are you’ll never have to do this step again. This is what you need to do:
a.) Find What Zone You Live In
This USDA map is the standard by which gardeners and growers use to determine the plants that are most likely to thrive at a specific location.
In this map, the United States is broken down into 13 zones. Type in your zip code to find your zone. This interactive map will show you a complete breakdown of the city or area that you live in. Once you know the zone you live in, you can better determine which plants will grow better in your area. Plant almanacs and seed packets most often refer to these zones. A simple google search ‘What Plants Grow Best in Zone ___(your zone)‘ will give you a list also.
b.) Start Your Plants Early – Grow in Containers/Egg Shells
You can start your plants early indoors or in a greenhouse. There are several plants that can be grown in containers: Tomatoes, Herbs (Chives, Basil, Rosemary Oregano…), Onions, Cucumbers, Lettuce, etc. You can even start your seeds in Egg Shell Planters.
c.) Sun or Shade
Most plants and vegetables love the sun and require a lot of sun to grow (Peppers, Tomatoes, Lavender, etc). Most of these require 6 hours or more of sun per day. If you do not have an area where plants can receive this amount of sun then that plant may not work very well for you. Those with apartments or growing on patios may experience this issue. Good news! There are many other plants that require less sun and lots of shade such as, lettuce, beans, radishes, parsley, carrots and more.
Follow these steps and know your zone before planting. This is very essential so you are not wasting your money or time.
2. Know Your Frost Alerts
This is very important! Most plants will not survive a frost! If you plant your plants too soon and there is a frost they will DIE overnight. (see images below)
You can find out your frost dates in your area by almanac or your weather service provider. If you already planted your plants you can still save them by covering them before evening with bags, cloths or containers (see image).
3. ) Read Your Seed Packet for More Information
Each seed packet should give you guidelines of when to plant. You will notice most if not all packets will say to plant after frost.
The first thing to notice is the small map of the United States. Locate what color you are in by the state you live and then look at the legend right above it.
Example: For these Morning Glories, if you lived in Florida you would wait until March-May to plant according to the legend. If you are in the Northern part of the United States, you wouldn’t plant these until May – June.
Also, you can see where it has Planting Instructions and Suggestions to help you with your plant. Most packets include this also. As you can see this pack of seeds also requires full sunlight.
Not all seed packets are Alike
Different seed packs will read differently. Some will suggest planting seeds a few weeks before warm weather. If so, following the instructions and start your plants indoors. I start mine by making egg shell planters and a small greenhouse that I purchased online. Do this before you plant outdoors.