Gardening for Beginners: The Basics

Gardening for Beginners: The Basics

If you are just getting started in gardening, just figuring out where to start can be defeating. The process seems enormous to the beginner. To get you started, we have narrowed down some critical things to consider as you begin to explore your green thumb.

Know Your Region: Before you ever buy a plant or flower, before you take a spade to the ground, find out what grows best in your area. Find out the length of the growing season, average temperatures, and rainfall. You do not need to be a meteorologist about this, but you will need some idea of the type of region you live in.

How long is the growing season? In New England, for example, we need to be careful of plants and flowers which require a lengthy growing season. New England Summers are not quite as extended as Summers in Georgia.

Start With Easy Plants: The good news here is that most commonly grown vegetables count as “easy plants.” They generally do not require a long growing season, and vegetables tend to just do their thing. Sunflowers and ferns are also good sturdy plants for the beginner.

Create a Plan: Though this is not as much fun as actually digging in the garden, it is important especially for the beginner. Do some research on how to space out your plants and how they will ripen and bloom over the course of the growing season. This way you can plant in ways which are conducive to healthy growth. (And the pros do this constantly!)

Water Carefully: With the help of the research from your plan, you can determine how much and how often to water your new garden. It is essential to remain consistent with this step. The added benefit of careful and consistent watering is that this will have you out in your garden nearly every day finding inspiration to keep it up.

Cultivating a Wildflower Garden

Cultivating a Wildflower Garden

There is nothing quite like the magic and surprise of cultivating a flower garden which springs to life from nature’s own wild design. A wildflower garden is as much a gardening prize as the perfectly tended rows of roses or geraniums.

Getting Started.

The most important bit of preparation for a wildflower garden is to clear the plot you want to plant. It is crucial that the plot be cleared of grasses and weeds since these will compete with the wildflowers for sunlight, water, and nutrients in the soil.

Choosing Varieties

Numerous plant and flower distributors offer mixes of wildflowers. Some are specifically summer blooms and others are designed to bloom in the fall. Just check your local garden store to see which varieties you prefer.


The fun part, and the easy part, of a wildflower garden is planting. You simply spread the seeds out over you cleared plot. You can do this by hand or, if you have a particularly large area, use a seed spreader.

To Cover or Not to Cover

You really do not need to cover the freshly planted seeds. Properly broadcast and planted, they will follow nature on this end of things.

It is a good idea to press them into the soil. Once you have spread the seeds out, you will want to press them into the soil. You can create compression by walking over a board placed over the seeds. But you can also just walk over it wearing shoes.

Do I Need to Protect the Seeds from Animals?

The simple answer is no. Birds and squirrels can eat their fill and you will have plenty of seeds which will take hold and bloom. They cannot really damage your wildflower plot.

Watch and Wait

If you planted a mix of annuals and perennials you will begin to see them germinate and sprout within about two weeks. Blooms will take approximately 5-7 weeks. Once you have planted your wildflower garden, you will have your own flowering meadow, and with perennials it will return year after year.

Tips for a Fire Escape Garden

Tips for a Fire Escape Garden

Apartment life in the city can make gardening seem impossible. For obvious reasons, apartment dwellers just do not have access to green space. If you have a fire escape, this can serve as your plot of land, and with a little plant knowledge and creativity you can create a beautiful garden right outside your window.

First Check if it is Legal

The first thing you need to do is find out if it is even legal to put plants on your fire escape. Some cities have laws forbidding things on fire escapes. Mostly you just need to make certain the area is clear enough to remain a safe space for use in the event of a real emergency.

Planting Vegetables

Vegetables that can be cut and will re-grow work great for the fire escape garden. Varieties of lettuce, kale, and other leafy greens will grow in pots. You can cultivate, cut for use, and they simply keep coming back. They are also make for a beautiful plot of green.

Fresh Herbs Right Outside Your Window

Fresh herbs are another crop which can be easily cultivated on a fire escape garden. Basil and oregano will thrive in the high light which so often beats down on a fire escape. Keep pinching back the tops on your basil and it will bush-out beautifully.

Hanging Plants and Flowers

Hanging pots are another great option for the garden on your fire escape. The advantage of hanging pots is that they can be set out of the way of the walk way for safety. Moss Rose is a fantastic hanging plant because it spreads out instead of creating a bush which can block access. It also blooms with small red flowers almost continuously.

Again, the most important consideration before beginning your fire escape garden is to maintain safety. Beyond this, it is a matter of imagination. You can be an apartment dweller and a small scale urban farmer.