Gardening 101 in Your USDA Zone

Welcome to my blog.  A note to my readers: I have written you this post including giving you links to products that I personally use and love (affiliate links)!  I receive a small amount of compensation if you purchase from my links.  For instance, I am an Amazon Associate and I earn from qualifying purchases.

Gardening 101:  before planting your first posy, start here.

My first memories of gardening were with my Grandmother.  The first thing she taught me was to know my zone.  I’m a 10!  Well, that is to say in zones I’m a 10.  Truly, although there are rare exceptions, you can start your road to a beautiful garden if you know your zone.  Don’t know yours?  Start here: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones by Zipcode 

Get to Know Your Soil

The next thing you want to do is to get to know your soil.  From my experience, and that of my Grandma before me, the most important principle in gardening is soil preparation.

There are basically three types of soils: Clay, Sandy and Silt Soil.  Here is an great article that explains them: Types of Soils  I have the worst of luck and have the clay soil.  When I first moved into the house we’re currently in, the plants looked sad and most were dead or on their way.  I decided to wipe the slate clean, except for a few beautiful roses and two shrubs. Next I added in lots of organic matter and organic peat moss.  Now my almost blank canvas was ready.

seed starting pots with plants beginning to erupt

Any of these types soils can be saved.  Our goal is to have a nice loamy and aerated soil.  Before you plant though, don’t forget to fertilize the soil.  I like to use an organic 16-16-16 fertilizer or any balanced blend (16 parts nitrogen(N), 16 parts phosphorus(P), 16 parts potassium(K), or NPK for short) Nitrogen helps to produce rich green foliage. Phosphorus helps with root growth and flowers, seeds and fruit development. Potassium is important in the manufacturing of starches and sugars in the plant. That being said, your soil might not need this type of fertilizer so have your soil tested.  Many local garden centers have collection sample tubes or you can get low cost or free test through your local county extension office.

“The love of gardening is a seed once sown never dies.”

~Gertrude Jekyll
Get Yourself Some Basic Tools

When I was a new gardener the first tool I was gifted from my Grandmother was a pair of garden gloves. I know this might sound basic, but trust me, when you’re digging in all that soil you’ll be so glad you put a pair on! Over the years I have used all kinds but recently purchased these bamboo ones. Bamboo naturally absorbs perspiration and is made for breathability keeping your hands cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Not only that it’s Earth friendly!

Felco No. 2 classic hand pruner and leather holder

By far the number one garden tool you’ll be reaching for over and over again is a pair of Felco hand prunners. I would recommend the F2 Classic pair by Felco. I’ve owned mine for several decades. Other than getting them sharpened, they function like I just purchased them. I purchased the leather holder too so they have a place on my hip whenever I need to grab them. Trust me when I say I’m grabbing them several times while I’m out in the garden! Highly recommend!

There are so many other tools I want to share with you but I’ll save those for another post. For now, that will get you started on your journey to a successful garden!

I’m telling you, these first couple steps lay a good base for your beautiful new garden. Have any questions, let me know!

Would you like to know more about me and my journey here on One Maple Tree Lane? You can click here to read about me.

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