I’m not an expert gardener, but no rookie either. I just want to share my experience in hopes it is helpful to other people out there.
Gardening can be as serious or fun as you want it to be. Just follow my following tips to make it a pleasant experience.
Be realistic when choosing what to do and what to plant. Plants, like any other living organism, need time and dedication. Based on how you rate yourself on those you’ll be able to choose what to do.
If you barely have time, don’t try a project too big, or a plant to hard to grow. It’ll only lead to bad experiences and frustration.
Start small, try a small pot with something easy to grow like tomatoes for example. If you don’t have time, buy an already grown plant. Most garden stores have those. It’ll save lots of work and allow you to enjoy the benefits.
For me part of the fun is planting it from seed and watching it grow, some might not have time for that or will fall in love with that in the process. Watching and caring for your plant is both relaxing and rewarding experience.
Know your area
At least here in the U.S. we have different hardiness zones (I’m sure there are equivalents anywhere in the world) . Those are really helpful on determining what and when to plant on each area.
You can get to the interactive map here.
Even better, if you have an university in the state that specializes in agriculture, you could find even more detailed information about what and when to plant. Some might even have plants that have been shown to work on your local area. Use those resources. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
The main thing is not trying to plant the wrong plant in the wrong place and/or at the wrong time.
Look for seed libraries nearby. They usually contain seeds for plants that do well in your area and the seeds are free. You just check out some seeds, plant them and return seeds from your harvest!
Know your plan
Once you move from a pot into bigger spaces like a garden bed or the backyard, planning turns into a big important thing. Especially if you plan on planting year round you need to learn and plan crop rotation. This can get very convoluted, but take advantage of the research already out there.
Don’t try to plan too much. Start small and expand as you find success.
Of course, learn what to do with your harvest. You’ll need to clean and cook with fresh produce, assuming you planted/harvested enough.
Know your limits
Gardening, specially in bigger scale, would need a budget. Seeds, gardening beds, dirt, fertilizer, etc. can become an economic burden if not planned ahead.
Also the dirt on your backyard might not be the right one. It might be rock that needs removal, which can be costly, or a type of dirt that is not good for planting and needs replacement. Other areas is just perfect that just needs to dig a hole and plant with the same dirt.
Watering is another concern. Depending on your region, amount of rainfall/sun and the plant, you’ll need more or less watering. This can be burdensome and costly if too much is needed. Also some neighborhoods and/or laws could have restrictions on those. So pay close attention to those. They might even prohibit if you can plant at all believe it or not.
No backyard or short in space? Use pots, buckets or if you have the budget hydroponics that don’t require dirt at all. Or even print your own!
Know your family
If you don’t live alone in your home, this is probably something you would like to consult as it can be time and money consuming. On the other side, it is a great activity to enjoy as a family. Especially for kids, it is a very good experience to be close to nature. Touch the plants and the dirt.
Be aware of any four legged members of the family as they might interfere with your garden.
Know your role!
This requires a team. There are many tasks to perform and if you don’t love it as much as some of us do, you’ll stop doing it pretty quick. That’s why I suggest starting small and growing as you see fit or just stopping. That way if you don’t like it, you didn’t expend $100’s on a hobby.
Gardening could be a great and relaxing hobby. Most important of all is that you get a healthy return at the end. It is an experience I suggest everyone to try at least once.
It’s in our nature. Happy gardening!