Best All Zone Gardening Advice

Get the best easy to understand all zone garden advice to begin your growing space.

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Across the board almost all gardening advice and tips are the same regardless of where you live.

The two main things that will change your experience include zones and soil types.

I’ve covered soil types in various articles here on the blog and in my book Startle Garden Now.  Soil is a topic I’m passionate about because this is where gardening begins.


For me, I learned a lot about dirt in my grandma’s backyard.  I was young and assumed everybody across the planet was gardening in loamy soil.


As life marched on, Robert and I purchased our first home in Everett, Washington.  I was 30 and this is where I grew my first garden.

To begin, all I had to do was grab a shovel and dig.

In one season I added 5 planting areas using that same shovel.

The soil was amazing, we grew awesome vegetables, herbs and flowers and it was a breeze to move forward.


Nine months after living in that house an opportunity to move back to Texas surfaced and we jumped on it.

Robert found us a beautiful new home and made sure it came with a huge backyard.  I had dreams of gardening on a large scale and agreed this particular lot was perfect.

Ready to dive in, I remember breaking that same shovel while digging.

At that moment I was introduced to clay and quickly realized I had a lot to learn about gardening in this new climate.


This was year 2000, we didn’t have a computer and I couldn’t call my grandma because dementia was slipping her away.

The moral of the story is, I had to figure it out…


Priority #1 Included Getting Back to Basics.

I took what I learned from grandma, utilized the library to study my new zone and things eventually came together.


Gardening is an ongoing learning experience and that’s what I love most about it.

We learn as we go and, in the process, we grow…


My garden style back then was very different than how I garden today.

It’s actually less work because I realized it was faster to amend soil in raised beds.

So, when I look back, I’m thankful for all those years of learning because it’s brought me to where I am today.


To Begin, Focus on Your Planting Zone

To begin focus on your planting zone and discover your soil type.

I highly recommend my book, Startle Garden Now because I’ve placed this activity in simple steps using smaller and taller raised beds that are easy to maintain.

Read the reviews and discover more here.


Then, focus on your planting zone to discover what you can grow in your area.

If you’re in a hurry to learn, move forward by using the information on the back of seed packets.  Some are more helpful than others but most will bullet point basic details to help you begin.

Where ever you live, the information on these packets and plant tags will help you understand your zone.

What Change for Each Zone Includes:

  • What you can plant
  • Hours of sunlight
  • When to plant
  • When to harvest.

So, let’s chat about those 4 areas because I know you’ll find my simple way of viewing each one to be refreshing.


Get More From Garden Up Green – View our Books here


What you can Plant?

Everybody has their own idea of what should grow in a garden.  Most automatically connect gardening with food.

For many of us, gardening goes beyond what you can grow to eat.

Some enjoy growing plants like herbs and fresh cut flowers where others prefer a variety of perennial gardens.


The first thing you need to decide is, “What kind of garden do you want to grow?”

Decide which plants to grow and grab my free planner here.

This handy planner includes seasonal planting tips and additional printable pages for taking notes.


Plant selections will be based on your zone, which will require additional research to narrow down.

This won’t require a lot of time because remember you can quickly find that information on seed packets.


Selecting Hours of Sunlight

Hours of sunlight is very important and allows for a little investigation.

  • Make sure you can provide the proper lighting for the plants you want to grow.

Once you have a list together the next step will be to evaluate required lighting.

Again this information will be on the back of seed packets or included on a plastic stick with plant purchases.

You may also enjoy this read, matching plants to hours of sunlight.  It’s loaded with helpful details for spring and fall gardening.


When you will Plant

When it’s time to plant will depend on the last freeze date.

This will vary across the country and you can visit the Old Farmer’s Almanac to find those results.

I actually track the local weather to stay on target with that date because as we all know weather changes.



Harvesting details will also be on the back of seed packets.

This information is simple by stating how many days it takes for plants to mature from germination.

Calculate to find the date, then record using the free garden planner.


So, if You’re Following What I’m Saying use this Checklist:

  1. New or seasoned gardeners who want an easy to maintain garden, Get my book, Startle Garden Now.
  2. Write down what you want to grow and make sure you can provide correct hours of sunlight.
  3. Uncover your last freeze date and write it down as this will impact planting.
  4. Then calculate germination to maturity to estimate when harvesting begins.


Starting a garden in any zone doesn’t have to be difficult.  It’s important to understand that gardening isn’t an overnight success activity.

It can take years to figure things out especially if you move around a lot like I have.

But it’s not impossible to comprehend, especially if you have a desire to grow.

The best all zone gardening advice begins with wanting to learn so you can grow what your heart desires.


Thanks for joining me today

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

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  1. Jemma says:

    Good Morning Carole,
    Stopping by to say Hi! Such excellent gardening tips and who knew that raised beds would be such a lifesaver and insure quality gardening results…
    I sort of fought that way of gardening because it wasn’t in alignment with my notion of true gardening, boy was I wrong! I am on board and one of my best gardening seasons was last year because of raised beds. Thanks for being such a great gardener and keep us all in the loop of best gardening practices.

    1. Carole West says:

      Hello Jemma, You know I fought them too when we were at our farm because the first two years everything was open field gardening. After our first drought was when I realized things needed to change. Glad you tried them and when the time comes I’ll give you another raised bed tip for large scale flower growing that is often overlooked.
      Hugs, Carole

  2. Deborah D Andrews says:

    I, too, have struggled for years trying to grow a garden due to all the sandy soil in my garden. Then one year we had to cut down an oak tree and I had an abundance of logs. I laid those out in the shape of a raised bed, filled them with compost and had the best garden ever. Those logs have since become compost themselves and the raised beds have evolved into taller and easier to reach beds. Not so much bending over now. We scrounge for anything organic to fill them up with and I just put my second compost bin in this morning using HT wooden pallets.

    I have recently become a mentor to a budding gardener and I’m so excited for her. She’s eager to learn and having a blast.

    Thanks for the blog post, good luck on the sale of your first property.

    1. Carole West says:

      We eventually plan to move where sandy soil is in abundance and I’m looking forward to it. Love using logs in the garden such a great dual purpose material. You also nailed it with the taller raised beds – I like how they’re easier to maintain. Search on the blog, direct compost. This keeps me from having a compost bin, was something my grandma taught me and it’s such a gem tip. Glad you enjoyed this piece and keep having fun while you mentor.

  3. Patti says:

    This such great advice. My youngest daughter just told me that she is considering growing a garden in the yard of her house where she rents the second floor. I started talking about some of the basics with her and immediately overwhelmed her. Then I said, Just buy some zucchini transplants in May. They are so easy to grow and I’m hoping will give enjoy practice and confidence to learn more. I’ll have to lend her your Startle Garden book too. I will be a big help.

    1. Carole West says:

      Thanks Patti – I’m finding helping new gardeners can be difficult, starting with a zucchini plant is the perfect way to go. In my floral shop days, a co-worker loaded her apartment deck with planters and also grew lettuce among other things. Shes started with plants the first year then later ventured to seeds. I was amazed at all she grew on her deck. She would come to work so excited to share her accomplishments, it was neat and inspired me but I stuck with flowers.
      Thanks for sharing my book with your daughter, I hope she finds it helpful. Hugs, Carole

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