Tips for first-time gardeners

With some extra time on my hands, I have decided to start a vegetable garden this Spring so that I can have fresh vegetables for myself, friends and family. My mother makes a mean vegetable lasagna, so it is imperative that we have fresh and delicious vegetables for it.

Now I’m sure that everyone knows that home grown vegetables are going to be healthier for you because, well...because they're grown at home! They're free of pesticides, free of growth hormones, and you will hopefully feel a sense of accomplishment after reaping the delicious rewards. It is also great for your wallet if you eat a lot of vegetables and fruits.

After doing some research, I've found some tips that first time gardeners might find helpful:

Someone with a busy schedule (like myself, a full-time college student with a job) should probably start off with just a few plants — a few favorite veggies and fruits. Don't overload yourself with tedious garden work.

When picking your seeds, check the months that they should be planted on the back of their packages. For example, I planted peppers, onions and spinach in February because that is one of the months that they're recommended to be planted.

  • Start out planting the seeds indoors in small pots (if you have room) before their season starts so that you have a head start when it comes time to plant them outside.
  • Choose a site in your yard that receives at least 6 hours of light every day. Here in Florida that isn’t too complicated. You will probably want your garden near a source of water as well.
  • When it comes to the soil, there are different soil specifications for different plants (nutrients, pH, etc.), so I suggest you research that before planting.
  • Now for those pests that we have in Florida, I suggest safe and natural insect repellents. There are so many recommendations all over the Internet if you search, but the one that I found most often is using soap and water. Now, the sites that I looked at said to not use this all of the time because plants aren't too keen on it.
  • If you are living in an apartment, you can always start a vegetable garden in a window box or individual pots on your balcony.

I am positive there is so much more detail that comes with vegetable gardening, but I hope that these tips can help start you in your gardening endeavors (and yes, it takes some work).

Best of luck! I will be working on mine along with you!

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