Tips For Starting Your Garden


Many people dream of having their own garden but the thought of actually putting the dream into action is overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you do? How do you do it? If you have no previous gardening experience these questions can be daunting enough to put you off doing anything. The reality is, it’s not hard, you just need to take it one step at a time. Start small and go from there. I’ve tried to make this as practical and straight forward as possible in the hopes that it will help you take the first step to building the garden of your dreams!

My windowsill used the be the place store bought herb seedlings came to die. I would've described as a ‘black thumb.’ When I first decided to start growing my own food, I bought a tomato seedling from the local supermarket and somehow kept it alive. That was my first step. All you need to do is take your first step; have a go and see what happens. There will definitely be failures, I can absolutely guarantee that but I have learnt the most from my garden failures rather than my successes. If you have the right information, attitude and outlook you really can’t go wrong! Here are some things to consider when starting out:


​​Placement is one of the crucial elements that you need to get right if you want to have a thriving garden. Your vegetables need sun! When deciding on the location of your garden you want to pick somewhere that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Basically find the sunniest spot in your yard and put your vegetable garden there. The more sun your vegetables can get the better. 

Start Small

A big mistake people make when starting their own vegetable garden is biting off more than they can chew. At the beginning, your garden needs to be small and manageable. Statistics show that many people who attempt to grow their own food mostly give up because of failure so you want to do everything you can to ensure your own success! So, when planning your garden, don’t go overboard with the size. By all means, create it so that you can keep adding to it but start small. Choose a size that will allow you to grow enough vegetables for your family while keeping things at a manageable level. Once the addiction takes hold, you can keep adding to your space and growing more, which is, part of the fun!

In ground or raised bed​​

Starting out, you need to determine if you want to grow in the ground or in raised beds. There are pros and cons to both. Personally, I love raised beds. A raised bed is usually placed on top of existing soil or whatever surface you have in your yard. They are easy to maintain and look great. A raised bed also gives you more control over your soil and has better drainage. However they can be expensive when getting started and also need to be watered more due to the drainage, so make the best choice for you.

Understand Your Climate and Research What to Grow

Choosing productive plants that are easy to grow is a great option for first time gardeners. It is also important to be aware of growing seasons and what grows well in your climate. It may seem obvious, but plant what you eat. Think about the things you buy most at the supermarket and plant those. ​​Growing what your family loves to eat is an excellent place to start.


​​The soil you use in your garden beds will have a direct effect on whether your vegetables thrive. It can be tempting to go and buy cheap bags of soil to save money but please don't. Buying good quality soil full of organic matter is an investment into the future of your garden. A good option is to locate a local soil provider and order from them. Most places will have an organic soil mix specific for vegetable gardening - get that. If that is not doable for you then you can buy bags of high quality organic soil and a few bags of compost and sheep manure.

Plant for Pollinators

Planting flowers and herbs that will attract pollinators and beneficial insects will help with creating a thriving ecosystem and help with pollination in the garden, not to mention add beauty.  

 Enjoy the Journey and Don’t let Failure Discourage You

You will not have a perfect run. There will be high highs and low lows but it’s okay. Gardening is all about learning from experience and soldiering on. Some of the greatest lessons you will learn about growing will come from the most epic failures. The main thing is that you just keep on going and commit to enjoying the journey.

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