Tips for Cultivating a Green Thumb

The changing of the seasons is upon us, which means spring is soon to arrive! Typically associated with renewal, growth, and blossoming, springtime is often a moment of joy and revived spirits. Many take it upon themselves to cast away their winter baggage and start afresh. Beyond spring cleaning, this can mean starting new routines, involving oneself in new activities, or even learning new skills. One fascinating yet relaxing activity that’s perfect for making the most of the warmer weather: gardening. For those who have been curious about having your own garden, right now is a great time to cultivate your green thumb, as early spring is an ideal moment to get a garden into shape. The best part? The work you do in these early months will be rewarded with fresh veggies and new flowers all year long.

Getting started in the garden can be daunting. It’s imperative that you have the right tools, the right plants for your plot of land, and most importantly, the right mindset (think patience, open-mindedness, and curiosity). Here are a few tips that will help any new gardener get the most from their green thumb. 


Location is everything

Whether using farm boxes or simply staking out a swath of your yard, picking the right location is a crucial part of garden planning. Once you have a spot in mind, take a day or two to monitor how light hits it over the course of the day, as that will determine what kinds of plants can grow in it. Be sure you’ve picked an area that gets lots of direct sunlight, especially if you’re planting a vegetable garden, as most edible plants require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Convenience is also an important factor to consider, especially for new gardeners who are still getting into the green-thumb groove. Putting your garden somewhere that you can see from your window and access easily will encourage the daily routines that good gardening requires. A garden tucked away out of sight is far more likely to get lost in the shuffle. 

 

Good soil goes far

Starting with healthy, nutrient-rich soil is a game-changer for your new garden, making all the difference as you get started planting for the first time. Different varieties of soil are made to address the exact needs of your garden, so it’s important to do the research on what your specific plot of land requires. If possible, buying your soil from a gardening store or nursery is a great option here, as a gardening specialist will help you pick the perfect starting soil for your land. 

 

Choose the right plants

Another area in which a specialist can be of great help is in picking the specific plants that will go in your garden. Where you live and the precise location of your garden will greatly determine what will grow successfully. These choices also should impact the precise layout of your garden plot – some plants need extra room, some need walls to climb, and some need the very most sunlight possible. In designing your garden, you’ll be juggling these different considerations, and an effective layout will maximize what your garden can yield. 

It’s often recommended that first-time gardeners begin with young plants rather than cultivating their gardens from seed, as seed-based gardening is much more finicky and can be discouraging for a first-timer. It’s not a bad idea to set yourself up for success in your first run as a gardener, as the (literal!) fruits of your labor will reward and encourage your gardening efforts.


Check your calendar

If you live somewhere with cold winters, it’s crucial to look up the last frost dates of the season. Be sure to start planting after this, as frosty weather can easily kill your plants, which is especially discouraging for a first-time gardener. Similarly, once autumn rolls around, it’s important to look up the first frost dates of the season so that you can harvest your plants before then.


Add mulch

Mulch is very beneficial to soil and the plants that live in it, helping to stop weeds from growing and keeping in moisture so that your garden needs less maintenance. Adding a layer of mulch two to three inches deep around each plant will get you the results you are looking for. Some varieties of mulch are even designed to enhance the appearance of your garden, and other attractive materials like pine straw and shredded leaves can be used to give your plot of land a particular look. 


Feed plants regularly

Once your garden is established and you have begun regularly tending to your plants, you can begin “feeding” them a plant food that makes the most of your soil. This is another case in which good research will lead you to the right product for your specific garden. Different plant foods require different usage, so be sure to find out the exact instructions that are right for your garden. The plant-feeding step of your gardening process should begin around one month after planting. 

ManukaGuard is welcoming the arrival of spring by celebrating all things green. For all the new gardeners out there, best of luck with your new favorite hobby! Tending to your new garden will be a unique joy, and enjoying your harvest will be a rich reward for all the hard work you’ve done.

Written by Steph manor

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