10 Simple Steps to a Brand New Garden

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Garden alongside my sister's house. Yes, stuff is growing, f'real!

Garden alongside my sister’s house. Yes, stuff is growing, f’real!

Starting a new garden is an exciting challenge, but you can make that challenge an easy one by following a simple set of steps. Whether it’s your first garden or your twentieth, the steps are the same.

1 – Pick a size
A smaller garden is easier to start, easier to manage, less expensive to maintain. If you enjoy your small garden, you can always start a larger one next time. However, if you find you don’t enjoy gardening as much as you hoped, it’s easier to return a small garden to lawn than a large one.
2 – Pick a location
Find a space that gets 6 to 10 hours of sun a day. Choose a spot that is near a water source – faucet, easy reach of hose – and near the house if you’re planting vegetables.
3 – Check your soil
Test for pH and texture. Most plants like a neutral pH, but you may need to amend a highly acidic or alkaline soil. If your soil is dense, clay-based, or full of gravel and rocks, you will need to amend it so you have a soil that plants will like to grow in.
4 – Clear your area
Remove sod if soil is poor or very weedy.  Add several layers of newspaper and top with good soil. The newspaper helps to block weeds.
5 – Decide what to grow
Choose five or fewer types of plants that will like your sun and soil. Consult with a local garden center to ensure you’ll find plants that will grow in your USDA hardiness zone.
6 – Plant!
Water plants and garden area a day in advance, then place plants one at a time, following any included instructions. Water afterward.
7 – Layer on mulch
In the next few days, add four inches mulch organics like bark, compost, shredded leaves to conserve water and keep weeds under control. Keep mulch away from plant stems.
8 – Keep a log
Write down what you planted and where, and label your plants with markers. Take some before and after pictures for your log; this will help when you plan your next garden!
9 – Maintain and grow
Now comes the repetitive part: Watering, weeding, fertilizing, trimming, staking – even harvesting. But the repetition means you’ll see your garden make progress as it changes every few days.
10 – Start planning your next garden!

To your garden success!
Casey – the Garden Lass

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