Illustration of person holding a watering can and standing outside of a house.

1. Position it appropriately.

When beginning a garden, just like when purchasing real estate, the location is the most important factor. You should locate your garden in an area of your yard where you will be able to observe it frequently (out of sight, out of mind definitely applies to gardening). In this manner, the likelihood of you spending time in it will be significantly increased.

2. Keep your eyes on the sun.

When beginning to garden, one of the most common pitfalls is to incorrectly judge the amount of sunlight available. Before deciding where to plant your garden in your yard, you should first consider how the sunlight moves around the space. In order to be healthy and productive, the vast majority of edible plants, which includes a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits, require at least six hours of daily sunlight.

3. Remain in close proximity to water.

If you want to get the most out of your gardening experience, one of the best pieces of advice you can get is to locate your new garden near a water source. Make sure there is a way to run a hose to the location of your garden so that you do not have to carry water there every time your plants need it. This will save you time. One of the most reliable methods for determining whether or not plants require additional watering is to press one finger into the soil approximately one knuckle deep. When the soil is dry, it is time to water the plants.

4. Begin with high-quality soil.

When beginning a garden, one of the most important pieces of advice is to make sure to purchase soil that is both high in nutrients and has good drainage. If you intend to plant in the ground, you can achieve this ideal consistency by incorporating three inches of Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil into the uppermost six to eight inches of the soil that is already there. Use Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil when planting in a raised bed because it has the ideal density and structure for this type of gardening. Raised beds provide an ideal environment for root development.

5. Consider containers.

When space is at a premium, containers are a good option to have. It is possible to cultivate a wide variety of plants in containers, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, berry bushes, and even shrubs. When gardening in containers, it’s important to use a container that’s big enough to hold the plant you’re growing inside of it, and then fill that container with Miracle-Gro® Moisture Control® Potting Mix. Not only has it been developed specifically to promote the growth of plants that are kept in containers, but it also helps protect the plants from being over- or under-watered.

 

Illustration of person holding a plant in each hand.

6. Make sure you pick the appropriate plants.

It is essential to choose plants that are suitable for the conditions under which they will be grown. This involves positioning sun-loving plants in areas that get plenty of sunlight, selecting plants that can thrive in hot climates, and ensuring that ground-eating vines like pumpkins and melons have plenty of space to spread out (or a trellis to climb). Do your research and select plant varieties that will thrive in the environment in which you live and the amount of space you have available. If you want to increase your chances of success when growing vegetables and herbs, start with robust young plants from Bonnie Plants® rather than trying to grow them from seed. This will give you a head start.

7. Discover your zone.

Your “hardiness zone” is a factor that should be considered when selecting plants for your garden. To put it another way, it refers to the location with the lowest temperature at which a plant can survive. The greater the number of zones, the warmer the average annual temperature. Therefore, if a plant is “hardy to zone 4,” and your yard is located in zone 5, that plant will be able to thrive in your garden. If, on the other hand, you live in zone 3, you won’t have any luck growing that particular plant.

8. Become familiar with the frost dates.

It is possible to ruin your garden by planting the seeds too early in the season, or even by waiting too long. If you want to avoid accidentally killing plants by putting them outside too soon in the spring, you need to know when the last average spring frost date is in your region. It is important to know when your first typical fall frost will occur so that you can harvest your plants in a timely manner or bring them inside before the late-season cold causes them harm. Find out when your region typically experiences its first and last frosts on average.

Illustration of person mulching yard.

9. Add some mulch.

Around each plant, spread a layer of mulch that is between two and three inches deep. This will help reduce the amount of weeds that grow by blocking the sun, and it will also reduce the amount of moisture that is lost through evaporation, which will result in less watering being required. Applying a layer of Scotts® bagged mulch will give your landscaping a finished look. You could also put down pine straw, shredded leaves, straw from pine trees, or any other material that is readily available in the area.

10. Give your plants food on a regular basis.

We have already covered the significance of beginning with excellent soil, but it is important to note that excellent soil functions most effectively when combined with consistent additions of high-quality nutrition for your plants. In other words, fantastic soil combined with first-rate plant food equals a wildly successful garden. Therefore, after planting your garden, wait a month before beginning to provide it with plant food such as Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label.