This is it. This is the year you finally start a garden! Sure, maybe you've dabbled with a few succulents or Monsteras in the past, but now you're truly ready to start a beginner's garden.
To help you on your journey, we've compiled a list of easy steps and best gardening tips for anyone who considers themselves a newbie gardener. Take notes, try everything, and remember that it's ok to lose a few tomatoes along the way.
Ready to start a garden? Use the links below to begin your journey.
Although skilled plant enthusiasts develop their own unique methods for generating abundant crops, you’ll need to learn how to sow seeds before you can harvest. Check out the following 10 steps to help guide you through your first growing season.
Gardening for beginners in 10 easy steps
Want to learn how to grow stuff easily and with less stress? First, learn the basics and build on what you know. To get you started in this process, we’ve developed 10 easy gardening steps for beginner gardeners to follow.
Step #1: Grow your knowledge
If you're reading this article, you're well on your way to completing this first step. Nice work! Like any hobby (or new life calling), you'll need to learn a bit of terminology and a few basic techniques before getting your hands dirty.
For example, if you don't know the difference between annuals, biennials, and perennial plants, you may need to skim through a gardening glossary, plant book, or take an online gardening class before starting your garden.
PRO TIP: Keep reading to discover our favorite books and resources for new gardeners listed further down.
Step #2: Map out your garden's location
Before you fill up your shopping cart with seed packets, it's best to scout out your preferred gardening area. Depending on where you build those raised beds, your sweet corn seeds may not live to see early summer.
The best place to start your garden is…
- Close to a garden hose or other water source. Test your water hose to ensure it reaches over to the far corners of your future vegetable gardens.
- Positioned in optimal sunlight. Depending on which gardening zone you live in, this will affect how much sun you need for your fruits and vegetables to fully mature and ripen.
- Visible from your home. If you can't see your vegetable garden from indoors, you probably won't see any of the curious deer or rabbits sniffing for a taste of it.
- Easy to access. Plan your garden design so that every plant is reachable and easy to weed.
Step #3: Choose plants you'll love to grow!
Once you've mapped out the location of your garden, select plants that will thrive in this dedicated gardening space. If you're a beginner gardener, our best advice is to embrace a small garden. Grow a few plants that you'll love to look at or love to eat!
For example, If you grow a bumper crop of root veggies but rarely cook with beets, these vegetables may end up going to waste. Don’t like eating vegetables? Try your hand at ornamental garden plants.
This may be easier said than done if your neighbor is a master gardener with flower gardens that rival the Gardens of Versailles. But as a new gardener, you'll have plenty of challenges to overcome without tossing hours worth of weeding into the mix. Plus, if a particular plant requires 8 hours of full sun every day and your backyard only gets 4-5 hours of direct sunlight, you may need to reconsider your strategy.
PRO TIP: Seasoned gardeners recommend buying high quality garden seeds for higher-quality plants.
Step #4: Find companions for your plants
If you plan to grow a variety of vegetables in your garden, consider companion planting. Companion planting is a natural way to deter pests, attract beneficial pollinators, and to protect certain vegetables or herbs from too much sun exposure. With companion planting, your garden bed will burst with bright florals, sweet-smelling herbs, and nutritious vegetables.
Planting vegetables next to flowers, herbs or other vegetables will maximize their resilience. For example, plant nasturtiums next to pole beans to deter aphids and bean pest beetles. Carrots enjoy growing next to fragrant sage since it naturally repels carrot rust flies.
PRO TIP: Tomatoes and basil are another popular companion plant pairing. Together, they work especially well in both your garden and in your pasta!
Step #5: Invest in basic garden equipment
It's important to buy the right tools to make for easy gardening.
Here are a few of the basic gardening tools you'll want to invest in as a new gardener and what they're used for:
- Garden gloves: Prevents calluses and dirt underneath your fingernails.
- Garden fork: Airates garden dirt and breaks up compacted soil.
- Stainless steel hand trowel: Transplants seedlings, plant containers, and digs out weeds.
- Spade: Digs holes, transfers dirt, and breaks through tough roots.
- Garden hoe: Pulls out weeds, cuts through dense soil, and digs trenches.
- Pruning shears: Prunes vegetables, roses, fruit trees, and berry bushes.
- Watering hose: Waters plants on hot summer days.
- Wheelbarrow: Transfers dead organic matter, shredded leaves, and weeds to your compost or green bin.
PRO TIP: Buy stainless steel garden tools whenever possible. Although plastic may be cheaper today, stainless steel tools will work years after your plastic rake crumbles apart.
Step #6: Build your beds
Although it takes a little effort to assemble, a raised bed is a great option for any novice gardener who can operate a hammer and nails. A raised garden bed is an elevated, above-ground planting system contained within a sturdy frame. Typically made from wooden boards, a raised garden bed:
- Discourages weeds
- Offers more growing space than below-ground gardens
- Regulates moisture better
- Provides more warmth for growing plants
- Deters certain pests
There are many different materials and methods for building raised beds. Decide whether you'd like to follow step-by-step instructions on how to build a raised bed or if you prefer to generate your own ideas based on other innovative garden bed ideas.
PRO TIP: Use trellises in your raised bed for a touch of vertical gardening. Cucumbers, beans, morning glory, and ivy will happily climb up from their horizontal bedside.
Step #7: Create healthy soil for your plants
Like people, each plant has a preference on how it would like to be treated. That means, you'll need to test your soil to get an idea of whether or not it's suitable for the flowers and vegetables you plan to grow. Your soil may be too acidic or alkaline for vegetables that prefer their soil at a neutral pH level.
If it's not-don't worry! You can still set your garden up for success with soil amendments. Soil amendments are "any materials that can be added to soil to improve its physical properties." Common soil amendments include compost, manure, wood ash, and grass clippings. A soil amendment is chosen based on what your soil needs more or less of to grow healthy plants.
A good all-around soil amendment to mix in with your garden soil is homemade compost. Unfortunately, this can take months to create if you're new to gardening. Our secret? Lomi. A Lomi electric composter creates nutrient-rich dirt that can be mixed in with your garden soil. Because Lomi takes less than 24 hours to create nutritious dirt from food waste, it's a beginner gardener's best friend. Discover Lomi today.
PRO TIP: Need a gift for a fellow newbie gardener? Lomi is the perfect gift for beginner gardeners.
Step #8: Plant your garden
Once your garden beds and soil are ready to go, it's time to start planting those flowers and veggies!
Your planting techniques may differ depending on if you're sowing seeds or seedlings. If you're not sure what the difference is between seedlings and seed packets, here are the details to get you started:
- Seed packets are usually cheaper than seedlings but will take longer to grow once they're planted. Some plants may require a full growing season before they can be harvested, so seeds work well to start these plants.
- Seedlings are more expensive than seed packets but will jump start a garden space as soon as they're planted. This is especially nice if you live in a cooler climate where the growing season does not last as long between the last frost date and the first frost date.
Whichever you decide, take care to plant into moist soil with well planned out garden rows. Check your individual seed packets for guidelines on how deep and how far apart each flower or vegetable needs to be from one another. Knowing how deep to plant seeds also benefits indoor gardeners.
PRO TIP: If you have egg cartons, potting mix, and heat lamps, you can start growing seeds indoors before spring arrives.
Step #9: Develop a garden care routine
Now that your seeds are in the ground, the real work begins! As a new gardener, it may be hard to remember weekly garden chores such as weeding and watering.
To help you get in the rhythm of it, try setting an alarm or calendar notification on your phone. There are also plenty of planting apps available that can be used to set up a care calendar for each individual plant.
PRO TIP: Gardening’s more fun when you have a buddy! Ask a close friend, neighbor, or partner if they'd like to share the daily planting responsibilities with you. (They can also help you eat your delicious veggies at harvest time!)
Step #10: Enjoy your harvest
Whether you choose to grow flowers, vegetables, fruits, or foliage, take time to enjoy the fruits of your effort!
Spend time sniffing your flowers or watching the bees pollinate your marigolds. Harvest your delicious greens and share extras with your neighbors. Watch your bell peppers grow and record your findings in a garden journal.
If you have leftover produce, add it to your compost for the next cycle of crops. Harvest time goes by fast and it won't be long before it’s time to work on next year's garden strategy!
PRO TIP: Even if your plants die before harvest time, remember that making mistakes is the best way to learn how to garden.
6 best plants for beginner gardeners
Now that you've learned all the steps involved in beginner gardening, it's time to visit your local garden center! Remember that all seeds and young plants will require a bit of effort to grow. However, there are a few varieties that adapt better to new soil than other plants. Let's take a look.
- Lettuces and leafy greens: Lettuce, kale, spinach, chard, and collard greens are more tolerant to low temperatures and moderate light than other vegetables. Plant your leafy green seeds in the early spring or early fall to enjoy nourishing salads throughout the growing season.
- Beans: Beans grow fast as long as you plant them in a sunny spot, water them regularly, and nourish their soil with organic matter. Pole beans require a trellis or fence to grow upright whereas bush beans spread out around your growing space.
- Herbs: Herbs like basil, mint, oregano or sage are perfect for vegetable gardening or indoor gardens. If you're new to indoor gardening, a hydroponic growing system like the Farmstand from Lettuce Grow makes home gardening for beginners a breeze.
- Ferns: Ferns are perfectly happy growing in the shade. If you have a particular area of your garden that doesn't receive much sun, plant this low-maintenance foliage in that space. Enjoy its ornamental texture and lush green coloring around your yard.
- Root vegetables: Root vegetables like carrots and beets thrive in well-draining, loose, sandy soil. Because they grow underground, they tend to have less pest problems than above ground plants.
- Berries: There's a reason why berries can be found growing in the wild. With the right balance of shade and sunlight, berries will treat you with an abundant stream of sweet summer fruit. Raspberries, strawberries and blackberries are some of the easiest fruits to grow.
Now that you've learned which vegetables are best to start gardening with, check out our list of incredible garden resources below.
Top 7 gardening books and resources for beginners
Whether you prefer to read about garden plants or use nutrient-rich Lomi soil for plant fertilizer, check out these incredible beginner garden resources for easy gardening.
- Square Foot Gardening 3rd Edition Book: Mel Bartholomew, the pioneer of square foot gardening, shares his easy 3-step process for a successful beginner garden. This is one of the best gardening books for beginners and it's especially helpful for anyone with limited garden space.
- Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: Learn tips and tricks for successful vegetable gardening. This beginner's guide teaches you how to design garden plans, collect seeds, and grow a new vegetable garden with all the nourishment your plants require.
- Lomi Electronic Kitchen Composter: Good news! If you're a beginner indoor gardener, you don't have to deal with smelly compost. Lomi makes composting easy since it turns your food scraps into nutrient rich plant fertilizer within 24 hours.
- Moon & Garden App: Planting your garden by the moon's phases is a biodynamic gardening principle used to optimize plant growth. The Moon & Garden app teaches you exactly what to plant and when based on the monthly moon growing cycle.
- Printable companion planting guide: New gardeners will benefit from this simple companion gardening spreadsheet. Print it out and use it to start your own garden plan.
- The Complete Guide to Indoor Gardening for Beginners: If you'd like to start a beginner's indoor garden, this helpful article walks you through all the techniques, plant types, and tips for successful indoor planting.
- What's Wrong With My Plant and How Do I Fix It?: If you've already endured a full season of growing different plants, this book explains why some of your plants may have died too early. Spend time looking through this book so you don't make the same mistakes twice.
Try Lomi: turn your kitchen waste into unlimited dirt for your garden
As you begin to cultivate your green thumb, be patient with yourself and your new garden. There will be plenty of mistakes to learn from as you navigate the annual growing season. Remind yourself that it's natural and even seasoned gardeners lose a handful of their veggies or foliage every year.
Keep in mind that one of the best ways to grow strong plants is to feed them nourishing plant food. That's why Lomi is a beginner gardener's best friend.
Lomi is an innovative gardening tool that transforms fresh produce scraps into nutrient-rich dirt for plants. Once your vegetable garden is ripe for the picking, toss your carrot tops and onion peels into this holistic kitchen appliance. Your fresh food scraps can then return to the earth in a matter of a few hours. You may even find that Lomi is the perfect gift for a mom who loves to garden and an incredible gift for an indoor gardener.
You may have to wait for your plants to grow but you don't have to wait to check out Lomi! Read Lomi reviews from gardeners who can't get enough of this powerful kitchen appliance.
Written by: Anna Buck