There's nothing better than watching your own bees pollinate your flower and/or vegetable gardens. So if you're new to gardening, or just need a refresher, you'll enjoy our latest guest blog from Emma Croft. Happy gardening and beekeeping! And don't forget about the April 17 meeting at Rushford Meadery and Winery. Fun starts at 9:30 and be ready for club hive inspections!
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Gardening for Beginners: How to Start and Maintain Your First Garden
According to Eartheasy, the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of gardening range from stress relief and immune regulation to a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia. Since vegetable gardening encourages you to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, backyard gardening can also lead to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
While there are many wonderful benefits of starting your own backyard garden, you may not know where to start if you’re new to this type of activity. Here’s how to begin!
Interested in harvesting honey and helping declining bee populations? Join the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association today!
As you get ready to start your first garden, you’ll first need to determine whether you’d like to plant a vegetable or flower garden — or a combination of the two. Some of the best crops for beginner gardeners include lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, onions, and radishes, while several of the easiest flowers to grow include sunflowers, marigolds, impatiens, and sweet peas.
You’ll need to choose a spot in your yard that offers enough sunlight for your garden to flourish. If you’re unsure of your property lines and your budget allows, it’s often worthwhile to hire a property surveyor to identify your property’s boundaries so you can avoid planting on your neighbor’s land.
After planning your garden and deciding which types of flowers and vegetables you’re going to plant, it’s time to purchase your plants and gardening supplies. As a beginner gardener, you’ll need a few basic tools and supplies:
● Hand trowel
● Leaf rake
● Watering can and hose
● Hand pruner
● Garden gloves
● Kneeling cushion
● Home soil test kit (to test your soil before planting)
Once you’ve purchased your gardening supplies and gathered your fruits, vegetables, flowers, and seeds, it’s time to start planting! Your flowers, seeds, and transplants should come with basic planting instructions, but you’ll typically need to dig your garden bed, make holes in the soil for your plants, and space each item at least two to three feet apart. And if you’d like to help ailing bee populations in your area, try to plant flowers that bloom at times when bees need the most help.
When you’re done, water your plants and seeds to help them settle into the soil — and cover the garden bed with a layer of mulch shortly after you finish planting. Mulching your garden helps it to retain moisture and suppress weeds, but it’s important to note that not all mulches are created equal. Straw mulch is an excellent option for vegetable gardens, while composted mulch or manure can be used just about anywhere.
For your plants to grow and flourish, you’ll need to maintain your garden by watering it regularly, weeding it each week, and removing any dried or dead flowers as needed. As a rule, most plants require about an inch or two of water each week during the growing season.
Moreover, it’s usually best to water your garden in the morning if possible, as this will give your plants time to dry before evening. If you’ve been getting a lot of rain in your area or you’re unsure about whether to water your garden, however, simply use your hands to check the soil for moisture. If the soil feels dry and cannot be rolled into a ball, it likely needs to be watered.
Whether you plant vegetables, flowers, or a combination of the two, a backyard garden enhances the look of your yard and improves your overall health and well-being — especially if you take some time out of your week to tend to your garden and give it the care it needs to flourish. However, try not to be discouraged if your first garden isn’t a success. Even if it fails, you can keep on trying until you finally get it right!