So in case you haven't seen all of my posts, I have a garden. It's actually two raised garden beds on the one side of the house and containers on the other. A vegetable garden is a wonderful asset to pretty much anyone. Not only are you eating healthier things but it's a great hobby to have.
This is my first year trying my hand at gardening and of course I wanted to give you guys some beginner tips in case you want to do the same. Of course these tips stem from the mistakes I've made.
 Do Your Research
I went ahead and did some googling AS the beds were being made. I felt rushed because it was already spring time. If I had just read a gardening book or two BEFORE I started this, I'd probably have done a lot different. So invest in a few gardening books and read up. Even though several books may have similar information, there's something about reading the same info multiple times that makes it stick.
|We LOVE peppers so a container garden of pepper plants is perfect for our household.|
 Figure Out What You Want
When I started my garden I planted a bunch of things just to see if they'd actually grow. It turned out to be stuff I won't even eat like radishes and beets. Make a list of the vegetables you like and use THAT to determine what you want to grow.
 Learn the Calendar for Your Zone
Each part of the country is a different zone. There are different times to plant different veggies so once again, get a book and read up. This way you can plan things out well in advance.
|While it's not too bad, next year I will make sure to leave more space between certain plants.|
 Be Mindful of Space
For some ridiculous reason I didn't pay attention to spacing. I guess in my mind, the seeds were so tiny that even though it's recommended (on the back of the seed packet) to leave a foot between each seed, I left mere inches. Fast forward a month and there were some MAJOR crowding issues. Leave plenty of space for your vegetables.
|Yup, these butternut squash totes should have been thinner because there are 3 in a row.|
 Don't Be Afraid to Thin
Thin the seedlings, thin the plants.... everyone says to do that. But for some reason, I didn't listen. A lot of my plants were growing practically on top of each other. By the way, thinning the seedlings means that when you plant three seeds in the same spot and they all sprout, after a couple weeks you pull out 2 of them and leave just 1. It seems barbaric to kill what you've just created but it's very necessary. Don't let it feel wasteful or anything.
 Pay Attention to the Sun
Some parts of your yard will get a lot of sun and some will get too little. Knowing what plants need what amount of light is key. Before you create an in-ground garden, raised garden bed, or container garden, make a little "blueprint" of where everything should be based on where the sun is. Ideally, plants need 6 hours (at least) of sunlight a day.
 Know How Much Water Your Garden Needs
If you have containers like I do, they dry out much quicker than in ground gardens, so during times when it doesn't rain, they need watered daily.
 Learn About Natural Pest Repellants
So of course every insect out there will know about your garden, like they all gossip about it or something and then head your way. But there are plenty of ways to control that. There are lots of herbs that deter insects so you can plant them in different spots in your garden. I have sage, mint, and rosemary. Also, birds are fabulous. They eat bugs, duh. So I have several bird feeders in my yard and I've been very appreciative because I notice some of the regular birds swooping into my raised garden beds and grabbing some sort of bug. Also, google what you're not sure of. When my lettuce first came up I saw ants on it, yet none of the leaves were eaten away at. So instead of just trying to spray something around to kill the ants, I looked it up. Apparently, ants feed on aphids so they were simply there to save my lettuce. Nature is so cool sometimes.
So anyways, those are the basic ground rules that I should have followed. Well, some I did follow but I just didn't understand them at first. So hopefully if you plan to start a garden these can help you!