New and Beginner Gardeners – Starting Small

Beginner Gardeners Always Start Small

New and Beginner gardeners is a series I just started for those ready to take the plunge and get their hands in the dirt.  Let’s clarify the difference between new and beginner.

New gardeners are the ones who are ready to start the process of raising their own food.  You’re eager to learn but not sure where to begin.  My first tip for you is to start small, maybe one or two raised beds and simply grow what you love to eat.

Beginner gardeners have already started the process; you’re in the early stages of learning and most likely enjoying the results and ready to expand their space.

I’ve also met beginners who are frustrated and feel like failures because they didn’t experience the results they had dreamed.

Have you heard the expression, “I don’t have a green thumb?” I hear it a lot.  Most times what this really means is “life happened” or the garden was forgotten shortly after it was planted.  Life happens and I’m here to tell you I’ve been there.   Believe it or not I was once a young mom with two busy kiddos.

Life was happening on a daily basis; I even had days when lunch was served while wearing my pajamas because there was no time to change.

My kids are 20 months apart and when they were little life was busy; we were always together and we homeschooled, so I completely understand the meaning of life happening. If you have small children and the garden is an avenue you want to achieve I recommend including the kids in the process.

This is what my grandma did with me when I visited her and even though I might not have always enjoyed it those memories are still a huge part of my life.

Start Small Speaks Volume

Starting small speaks volume!  Even if you have an acre of land and you’re a first time gardener I still say start small.  This step allows you to learn how to use space correctly.  You’re forced to focus on planting food you want to eat because there’s limited space.

When you start small there is less opportunity to become overwhelmed.  Small gardens will give you the hours needed for weeding and feeding the soil, these chores never end and it’s better to accept that now because a garden with no weeding isn’t realistic.

I know there are many that will tell you otherwise, but if you’re feeding the soil correctly with a combination of natural elements which is really important, then weeds will show up.

However if you build your raised beds higher it’s easier to tackle those weeds.  I understand many will disagree and that’s okay, I’m just speaking from real experience.  Weeds have their place; they’re not the Gardner’s enemy.  The process of gardening is blended through one word, “Nurturing” and not forgetting the steps.

Additional Advantage to Starting Small

Let’s say your goal is to establish 2 raised beds.  You’ll need minimal equipment to accomplish this goal.  Build your own bed frames to save money like I did: Building Raised Beds.  You can also establish a raised bed by stacking landscaping timbers.

Make sure you find some good hand tools, don’t skimp and don’t buy plastic, spend a little more because you’ll have them for years. Hand tools are perfect for raised beds and helpful for weeding after a good rain.

You’ll also need a good shovel, a hoe and don’t forget the garden gloves.  Most important before I completely forget – get a hat – gardening is more fun when you wear a hat that fits your personality. That goes for guys too!

First Assignment – Establish where your raised beds will go and get building.  Make sure this area receives plenty of sunshine with the opportunity for a little shade, depending on your summer temperatures remember all plants like a little break from the hot sun.

If you finish this assignment then go ahead and move forward with establishing your soil.  Now let these beds rest and wait for my next post we’ll be talking soil.  Little tip this is the most important part of the gardening process.

14 comments

  1. daisy g says:

    You are always so encouraging to beginners. I love that. I love your gardening tools-makes them easy to spot with the bright orange handles. You're invited to share this wonderful outdoor post on The Maple Hill Hop! Happy digging!

  2. I love it!! I always feel like I need to jump into anything new at 100, when I should really start at like 20. I can't wait to get moved (city still in question) and start a little garden. 🙂 I found you on the #SHINEbloghop

    1. I can relate – at some point I'm going to have to share my big dream garden that turned into a flop, which taught me many lessons as well. This was several years ago and my kids were little. Good luck the move and thanks for stopping by to share. Always fun to meet others! -Carole

  3. Echo A says:

    This is an amazing post for beginning gardeners! I can't wait to start our little garden this year!

    Thank you for sharing on the #SHINEBlogHop!

  4. MariaS says:

    I have a small area of my yard that I would love to plant flowers but it is full of grass, that Bermuda grass that spreads like a wild fire. I've been out there pulling and digging it up as much as possible but it always seems to come back.

    1. Bermuda is a pain. get a tiller if you can and pull out the chunks of grass. You can dump these chunks in a bare spot elsewhere. Establish some kind of rock border, you could also use timbers. Then dig a small trench to help keep the grass from coming through and over border. I will have to do a blog post on this later so I can show visually what I'm talking about. Heavy mulch in your bed will also keep the Bermuda down. A small tiller would be a good investment for helping to keep the Bermuda out of your beds. It's easiest to tackle this grass when the soil is damp. Hope that helps.
      -Carole

  5. Stoney Acres says:

    I so agree with you. Over the years as I have taught others to garden I have found it's the ones that start out with a small manageable garden that end of sticking with it and being successful!! Thanks for joining the From the Farm Hop this week! Rick

  6. Patti Estep says:

    Great advice. Starting small is manageable so that you are not easy overwhelmed. It's easy to get discouraged. I also like to tell people to be patient and realize that many many times it may not be your fault that something did not work. Most gardeners I know have plants that die on a regular basis, including me. Don't sweat it and get back on that horse. 🙂

  7. Patti Estep says:

    Great advice. Starting small is manageable so that you are not easy overwhelmed. It's easy to get discouraged. I also like to tell people to be patient and realize that many many times it may not be your fault that something did not work. Most gardeners I know have plants that die on a regular basis, including me. Don't sweat it and get back on that horse. 🙂

  8. Rue says:

    I had a garden about 5 years ago at my last house and wanted to start another one here, so I got a little carried away with the seed ordering LOL This was a good reminder. Thank you 🙂

  9. Kim says:

    I don't have a green thumb and I had given up, but I want to garden, so I love your post! I am starting over and starting small. Going to give it another try! 🙂

    1. I love that you're not giving up – please use me as a resource – I'd love to help anyway I can. 🙂
      -Carole

  10. Thanks for sharing your last past at Fabulous Friday Party on beginners gardeners, hope to see you again at this week party
    Maria
    http://www.simplenaturedecorblog.com/fabulous-friday-party-25/

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