Spring is here, and it’s gardening season! I’ve been waiting (not so patiently) all winter long to start my garden. But this year, Covid-19 has made my gardening plans a little more difficult. I know I’m not alone.
Don’t worry, we’ve discovered a few great options for gardening while staying home in self-quarantine to keep safe and grow a great garden.
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Decide what you would like to grow
My basic rule is to never grow anything I don’t like. This means food or flower, nothing goes into my garden that is going to annoy me or we won’t eat.
My family loves tomatoes, and I use this time to grow as many tomatoes as possible. Then, I water bath can them, and use them all year long. I love different kinds of basil, some that you can't buy in the grocery stores. So I grow it in my kitchen window.
But be reasonable with what you plan to grow and make sure it will grow in your area. I live in Maryland and as much as I love them, I can’t grow avocados here. So check your gardening zone before buying your seeds or plants.
Choose the location in your home or yard
Most fruits and vegetables need a lot of sun to grow. So plan your garden space where you can get a minimum of five hours of direct sunlight per day.
Some greens and herbs will grow in partial shade. Use that space for those tender plans, like carrots and basil.
You also want to make sure your garden space is free from hard wind areas, pets, and children. You can’t always control wildlife, but you can place your garden bed in an area where they aren’t as easy to much on your plants.
Don’t forget that you need to be close to a water source so you aren’t dragging a hose to a place where it barely reaches. I had that problem last year in my new house, and I grew so frustrated with the location that I ended up moving the beds this year closer to the house so I can keep a better eye on the beds and not have to haul water out to the area.
Plan your beds or containers.
Once you know what want to plant, you need to choose what type of bed or containers you are going to use. In my garden, all my fruits and vegetables are grown in raised beds or containers because I have dogs. But this means that I need to water more because raised beds dry out more quickly than in-ground beds.
Narrow beds reduce how far you have to reach, and you won’t be tempted to kneel or step into the bed.
I always suggest that you start small and build on to your garden. This way it is a small risk and it won’t take you as much time to tend to it. But don’t overcrowd your beds, your plants won’t grow as well if they don’t have room to spread out or are overshadowed by taller plants.
Lettuce grows great in containers and you can reseed and have new growth all summer long.
Never let seedlings dry out. Water daily.
Invest in basic garden tools
If you are just starting out, you won’t need a lot of garden tools. You will need a shovel, some hand tools, and a sharp pair of clippers for trimming. Get good tools to begin with, cheap tools will just make life harder when they break down.
Choose the right seeds or plants
I love to start my garden from seeds or bulbs. I am always daydreaming all winter long about what new plants I’ll put in my flowerbeds and what new veggies we will try. I like to buy my seeds online. Most seed packets come with basic planting instructions and will tell you how to space them and how tall they will grow.
For some important plants that I depend on, I like to buy live plants. But since I’m stuck at home while we battle Covid-19, I have done all of my garden shopping online.
Young plants need a LOT more care and watching than heartier plants that are older.
Tend to your garden
“Nothing in the ground til after Mother’s Day”
I’ve learned this lesson over and over, and yet I still get over excited and plant when the sun comes out in April. And every year I am frustrated when late snow comes or freeze snuffs out the life of my little green friends.
I’ve learned so much in the gardening groups I belong to, it’s a great way to learn from the pros and to ask questions.
The most important thing to remember about starting a garden is to make sure you are watering when your plants need them. Overwatering is bad, and too dry is worse!
Watch out for bugs and weeds. So daily inspection of your plants is a must!
Enjoy your harvest
Learning how to garden takes time and patience. But once you discover the joy of growing your own food or seeing the beautiful flowers in your garden, you will be hooked! And if it doesn’t work out, you get to try again.. and again.. and again!
Here are a few easy to grow plants for beginners:
Annuals – plants that aren’t likely to return next year.
Perennials– plants that will come back next year
Online Seed Sources
Here are a few of our favorite places to get supplies, seeds, plants, and tools for your garden.
Seed Bank Box – this is a monthly subscription box for the urban gardener. They send out amazing boxes of organic, non-gmo and sometime rare seeds for you to plant in your vegetable garden every month.
Urban Organic Gardener Urban Organic Gardener's Monthly Seed Club is a gardening subscription service for every type of grower. Each month, receive a curated collection of seeds and supplies . Includes everything you need to start the seeds upon arrival.
Use code GROWSOMETHING at checkout to receive a special 10% OFF discount
Urban Leaf- We got all of our basil from Urban Leaf this year and they were so fast to ship and they had a great selection to choose from!