How to Start a Garden at Home

start a garden at home

A garden is a fantastic way to take some control over what you feed your family. It can also let you surround yourself and your home with gorgeous flowers. Gardening requires dedication, but the satisfaction of knowing you grew your own food and flowers might outweigh the time and work. You can learn a lot when you start a garden at home. It’s also fun for kids and a great way to spend time together as a family.

You’ll want to keep three phases of work in mind as you’re considering a garden. Read on to learn the steps to start a garden at home.


Preparing to Start a Garden at Home

Before you start planting you need to make sure your spot is ready. Think in terms of your whole outdoor living space. You might work with a landscape architect to choose the ideal location. Make sure the garden complements the look of your home and yard and also provides easy access for you to work in it. A professional designer can help you chose features like a stone path, retaining wall or fountain. You might install seating so that people can relax and enjoy the garden, too. 

Many home gardeners opt to start a raised garden bed. If you choose this option, a retaining wall around the perimeter will keep it in place. Add the topsoil right on top of the existing ground.

Alternatively, till the land by hand or hire someone to do so. This is neither the cheapest nor the easiest option but it’s a good one if you want to plant directly into the ground.

Be sure to mix your garden with organic material like compost and manure. This provides nutrients for the seeds and plants to grow and thrive. Some gardeners find that coffee grounds and used tea leaves enhance plant growth. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, certain restaurants will give you their coffee grounds if you ask. Jennifer Schultz Nelson, an educator with the University of Illinois, advises you to use caution however as the coffee may make the soil too acidic.


Planting Your Garden

Before placing seeds in the ground research the best planting season for that particular specimen. If you plant it too early or too late it could have a huge impact on the success of your garden. You can start some types of plants in pots on a patio or in your sunroom.

Planting time varies across the country due to climate. The U.S. is broken into different zones for planting, as shown in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Consulting this map can help you as you are choosing seeds and plant varieties for your garden. Southwest Ohio is in zone 6.

If you’re planting a variety of fruits and vegetables, it may be helpful to learn a bit about companion planting, which is the act of sowing plants that help each other thrive. Burpee explains companion planting and a list of which plants work well together.

After you plant, cover your topsoil with mulch. This benefits the garden in many ways. Mulch lessens the number of weeds that are able to take root. It holds in moisture so you don’t have to water as often. It also keeps the topsoil from washing away after a heavy rain or watering.


Maintaining Your Garden

Maintaining your garden is a pretty easy task but takes dedication. You must keep up on weeding the garden. Weeds suck the moisture and nutrients right out of the plants you’ve worked so hard to grow. It’s also imperative to water your plants regularly. At minimum, you should water your garden once a week. However, during hot spells, your garden will require more care.

One thing beginners don’t always expect that your garden can become breeding ground for mosquitoes. To avoid getting attacked by biting insects while working in your garden, you may want to add certain plants that naturally repel mosquito them. Rosemary, peppermint, sage, and basil around the perimeter of your garden can drive those pesky bugs away. Welcome animals who help, too. You may dislike spiders and snakes but remember, they do a service to your garden by preying on insects and rodents, respectively.


A garden can provide a learning experience and beautify your home. If you’re new to gardening, you’ll have to exercise patience and watch for signs that things are happening. The first sprout popping up is exciting and rewarding.   


PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain