Here are some home gardening questions for beginners. Starting a garden is simple and can be a little or lots of work depending on your desire.
How do I choose a garden site with the most available sun? As a County Agent I was called out to a location where the gardener was having a problem with her tomatoes not producing fruit. When talking to her on the phone she told me the tomato plants were in full sun. When I arrive at the location, to my surprise the tomato plants were surrounded by tall trees. The scrawny tomato plants were in full sun, but unfortunately only for about 15 minutes a day. When vegetable seed packets indicate likes full sun (tomatoes, peppers, peas, beets, cucumbers, and pumpkins) it means the sun hits the plants for at least 6 hours each day. I would recommend at least 8 hours to be producing the most vegetables. Morning sun is the best time because it dries the plants off earlier in the day to help prevent disease problems. If you do not have full sun make sure you choose vegetables that do not require full sun (broccoli, lettuce, spinach, or Swiss chard).
What size should my garden be? My second year garden was not as successful as my first and that is because the garden got too large. You will be more successful if you start out with a smaller size, I recommend 4 by 4 feet. Yes — 4 by 4 feet. When a small garden is properly managed you can produce more food than if you tackle a large garden and here is why. You can get more production out of a small garden by intercropping which is planning vegetables that mature early in with later maturing vegetables. An example would be radishes planted between the tomatoes plants. The radishes are finished before the tomatoes grow together. No rows also will help cut down on wasted space. The old method of planting in rows allows a place for weeds to grow. My second garden was 100 x 100 feet and by the end of the growing season it served as a hide-and-go-seek spot as a result of the 5 foot tall pig weeds that had over taken my garden. By planting vegetables close together to crowd out weeds you can produce plenty of wholesome vegetables for your family in a small space.
How do I choose the best garden soil? The biggest reason for my success as a beginning gardener was soil! The former chicken yard that I started with was full of well decomposed chicken manure. The soil had the perfect balance of soil pH (soil acidity), the nutrients N, P, and K (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), micro nutriments, and organic matter. If you do not have access to an old chicken yard, go to your local garden store and purchase bags of soil. You might not want to spend the money on bags of dirt! But believe me this is the best insurance policy you have to being successful as a beginning gardener. I have taken college classes on soils and there is more that goes into the bag than dirt. The properly prepared bagged soil will be tested with less weed seeds to contend with later in the growing season. Don’t be cheat yourself; buy the bagged soil. For additional home Gardening questions for beginners check out The Home and Garden Information Center.
How do I choose the best garden location? My first garden was in the back yard where I played every day. The site or location was critical for the success of my first garden. Make certain the garden is close to a door that you use a lot. I moved to a new house and consistently lost the plants in the front pots due to lack of water. After several years of failure I moved the pots to the end of the garage where I would walk by every day. Moving the pots 25 feet made the care for the plant successful. Some of you may be involved with community gardens. This takes extra effort to go to another location to care for your garden. It works well when you set a regularly scheduled time on the calendar so the weeds do not get ahead of the vegetables if you can’t garden outside your door.
Home Gardening Questions for Beginners
If you want to get started with a successful garden this year you will need to find a location with at least 6 hours of sun to give you the opportunity to raise sun loving vegetables. Remember to start with a small garden. A 4 by 4 foot gardens can provide lots of vegetables for the family if you use intercropping and no row planting methods. For the beginners, it is my recommendation that you purchase bagged soil at your garden center. The soil is well balanced, with the correct nutrients and adequate organic matter plus the weed problem will be decreased. Having your garden in a location that you will walk by on a regular basis will result in greater gardening success. If you would like to get started gardening but do not know where to begin make sure you check out this website dedicated to http://homegardeningforbeginners.org/.
Richard Godke is a lifelong gardener since age 8. He studied agriculture and taught high school horticulture. He spent almost 20 years working as a County Extension Agent in three states where he educated farmers, home owners, and youth in the areas of production agriculture and home horticulture. Godke has trained adult Master Gardeners and school-age 4-H members in every aspect of gardening, as well as establishing community gardens. He has introduced two daylily varieties with the American Hermerocallis Society and has served as a national certified national daylily exhibition judge. Godke has started http://homegardeningforbeginners.org/ dedicated to answering questions and assisting people in starting home gardens.
By Richard Godke