What is Gardening?

When you google this question, there are quite a few definitions, all meaning the same thing. Simply put, Gardening is the art and science of growing plants; fruits, veggies, flowers, trees, etc. People choose to take up gardening for many reasons, to grow their own food, to cultivate their land, perhaps to nurture something, to offset grocery costs, and for the beauty of it. Of course, there are many reasons as to why someone would want to start gardening, these are just a few examples. You may consider yourself to be a “black thumb”, but I’m here to tell you that you CAN success-fully grow a garden! Yes, you will kill a few plants along the way, but the more you learn, the more you grow, and the better you’ll be able to keep those plants alive!

Male flower on a Pumpkin Plant.

Your growing Zone is based on your area’s lowest and highest temperatures. Not all plants grow in all places. So, before you purchase seeds or plant starts, make sure they’ll grow in your zone. To find your Growing Zone, simply do a quick Google Search with your zip-code.

USA Growing Zone Map

Seed Starting With the Kiddos!

Anyone can grow their own food, and I encourage you to grow something that interests you. When you’re interested in what you’re growing, you’re more likely to take care of it and get a harvest from whatever you’re growing! With my encouragement comes some real life experience; Grow what you’re actually going to eat. If you don’t eat Tomatoes, don’t grow them. If you eat a lot of bananas, try growing a few banana plants. No matter what you decide to grow, research the plant, figure out what it needs and ensure that it will grow in your zone.

gardening harvest basket
Harvest Basket – Gardening

Getting Started

When starting your garden you’re going to need seeds or plants, of course, seed starting trays or pots, a soil blocker, or containers to start seeds in, and/or hold your plants. Having garden tags, or something that “labels” your pot or tray will help you to remember what you’ve planted. 

You’re also going to need soil. Not only do you need a good quality potting mix, or a seed starting mix, you’ll need garden soil if you plan on having raised beds or in-ground beds. Your plants need good soil to grow. High in nutrients, minerals and vitamins. When growing in containers, you can grow with bagged potting soil with fertilizer mixed in.

But if you’re wanting to learn about soil structure and compost and how it affects your plants, I encourage you to do your research, and to start your own compost pile. Composting takes time, and some hands-on work, but it is definitely worth it, and your plants will thank you for it. You can grow a garden in containers on your porch, in raised beds in your yard, even directly in the ground. 

Pok Choy and Garlic are great companion plants.

Each method or style of gardening has its benefits and its drawbacks. There are plants with shallow roots, like Lettuce, Cabbage, Kale and Spinach, that will grow and thrive in shallow containers with little sun. Then there are plants in the Nightshade family like Tomatoes and Peppers, that grow vigorous roots and need a much deeper growing space. Understanding what your plants need to grow and survive, will help you to keep them alive, and get the results you’re looking for; whether it be beautiful flowers, or fruits and veggies to harvest and eat.

Do you need a greenhouse to start seeds in? No. You don’t. Although greenhouses are helpful, and cool looking, they are required in gardening. You can start seeds indoors or outdoors. If you have a long growing season, you can start your seeds outdoors, a bonus for this is that when it’s time to transplant, you won’t need to harden your seedlings off because they grew outside all along. 

Learn about Container Gardening, Raised Bed Gardening, and In-ground Gardening.