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No matter how long or short of a time you have been gardening, it is a learning process. Once you think you have one part of it down, something else will happen where you need to seek answers to questions you may have, or just need reminders from time to time. Here are some of the most frequently asked gardening questions.
These questions are geared more for beginners, but its great to get reminders on questions you thought you had answers to. You might be the type of gardener who appreciates reminders like the ones below. I know I do!
After reading this list, please let me know what other questions I should add to this that are popular for gardeners!
Where do I Start?
Starting is always the hardest part, and I mean that with just about anything. Doing some online research, asking friends and neighbors who garden, and talking to local gardening specialists at nearby garden centers is a start. They can give you the basics on what you need.
After that, it’s time to jump in and start growing plants! No matter how much research you do, give yourself a learning curve and lots of patience. Gardening requires a ton of patience and grace, since you will make plenty of mistakes.
Enjoy the fun despite the trials and errors you will go through.
How Much Money Should I Spend on My Garden?
It depends on how much money you have to spend on a garden. I like spending as little as possible. I use inexpensive pots and have started planting more seeds this year instead of buying plants.
If you are not sure how much money to spend or how much you should spend, check out my nifty Garden Calculator for more insight.
Are you planning to start plants from seeds, small plants, or mature ones? This can greatly effect the cost, as well as how much you want to spend on supplies. There is no right or wrong way of doing this.
It counts on how much you want to spend and how much you have for your garden budget.
What Type of Plant Should I Start with as a Beginner Gardener?
This is a tough question to answer since there are so many factors to this. Will you be gardening in the ground or in pots? How much sun will your gardening space get?
What is the soil like around your home? What part of the country do you live in?
Definitely do your research, especially if you plan on using a large area for your garden. Ask around about what types of plants others have in their gardens, and even take note on what types of plants you see in other gardens.
What Kind of Pots Should I Use?
The type of pots you should use in your garden counts on what kind of look and design you want to incorporate in your growing space. I love using pots since you can expand your personality and add to the overall design of your garden just by the kinds of pots you use.
I live in an apartment complex, so I can only garden with pots. When I first started in our space, I used cheap pots from the dollar store and other inexpensive pots, such as ones made with terra cotta. I wanted the focus to be on my plants, so I didn’t mind that the pots were not too attractive.
The kind of pots you should use is based on the look you want your outdoor space to have. You also want to consider the cost, since pots can get quite expensive.
Now that I’ve been gardening in our space for a few years, I’ve noticed that I’ve collected pots that are mainly earthy or blue, which blend in nicely with the plants outside.
If you want to decorate a front or back porch area, purchase two of the same pots that show your personality and goes with design in that space. Place one on each side of the door or stairs for a uniformed look.
Some research and planning will also help you determine what kinds of pots to purchase. Have fun mixing and matching your pots and plants!
Which Type of Soil is Best?
This really depends on where you live and if you are gardening in the ground or in pots. Southern California’s soil is heavily clay based, so I would use a soil that would break up the clay so that roots and water can move freely under the ground.
Since my plants are all grown in pots, I mainly use potting soil.
There is a debate on whether synthetic or organic soil is better to use. It really depends on personal preference. Organic soil will be more expensive, but last longer than synthetic soil. If you are just starting out, buy small bags of each to see which one you prefer in the long run.
If you end up growing many of the same kind of plant, such as tropical plants, succulents, or fruit trees, you want to invest in special soil for that plant so that it will grow well for you.
How Much Water do My Plants Need?
This is a tough question to answer, again, since there are so many factors to consider. For example, I can ignore my succulents for a week or more and they will be fine, but I need to water my seedlings and new plants every day or every other day until they settle into their new home.
For larger plants, I generally water less frequently, but when I do water them, I make sure they get plenty of water.
Many make the mistake of watering too frequently. When you do this, you are training your plant roots to stay near the surface, where they don’t grow strong and can easily be damaged.
When you spread out your watering times, make sure your plants get plenty of water. This will train the roots to grow deeply and strong.
You also want to remember that just because the surface soil is dry does not mean the rest of the soil is. Stick your finger in the dirt a few inches to feel if the deeper soil is wet. These instruments work well for this too.
The longer you have your plants, you will be able to tell when they need watering. This also takes plenty of trial and error!
What Types of Plants Should I Grow?
What kinds of plants do you want to grow? What kinds of plants will grow best in your area?
When I started gardening, I began by growing several kinds of herbs. These can grow in small spaces, so I thought they would be great plants to start out with.
Do you love roses? Try growing one. Want to grow your own fruit? Purchase a young tree and watch it thrive under your care.
I live in a desert like climate, and am busy working most days, so many of my plants are succulents. I love that they need little water and care. And there are so many different succulents that are available here!
The type of plants you choose to grow is really personal preference. If you are not sure, buy different types of seeds or a variety of small plants and see which ones you enjoy growing and thriving in your space.
How Do I Design My Garden?
You can design your garden as you add your plants slowly. You can also hire a garden designer to help you as well.
Get to know the layout of your gardening space. Can you add plants in the front, side, and/or back of your property?
Measure out how much space you have, what the soil is like in that area, and how much sun these areas get throughout the year. Having this information can help you plan a design for your garden and pick out plants that will grow best in your space.
Since my garden is completely grown in pots, I like that all I need to do to change things around is to move the pots. It takes very little time and works great for my small space!
How Often Should I Fertilize My Plants?
In general, you should fertilize plants at least once during their growing season. Make sure to always fertilize a wet plant! If you fertilize a dry plant, you run the risk of burning it!
Trust me, I learned this the hard way :(.
You can also follow the directions on the fertilizer package you plan on using when starting out. Based on the type of fertilizer used (add to water or stick), it will tell you how frequently to fertilize your plants.
Can I Grow Plants if My Outdoor Space is in Shade?
Most plants grow best in sun or partial sun, but there are plenty of plants that thrive in shade! Most of my balcony is in complete shade during the fall and winter months, so I’ve had to get creative when adding new plants during these times of the year.
I planted several primroses on the edge of my balcony at the end of last year and they lasted throughout the season with little sun. Many tropical and house plants grow well in shady areas too.
Again, don’t be afraid to ask neighbors, family, friends, and gardeners at your local garden center for advice on shade plants.
Most Frequently Asked Gardening Questions
I hope these answered most of your gardening questions you have had. I have heard these asked many times in groups and classes I have attended, which include beginner and veteran gardeners. If there is a gardening question you have that I haven’t answered above, please ask in the comments section below!