Did you join the gardening craze during your stay-at-home time last year? You’re not alone! Thousands of new gardeners took up the trowel to start growing food and flowers. If you have questions, your local Master Nursery® Garden Center is here to help. When getting started, the top three things to consider for a great garden include:
If you’re growing fruits and veggies, you’ll need at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun for most edibles. Many flowers, especially those that bloom prolifically like roses, dahlias, sunflowers, and zinnias, for instance, also require lots of sun, so choose your garden space wisely. Look at the site several times throughout the day and in different seasons. A space with full sun in early spring may turn pretty shady once the trees leaf out. Make sure that walls, fences, and other objects, like sheds, don’t shade the garden. Of course, you can also grow in shade and part-shade: you’ll just need to pick your plants wisely. (Talk to an expert at your local garden center for recommendations of shade-loving plants.)
Also, take a look at what’s growing near your site. Some plants, like black walnut trees, are allelopathic, meaning that they’re toxic to plants growing nearby. Check the site, too, for trees or shrubs that may compete with your plants for water and nutrients.
Consider placing your garden near a water source. It’s no fun lugging water or dragging hoses across the yard during 90-degree days. And finally, site your garden where you can see it. After all, you want to enjoy the beautiful blooms and tasty treats you grow, so place your garden where you’ll pass by it several times a day. (A nearby garden also helps you quickly notice if something is awry, like an unwelcome visit of a tomato hornworm.)
Just like we feed kids a healthy diet so they’ll grow big and strong, your plants need healthy soil full of nutrients and microorganisms to live up to their potential. Before you plant your first seed or shrub, check your soil. Is it sandy, loamy, or clay? Ask your local Master Nursery® Garden Center about testing your soil pH to see what nutrients are present and what’s missing. We’ve got you covered with our Bumper Crop® products! If you’re building brand new raised beds in the Eastern and Midwestern Regions, take the guesswork out of your soil by filling them with Bumper Crop® Soil Builder. Just fill your beds with Soil Builder, and you’re ready to plant!
Or maybe you want to create a gorgeous garden comprised of containers. Garden soil is too heavy for container planting—frequent watering can cause heavy soil to compact and smother the roots of your plants. You need light weight, nutrient-rich, well-draining potting soil to keep your container-grown babies happy. Bumper Crop® Potting Soil provides the perfect solution for your container garden growing. See the product for your region [Eastern & Midwestern Regions | Western Region].
More than anything, start small. It’s easy to overcommit and buy ALL THE PLANTS. (I mean, really, how can you pick just two or three tomato varieties when there are so many colors, shapes, and sizes?!) A new garden should be a pleasure and a learning experience for the first year, a chance to see what works well—and what might need some tweaking. Too many gardeners start too big too fast, becoming frustrated when the garden consumes their time and patience. Instead, start small—maybe with a few containers, a raised bed, or just a few hydrangeas to get the garden growing. Take notes of what worked well—and what you’d change next year. After all, you can always add beds, dig more garden space, or collect more containers for your garden next year!