Do you dream of fresh vegetables directly from a backyard garden, spending time with your hands in the dirt, or canning home-grown goodies for winter? It’s completely understandable if you do because eating fresh, homegrown food is a pleasure unlike any other.
But what do you do if you’ve never had a garden? It’s not always as easy as snagging your computer and dropping a few words into your favorite search engine. Choosing varieties to plant which will thrive during your area’s growing season, while understanding your soil type, may require you to dig a little deeper with your research. Continue reading to find out what to plant and when to plant it.
It’s always a good idea to have your goals in mind when you start. Have you set garden goals yet? If not, we have the perfect guide to setting garden goals.
Where Should I Start If I’m New to Gardening?
Start your gardening career by learning more about the hardiness zone where you live. These zones are based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature across a 30-year span. It is possible for your zone to include “heat islands” or “cold spots.”
Heat islands can be caused by things like large amounts of blacktop or concrete near where your property. Cold spots can be caused by hills and valleys resulting in air pooling or shady spots which never see enough sun. These microclimates may act more like a neighboring hardiness zone.
To find out which hardiness zone you live within, visit the plant hardiness website run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Keep in mind that this is a guide for where to begin understanding which plants will flourish in your area. Other factors like light and moisture are at play in your garden as well.
How Do I Know What to Plant in My Area?
Have you found your hardiness zone? If so, then you have a good starting point. You can begin to research vegetables to learn more about where they grow best. Study each vegetable that you’re considering growing.
As you research, you will learn which varieties are best for your area – early or late maturing, climbing, etc. – based on what your weather and garden conditions are during the growing season. You can also take a look at the seed packets for more context as they are packed full of information. On the back, you’ll find all kinds of tips about the conditions required to make specific seeds grow their best.
Depending on your soil, how much light the area receives, and the amount of water your garden gets – many delicious veggies you’re familiar with may grow where you live. Some vegetables are so adaptable they’ll survive in places all across the country. Some plants can sprout from a seed in their outside garden homes, but others may need to begin life inside until they are seedlings
Deciding what to grow in your area can still be difficult. Find the answers to the questions below and you’ll be off to a solid start.
- Where is your garden going to be located?
- How much sunshine lands on the area where your garden will live?
- How much water flows to and around it?
- How much space do you have? Do you have room to expand it in the future?
- Are there rodents and larger pests in the area?
- What kind of insects and small pests are common in your area?
- Is the soil in your area known for good drainage and fertility?
With the answers to these questions in hand, you’ll be able to talk with experts at your local gardening store. Expert gardening centers are full of local knowledge from talking with gardeners throughout many seasons. Even if they don’t know the answers to a question you might have, they could probably introduce you to someone who has the right answer.
You should also take stock of what your family likes to eat and how often they like to eat it. This helps inform your decisions about what to plant once you understand more about what grows well. It would be a shame to run out of your family’s favorites because you didn’t plant enough, wouldn’t it?
How Do I Know When to Plant Vegetables?
So, you’ve gotten started, learned about your local area, and developed a plan for what you want to grow. When should you start planting? The answer – as is usual with gardening – depends entirely upon your location and the specifics of your space.
However, there are tools which can guide you in making the right choices. Based on your hardiness zone and the average timing of your weather patterns, you can find reliable planting schedules online. As
we talked about in the previous sections, it’s possible for your location to significantly vary from the others around you if the land is hilly or surrounded by pavement.
One surefire way to understand your land is to start small and test out what you think will work. Keep a garden journal and record everything about your garden in it.
Other ways to gain experienced knowledge is to find local gardening clubs either in person or online. Groups such as these typically have more local knowledge than you could generally hope to find in a basic guide online.
Growing My Garden
As you continue to learn more about your area and your garden, you’ll probably let it expand. Your neighbors will be excited when they see the fresh produce start to take shape and so will your family. When your garden turns into a farm, or when you need higher quality irrigation solutions than what you can find at your local big box store. That’s where we come to the rescue.
You’ll find an assortment of sprinkler heads and carts which can fit any location. Since our products are made with quality parts, you’ll know they last much longer than the cheap seasonal ones you usually see. When you’re ready to learn more about quality watering solutions, contact us. We’re ready to hear all about your garden.