Gardening 101: When to Start, What you Need, Space Needs, and More

April 19, 2023
Woman gardening with tools , plants, and seeds.

It’s (finally) starting to feel like spring and we have home gardening on our minds. Want to turn your backyard into a thriving plant paradise? With the right tools and the proper know-how, you can easily learn the gardening basics needed to achieve the garden of your dreams in your own backyard. Follow our guide below to start your very own home garden.

When is the best time to start a garden?

Knowing when to start your garden depends a lot on where you live. Success in gardening is all about putting the right plant in the right place at the right time. You can determine what crops best match the weather conditions in your climatic region. The USDA maintains a plant hardiness zone map searchable by ZIP code, which divides the country into zones based on average annual minimum temperature. Find your zone and familiarize yourself with the fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs that thrive in it. When you go to your local garden center, farm, or helpful neighbor with plant cuttings, you can look for plants labeled with the number corresponding to your hardiness zone or do your own research to see if the plants you want for your home garden are a good fit.

 USDA plant hardiness zones by ZIP code.

What you would like to grow?

Use your climate zone as a guide to determine what plants you'd like to grow. Your personal preferences also come into consideration when mapping out your home garden. Do you want a flower garden, vegetable garden, or herb garden? Will you be growing plants in a container garden, raised beds, or a combination of several options? A great place to start is to ask yourself what kind of fruits and vegetables you like to eat⁠⁠, and then plant the ones that will thrive in your zone. 

What tools do you need to start a garden?

Starting a home garden from scratch does require an investment in a few essential tools. At a minimum, you’ll need to get in a sturdy shovel and a pair of gloves when you start your garden. We also recommend purchasing a potting soil scoop to easily fill pots and planters, a standard kitchen knife to make precise cuts when harvesting vegetables, a battery-powered or rechargeable cordless drill to make drainage holes when converting found objects to planters, and a set of hand pruners to cut larger stems and branches. As you get more proficient at gardening, you may wish to invest in other tools such as a tiller, aerators, and home composting system. It depends on what you are growing as to what additional tools you are going to need.

Family gardening together.

How much does it cost to start a new garden?

When it comes to making a budget for your home garden, the plants you want to grow will frequently determine the costs involved. Certain plants and seeds are more expensive than others, and there are occasional specialist tools needed. The bigger the garden, the more costly it will be to maintain. The length of the growing season in your region can add or reduce the total cost as well. On average, the total cost to start a 10-foot by 10-foot garden is around $300, including soil, seeds, and tools.

Why we love home Gardening 

One of the many reasons we love gardening is because if things don't work out right the first time…there's always next year. There are so many variables when it comes to gardening, and often you won't know what works best for you and your home garden until you try.

Planting a garden is the perfect way to connect to something immediate here and now and watch it grow. It also has many great health benefits. When you work in your home garden, you are outside, getting sun on your skin, generating vitamin D, and taking part in an activity that brings joy!

Basket of home grown vegetables from a garden.

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