Advice

How And Why You Should Start Gardening In 3 Easy Steps

Diana Murphy · Jun 4, 2019

Given all of the proven health benefits of starting a garden, it’s a great time to get your hands dirty and find your green thumb. Even just keeping potted plants in your apartment can boost your overall well-being. From improving concentration and productivity to emitting oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide in the air, adding plant life to your space will improve any indoor or outdoor environment. They even add a nice decorative touch.

Getting started may seem daunting for the uninitiated, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re planting a full vegetable plot, a colorful flower bed, or a few indoor pots, with a little pre-planning and research, growing your perfect garden can be easy and fun.

Read on to learn all about sowing the seeds of what could be a new budding hobby.

Choosing What To Plant

You’ll want to start by learning about your local climate and seasons. This will help you decide which plants will thrive in your area and narrow down the types you intend to cultivate (vegetable, floral, herbal, etc.). You can find online tools to help you figure out your zone and research which plants are best suited for your region. It will also give you an idea of the length of the growing season, including the right time to harvest (if you’re growing something edible).

Generally speaking, unless you have a large green space set aside already, opting for plants that can share a pot is a good option.

Pro Tip: Speaking of overgrowth, mint is a fragrant and useful herb in the kitchen, but will grow over most garden plots. Always plant it in its own pot, and be mindful of this trait in other specimens you may select.

You can usually find this information on the tags included with the plants or on the seed bags. Ensure that your soil is rich and able to easily drain water—look for spots on your property that aren’t hit with heavy rain and that can get ample natural sunlight. If you’re using pots, adding rocks to the bottom can help with drainage.

Equipping Yourself With The Right Gardening Gear

There are a few tools that every aspiring gardener should have in their horticultural arsenal. Of course, if you’re planting a more modest plot, you may not need everything, but it’s still good to get a sense of the types of implements commonly used in the field (pardon the pun). They will not only make the job easier, but you’ll also feel like a proper gardening expert with the right equipment. A few of these items include the following:

  • Spade: This tool makes turning soil so much easier, and is pretty much an essential item to keep handy as you embark on your gardening journey.
  • Hand Shovel: This tool is used for digging and smoothing soil. It can also be used to move plants around without damaging their roots.
  • Garden Fork: This implement is usually equipped with four sturdy tines used to loosen and turn soil (and uproot weeds).
  • Pruners: This is used to trim your plants and maintain their shape. Keep these tools clean and sharp.
  • Hoe: This tool is useful for seeding and weeding. Think of it as a slight variation of a garden fork in miniature.
  • Gardening Gloves: These are optional, but a good choice if you want to protect your hands from debris.

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to commit to purchasing your own tools, you can rent them online from a marketplace like Toolsity.

Finding The Best Space

Even if you don’t have a spacious backyard, you can still add a little greenery to your life. Search your neighborhood for local plant shops with expert staff or check online for recommendations based on your space and ability. Does your home not have a lot of natural light? That’s okay—just look for low-light plants that flourish in darker spaces like ZZ plants, snake plants, and peace lilies (just to name a few). These do great in rooms without direct sunlight.

If you still want a home garden but don’t have access to an outdoor space (or a lot of sunlight), there are plenty of indoor garden kits that you can purchase. These environments are helpful options since they are compact, which is great if you live in a congested city, and often require little maintenance. Another alternative for greening up your life is to look for community gardens in your area. These spaces are not only an excellent way to start growing your own fresh produce (eat your heart out, farmer’s market), but they’re also a great way to meet your neighbors, find classes and resources, and mingle with other gardening aficionados.

Are you ready to start cultivating your green thumb? There’s no time like the present.