Never started a garden before? Don’t have a lot of space? Have only dabbled in growing your own food and want to be better at it? We’ve got a few gardening tips and tricks to get you started or help you along the way.
1. Stagger Growing Season
Instead of planting everything at once, try spacing them out a bit, so you have food on the table throughout your growing season. Or plant things that have different life cycles, so there’s always something to harvest and enjoy.
2. Rotate Crops
If you have a big enough garden, keep track of what you’ve planted and in what location, so you can switch things up. This will help keep pests and diseases from getting too used to one area. It can also help keep your soil balanced and with the right nutrients.
3. Follow The Sun
Find a spot that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. This might require that you keep watch and take note during the summer and spring months to see where your yard gets the most light. If you’re growing root vegetables or winter plants, just make sure your winter spot is just as good as your summer location for light.
4. Water The Roots
Don’t water the leaves. This can create diseases for the plants. Instead, be sure you’re watering the soil at the base of the plant, and water until the water pools over the soil for at least 3 seconds before absorbing into the ground. Also, some plants require a lot more water than others while some need less. Be sure you’re not overwatering or underwatering (check the instructions for that particular plant).
5. Plant Your Favorites
A garden is only as good as what you grow. Not sure what to plant? Look in your kitchen or think about what you tend to eat and buy a lot. No one in your house like onions? Skip them. Can’t get enough of tomatoes? Plant extra. Be careful to not overplant some things that grow easily like zucchini, so you’re not stuck eating the same thing for months.
6. Find Garden Plant Companions
There are lots of places online that provide charts on companion plants. What are they? They’re plants that are friendly with one another and actually help (or hurt) one another. Corn goes great with cucumbers, for example, but isn’t too happy about tomatoes. Look up a list, and make sure you keep plant-friends together and plant-enemies apart.
7. Consider A Container Garden
Don’t have a lot of space or a yard? Consider growing things in pots or containers. All you need is some sort of outdoor area (like a balcony, porch, patio, window box, etc.). Or if you don’t even have something like that, consider signing up at a community garden or asking if you can share some space with someone else’s garden.
8. Try Growing Food Indoors
Micro greens, sprouts, baby greens, and herbs are all easy things to grow indoors all year long. You can even grow your kitchen scraps! Use mushroom stems, onion ends, sprouted potatoes, or even sprouted garlic gloves to grow your own food from food you’d otherwise compost or throw away. If you bought some product that has a root node (like a full head of lettuce, bok choy, celery, etc.), all you need to do is put it in a jar or bowl of shallow water and magic! Instant indoor garden.
9. Start With Seedlings Instead of Seeds
If you’re not the patient type or just want to start a garden the easy way, buy plant starts or seedlings. Garden centers, farmer’s markets, or maybe even a friendly neighbor with a green thumb is a good place to look for young plants that you can simply plant in the ground or in your container. It’s also easy to start your own in early Spring with some seeds, an egg carton (or small plastic plant containers), and some soil. Plant your seeds, water them, and put them in a sunny window, and you’ll be ready to start your garden after the last frost.
10. Carry A Leatherman Multi-tool
You’ve got your gardening tools, but you may be surprised at how much you’ll love having a bunch of tools in your pocket when you’re working in the garden. The Leatherman Wingman® lives up to its name. Trim a plant, harvest some vegetables, open a bag of soil or fertilizer, trim landscape fabric, you name it. If you need to do something quick, the Wingman has 14 tools that are super useful like a 420HC combo knife, spring-action scissors, and even a ruler to space out your seeds or measure something quick.