Gardening Tips for Beginners like Me

gardening tips for beginners

My husband and I just started our first-ever raised herb garden a couple of months ago and have been enjoying the experience.  The fresh basil is awesome for both of us and Mr. BFS has been loving the chives.  The cilantro was awesome until it flowered into coriander and the tomatoes are going to be amazing as soon as they ripen up some more.  Here are a few gardening tips for beginners I can think of.

Start Small

As someone who has a hard time remembering to take care of things daily, I’d highly suggest starting small.  Our 8 foot by 3 foot raised garden is the perfect size for us.  It doesn’t take any extra time to water since the sprinkler hits it and it’s big enough to remind me to take care of it when I look out our back door’s window.  That said, we still managed to forget to cut back the cilantro so it would change into coriander.  Sometimes forgetfulness wins and they key is to simply not beat yourself up for it.

Choose Plants that will Keep You Motivated

If our garden was nothing but chives and cilantro, I would personally never do anything with it.  I don’t really like either one of those herbs.  But I love tomatoes and basil, so I have been chipping in with the minimal work needed to help them thrive.  If you don’t even like the idea of growing edible plants, then don’t bother.  Maybe a beautiful flower garden would be more up your alley.  If you are crazy for cucumbers and bell peppers, only plant those so you’ll want to put in the time to help them survive.

Keep in mind Sun Exposure

Thanks to great advice from family, my husband and I made a list of plants we’d like and looked up all of their sun requirements before buying a single seed or seedling.  Tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, and cilantro all had similar sun requirements, so those are the only ones on our list that made it into our garden.  It sort of worked out.  The seedlings we bought took over the entire area before the seeds had a chance to grow.  In the end, we did waste about $10 on seeds, but all of our seedlings had a bunch of room to grow and are healthy and delicious.

Remember to Water

I know it seems to be simple.  On top of premium soil, plants need water so of course you will water them, right?  It should be as easy to remember as soil, right?  That’s what I thought too.  Then life reminded me that I would forget to put out water for my dogs if they didn’t remind me, so I have written our garden into my schedule.  If I didn’t, my back yard would never get watered and neither would my tomatoes.  It also helps if you have quality tools to ensure a reliable and durable design. Remember to schedule in what is important to you since life has a way of making you forget.

I am actually keeping a copy of this post to remind myself next year of the small mistakes we made this time around.  I hope these gardening tips help your garden too.

What other great gardening tips for beginners would you recommend?

17 thoughts on “Gardening Tips for Beginners like Me

  1. Great post Crystal. You hit some of the main points. I do agree that starting simple is key. Don’t grow too many at one time so you can avoid overwhelming yourself. I would also suggest assessing the amount of time you have to dedicate to your garden. If you aren’t going to be available to water, fertilize, weed etc. then don’t start.
    I would also suggest that if you are growing veggies, keep an inventory each time you eat from the plants. You will be motivated to continue when you see how much food you are getting.

    1. I really like that keeping inventory suggestion!

      So far, my husband and I have used the basil twice, the chives once, and the cilantro twice before it bloomed into coriander. I also bagged and gave away some basil and chives. I cannot wait until the tomatoes ripen!

  2. Great post crystal – I think starting simple is key as well. My office is full of gardening people, so I hear a lot of talk, but just decided to plant 1 thing this year (bazil). I did it mostly because that stuff is kind of expensive and I like it on my pizzas. I’m excited to get my own place and make a garden in the future, though.

    1. Basil is a perfect starting plant since it holds up well, develops quickly (I like quick results), and is absolutely delicious! Good luck!

  3. Hi, I also interested in gardening. In childhood I was plantation in different places near about my home. Today these plants are very big and give me more pleasure.

  4. Thanks Crystal- I have a few small patio pots of Cilantro, Basil, Mint, and Tomato.

    I had no idea i needed to cut back the cilantro as it will turn into coriander!! Thanks for that- I’ll make sure I keep them nice and trim.

  5. That coriander’s going to be really good when it goes to seed (be sure to catch the seeds before they fall). Fresh-grown seed is so much better than the stuff from the store.

    You list all the important first points, I think, especially starting small. The other obvious one is, focus on growing only stuff that you really really like and that’s expensive or poor quality at the store. Fresh green herbs (different basils, mint, tarragon, parsley) are the best!

      1. Mrs. SPF grows mint – and it has a slight cocoa flavour. She dries it and uses it for tea. She planted some in the yard last spring – 1 plant, and we now have about 15 plants – it spreads like a weed! We will need to contain it soon, somehow …

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  8. Great post, Crystal, and common-sense advice. An 8′ x 3′ raised bed is the right size for beginners. Sometimes people will do an 8′ x 8′ bed (like I’ve done, guilty as charged), forgetting that they’ll have to step into the bed to prune and weed, thereby compacting the soil. Compacted soil is a “very bad thing”.
    With regards to watering and tomatoes, don’t let the plant’s leaves or unripe fruit get wet. Wet leaves will lead to fungal disease, and wet tomatoes in the daytime will get sun-scald, as the sun’s rays are magnified by the little water droplets and burn the fruit. Best to water right at the root zone.

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