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Gardening–Getting Started

If you are wanting to get your garden started, now is the time! 

First things first: you need to till up the dirt.  If you don’t have a garden area yet, pick a nice sunny spot in the yard.  Your garden will need full sunshine.  If you do have a current garden you’ll want to add some fertilizer.  You can get fancy and have your soil tested (contact your local extension office about this) or just throw on some 5-5-5 or 10-10-10.  What we do is use chicken or horse manure.  It’s best to put that on in the fall, till it in then and let it sit for the winter. But if you didn’t get to it last fall go ahead and put a small amount on now – too much and you might ‘burn’ your plants.

Some horse boarders take their horse manure and mix it with compost or dirt and sell it that way.  That stuff is pretty dang good fertilizer so if you can get your hands on some of that I recommend it!  Otherwise just go to your local store and buy some fertilizer from them.

A bit of advice: if you’re wanting to plant your first garden but aren’t sure if you’ll like doing it, start with a small plot. Don’t go tilling up your whole yard only to have to reseed it with grass next year.  Start small, you can always make it bigger next year.


Once your garden is all tilled and ready to go it’s time to plant!  There’s an old wives tale about planting your cold weather veggies on Good Friday (which is this Friday).  Those include peas, onions, radishes, lettuce, and potatoes, to name a few.  I don’t usually get mine planted ON Good Friday, but AROUND it by a few days to a week. 

I was asked what some easy plants to grow are for a first time gardener.  I haven’t found a plant that’s hard to grow, honestly, but I’d say grow what you like to eat.  We usually call our garden a ‘Salsa Garden’, because we plant everything we need to make salsa.  Tomatoes, green and jalapeno peppers, onions and cilantro.  All of those are easy to grow.  You buy the tomato, pepper and cilantro plants from a greenhouse/Wal-Mart/Home improvement center garden center.  The onions you buy as ‘sets’ or ‘onion plants’ at the same places.  The difference between onion ‘sets’ and ‘plants’ are that the ‘plants’ are already growing with a green stem on top.  I’m trying those this year because I’ve not had the best of luck with my sets growing big onions the past few years.  My mom doesn’t seem to have that problem so just get whatever you feel comfortable with. 

Aside from salsa ingredients, peas, radishes, leaf lettuce, green beans and potatoes are all easy to grow as well.  You can buy seed packets at the above mentioned stores, or can order them online from a good seed company, such as Henry Fields or Gurneys. 

If you have rabbits around, like we do, you’ll want to put up a small fence around your garden.  We use chicken wire and little posts, they do the trick for the rabbits.  If you have deer to contend with, you’ll need something higher and sturdier.  You might also have problems with birds pecking off plants, you can put pinwheels out to scare them off, or tin foil pie plates tied to posts that blow in the wind and scare them off, too.  You can find some clever ideas online, do a little googling and see what you can find. 

I hope this was enough basic info to get you started with planning out your garden.  I’ll do another post when I plant to show you how I do that.  We got an inch or so of rain this weekend so it’ll take a few days for the garden to dry out enough for me to get in there and plant.  But when I do I’ll be planting onions, carrots and potatoes to start.  I’m taking the year off from radishes and leaf lettuce because it seems to go to waste every year.  After the threat of frost is gone I’ll go pick up my tomato and pepper plants, along with some basil and cilantro.  That’ll be another post.  And if you are wanting to plant tomato and peppers start saving milk jugs or coffee containers (the big ones) now for putting around your plants to protect them. 

Any questions??

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the big ‘Get Fit For Summer’ giveaway!!


Happy planting!



  1. Thank you so much for this. Adam and I tried gardening a year or so ago and it was no bueno but I think we tried to put too many different things in one small spot. I want to be a gardner but I haven't done so well. I think I am going to love this series of yours.

  2. Gah...we just got another 3 inches of snow. My attempts at Green Thumbing it at our new place will have to wait!!

  3. Please come and be my personal gardener?

  4. I will be looking for a jar of salsa in my mail box this summer!

  5. I tried to plant basil and mint (in pots) once and they both died. Apparently it is virtually impossible to kill mint but I managed. I wish I had a backyard to plant a garden because I totally would attempt it.

  6. Wow!!! You know so much!!! I am totally not a gardener, but it's so cool to hear about other people's.

  7. I wish we had room for a garden :(
    Thankfully my mom has an AMAZING garden and she shares her produce. There's nothing like a fresh tomato right off the vine.

  8. I have difficulties keeping artificial plants alive, there is no way I'd manage an entire garden. I wish I had half your green thumb!