New to Gardening?

News for Novice and Experienced Gardeners

raised garden beds

As a new gardener it is easy to get out and begin planting everything as soon as you can.  This is a novice mistake.  Gardens take a bit of planning.

First you need to know:

  • what area of the country you are in and when the last frost will be.
  • You need to know where you will be planting, in direct sun, partial shade or total shade?
  • What will you be planting?  Vegetables, herbs, and/or flowers?


All plants need a different amount of soil, space and water.  So it is best to plant by soil type and not by vegetables, flowers and herbs.  I find that growing herbs in pots around my deck is easier and very pretty!

So here are a few tips to get you started and on the right path.

  • Determine what Planting Area you Live In –  Here is the link to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.  Just put in your zip code and it will tell you what zone you are in and the best time to start planting!

I live in Wisconsin, so I am in zone 5a.  No matter what a map tells me, I am well aware of some surprise freezing weather through May.  You know your area best, just keep that in mind.  The map is a guide.  I usually won’t plant seedlings and plants until Memorial Day.  I have tried the “rule of thumb” to plant after Mother’s Day, but needed to bring in buckets and pots into the garage to keep them safe.

  • Look at the planting directions on each plant you purchase.  They will usually tell you what type of sun, shade, soil and area needed between other plants.  This is important so you don’t plant to close and have your plants choke each other out.

Plant like plants together.  Of course if your yard is full sun, that is what you need to plan for.  Next put plants that need the same amount of water together.  Some plants need a lot of water (tomatoes) and others need only occasional watering (spinich).

Don’t plant towering plants like tomatoes in front of smaller plants like carrots, lettuce, etc.  The taller tomatoes will block the sun from the smaller plants.

Consider raised gardens so you can plant all short plants together and taller ones together.

  • Put down newspaper around seedlings and follow up with mulch as soon as you plant them.  This will help ward off most of the weeds.

Some plants attract unwanted pests more than  others.  A quick browsing of your plant name should bring you some idea of what pests it attracts.

I believe in dealing with pests in a natural, non-chemical manner.  See my blog on Mosquito Repelling Plants.

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