This page includes gardening basics for beginner gardeners, as well as resources for starting your first home garden or making your existing garden more sustainable. Creating your dream home garden is certainly possible, and here’s how!
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This guide to gardening covers all the basics of the organic gardening; everything from starting your first garden all the way to sustainable gardening. Gardening is a hobby that always presents new opportunities to learn and new techniques to try out. There’s always more to learn! What are you doing next in your garden?
Gardening is my hobby, and hopefully it becomes yours! Start by learning why many gardeners choose organic gardening. Then learn about kitchen gardens and permaculture. Maybe soon you’ll be thinking… gardening is my passion too!
There are a few gardening basics to keep in mind before you even learn how to garden. Starting a garden with these basic gardening tips is a great way to ensure you’ll have some fun as you learn.
Gardening for beginners is all about getting the gardening basics down. This site is full of details about learning how to garden and grow organic food, but these gardening basics are the foundation of it all:
Gardening Basics for Beginners
- Anyone can develop a “green thumb”.
- A good garden plan will take a while to create, but will save so much time and effort later in the season.
- Gardening starts with observation. Checking your garden daily for adequate moisture, sun, and pest control will therefore do a great deal.
- Deal with problems when they arise. It is far easier to pull a small weed now than a giant one later on!
- Going organic may take more work than conventional gardening at first, but soon it will be easier and more productive than using synthetic chemicals. There are some pretty amazing organic fertilizers available (including some that you can DIY)!
- Some plants love sun and others love shade. Some plants require frequent watering, while others really like their roots to dry out a bit now and then. It’s worth reading the plant tag or doing a bit of research! Your new plant will thank you.
In addition to learning how to garden online or from books, it’s great to connect with other gardeners. Every gardener has their own valuable experience and gardening tips to learn from. Find a local garden mentor or chat with other gardeners online on Facebook. It’s great to know other gardeners who can help you with your own specific questions!
Garden care involves observing your garden regularly and addressing issues as they arise. There is no magic “green thumb” that you develop. You will avoid most problems by checking your plants regularly for the basics like roots having enough air/water and leaves getting enough sun. Your plants will likely need some specialized pest control or organic fertilizer at some point, but these garden care details can be addressed quickly with an internet search or by asking another gardener.
Plants are just like us in that they need water, air, food, and shelter from harsh elements. They also need nutrients from the soil and pollination from insects or wind. With these basic garden care elements in place, your garden is off to a great start.
Most plants get their water from the soil. Certain types of soil hold water more easily than others. Organic soil and fine-grained mineral soil (clay) store water and essential nutrients much better than in soil like sand that has large particles and large void spaces. Plants need water to fill cells in their leaves, stems, and roots, helping the plant stand upright.
Plants also use water in photosynthesis, which is how they make their food. They use water from the soil, carbon dioxide from the air, and energy from the sun to create their own sugars to use as food. They also produce oxygen during photosynthesis, which is handy for us humans. The plant’s roots require access to oxygen to keep the plant healthy.
Overwatering can deprive the plant’s roots of air, drowning the plant. Overwatering seems to be responsible for a plant’s demise more often than under watering. This is especially true of houseplants like succulents! It the soil feels moist to the touch and the planter isn’t lighter than usually, the plant likely has enough water.
Growing gardens also involves protecting plants from harsh temperatures and environmental hazards. In the wilderness, plants adapt over the long term to survive in very specific eco-systems. In our gardens however, we try to grow all sorts of plants that perhaps aren’t a perfect match to our local conditions. This is why we often start seeds indoors, surround our plants with organic mulch, or water our gardens more often during hot weather.
Many gardeners create a permaculture garden after they get comfortable with organic gardening and begin to look for ways to create a more efficient system. Permaculture design goes beyond gardening, and is essentially the science of designing productive natural systems based on the productive systems which already exist in nature. These systems are designed to emulate nature so the components collaborate and regenerate.
Also referred to as “beyond organic” gardens, permaculture gardens use supplies and techniques from nature to enrich the health of the garden ecosystem. Designs are meant to be adaptable, productive, and open to new inputs. Natural landscaping techniques imitate nature while also incorporating the best edible gardening practices to provide food.
Permaculture is much more than just gardening tips. While it does offer some excellent gardening tips, it can be used to design entire systems with the garden as just one supporting part of a thriving ecosystem. All sustainable permaculture systems are based on the foundational ethics of permaculture that underlie the design science.
There are three key ethics in permaculture: Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. The Earth Care ethic is focused on nurturing the environment, the People Care ethic is focused on meeting the needs of humans, and the Fair Share ethic is focused on sharing abundance with others. Read more about permaculture here.
Although sustainable gardening like permaculture gardens or even organic gardening may sound like more work at first, it can actually translate to less work overall. Healthy plants have managed to thrive in the wilderness for millennia without anyone fertilizing them with manufactured chemicals. Emulating balanced natural ecosystems in your permaculture garden will help you to work with nature rather than against it (and be much more fruitful in the long run!).
By growing organic plants in healthy garden soil enriched with organic garden fertilizer, you’re already working towards a sustainable garden. Visiting local nature conservancies, biogardens, eco-gardens, and permaculture gardens can help give you gardening tips and inspiration for creating your own sustainable garden in your climate.
More Gardening Tips
Many of the gardening how-to articles on this blog include a corresponding free printable set of instructions in addition to the article. Find the free instruction page downloads in the Organic Gardening Printables Vault.
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