10 Tips for Starting a Successful Garden

Starting a garden is like constructing a building - it all comes down to the location. Viveka Neveln, the garden editor at BHG and a licensed horticulturist with decades of experience in gardening, has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing for both print and digital media. The size of your garden will depend on your level of experience and interest. Burke suggests that gardens that are too small can be overwhelming to take care of, or can lead to disinterest if the plants don't change enough.

She recommends a minimum of 15 to 25 square feet. For those just starting out, Venelin Dimitrov, Burpee's chief horticulturist, suggests a 20-inch diameter pot (which is just as deep) and a few cucumber or pumpkin seeds. Be sure to follow the instructions on the seed package. If you're looking for a quick return on your garden, focus on plants whose main reward is their leaves, such as lettuce and herbs.

Burke compares this to a race - if the fruits are a marathon, the leaves are a 5K. You'll also get a faster yield, as fruiting occurs later in a plant's life. Before you start, it's important to get to know your garden. Check the orientation - are you facing south or north? Knowing where the sun reaches the ground will help you decide what to grow and where.

It's also worth knowing what type of soil you have. Take a look at what's growing - camellias, magnolias and pieris will tell you that the soil is acidic, while the absence of these suggests a more alkaline soil. Doing a soil test will help you understand your soil and, therefore, what plants you can grow. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to creating a successful garden.

Kara Mareno
Kara Mareno

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