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Planting A Garden 101 - A Beginners' Guide

Water Garden

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How to Plant a Garden

With winter nearing an end, it's time to start thinking and planning for a garden again. Beginners may become overwhelmed and not know where exactly to start. Instead of letting this optimum growing season slide by, read this simple yet practical guide to gardening.

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1. Prepare Soil

Before doing anything else, one must prepare the growing medium in which the plants will grow. That includes breaking up the compacted Soil with a shovel and mixing it with some nutrient-rich fertilizer. A larger area of loosened, rich Soil will allow for much larger root space and, therefore, larger plants. Alternatively, as compost, one can use organic matter, such as leaves, branches, and other decaying matter. Those accumulated leaves from the Fall will pay off now. Native grasses work well for weed control.

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2. Put Near Irrigation

For added convenience, one will want a water source close to their garden. If a water source is too far from the garden, one can always go out and purchase a long hose, or you can set up a sprinkler system. One will thank themselves for this preparation when you have to go out to the garden and water every day.

3. Choose Your Plants

Now that the soil is tilled and the irrigation system is set up, it's time to think about the desired plants for the garden. Choose plants that will do well in the particular climate of the garden. That includes determining the plant's favorite sun settings, watering times, and temperature. Find out their bearing and planting times as well.

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4. How to Plant

As soon as one acquires the desired plants for their garden, they'll need to transplant them into the main garden area properly. When transplanting a plant, always make sure not to disturb the roots. Make a hole that's big enough to completely engulf the plant's root structure, leaving an inch or so for extra dirt. Most importantly, give each plant a good watering once transplanted, as this will significantly help reduce the chance of shock.

5. Fertilize

Without the necessary macro and micronutrients, a plant will not thrive to its fullest potential. Some plants like higher nitrogen content in their soil, whereas others prefer more potassium or phosphorous. Primary nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and intermediate: sulfur, magnesium, and calcium. Hint: Wood ashes are rich in both intermediate and micronutrients.

6. Bearing Season

For the most part, most plants tend to give their yield, or fruit, toward the end of the year, usually nearing autumn. However, many plant varieties, including many flowers, bear fruit during summer and sometimes even spring months. Therefore, one needs to research the plants they intend to grow in their garden. Those who live in colder climates may need to look into plants with much earlier bearing seasons, depending on when the first frost hits. On the other hand, some plants can stand up to freezing temperatures with no problem.

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7. Planting Time

Being equally important to bearing Time, one must know the ideal growing season of their garden plants to ensure they thrive. Some plants, such as potatoes, can be grown any time of the year as long as it isn't below freezing, whereas others are susceptible to temperature while in the maturing process. Frost-resistant varieties include chard, lettuce, radishes, kale, and peas. Food crops are generally labeled into two distinct categories: cool season (spring and fall) and warm season (strictly summer). 

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