So you want to start planting, but you’re new to it and have no idea where to begin. Don’t worry! Pete’s is here to help you get started. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone! Even master gardeners were once beginners. You have to start somewhere and if you have no prior knowledge about gardening, that is perfectly fine. What you’ll want to do first is look at your space. Are you wanting to start a garden or plant in pots? Where your plants will be located is crucial because of how much sun (if any) they’re going to get. We have come up with a few questions you need to ask yourself to get started, or as always you can stop by the greenhouse and ask one of our gardening experts for help!
Take a look at the space where you’re wanting to plant and pay attention to how much sun that area gets during the day. Full sun plants need at least 6 hours of light a day. (Some plants like vegetables need 8 hours.) Partial sun (or partial shade) plants need at least 3-6 hours of direct sunlight every day. Is your space mostly shady? Plants like hostas and outdoor ferns love that! This is a very important step because in order to thrive, your plants have to receive their light requirements. You can always check the tag on the plants you’re thinking about purchasing for the light they require or ask an employee at the greenhouse. A word to the wise: start small until you get a feel for gardening and know what you’re getting into.
There are a few variables to consider when watering your plants. Does your plant get full sun, partial sun, or full shade? More sun requires more water. What part of the season are we in? Plants will need more water as we get further into the season because they are bigger and are using more energy. Is your plant indoors or outdoors? A great rule of thumb that we tend to always use is the finger test. Stick your finger about an inch into your soil and if the soil is wet, don’t water your plant. If it’s dry, it’s time to water! Water slowly and deeply so that the water soaks into the plant instead of running off. And to minimize evaporation, try to water early in the morning. Check every day at first so that you’ll start to learn your plant’s patterns and watering them will soon become second nature!
When designing your outdoor areas, remember to consider that not all plants will come back every year in our area. Perennial means that the plant will come back every season. Annuals tend to have the brightest blooms and most color but will not make it through our harsh winters. Evergreens are great during winter months when everything else has gone dormant. These guys help us get our spring fix when we’re still freezing cold! Check your tags and do some research before planting to make sure you’ll be happy with your choices. Remember, we’re always here to help!
Especially when working outdoors, remember to consider that your beginning plant will usually get much bigger than the day it was planted. Make sure to research how big things get and avoid planting too close together. It may look good at first but in a few years you’ll have a big, overgrown mess on your hands! Also, try to pick a relatively flat spot if you’re wanting to start a garden. It can be time consuming and difficult to deal with a sloping garden. You’ll also want to try to plant in an area you see regularly. For instance, near the mailbox or a window is ideal so that you can’t ignore it. If that space is near a hose that’s even better! And don’t forget to be patient! (We know it’s hard, but you’ll be glad you were.)
We’ve all killed plants. (Even the ones of us that work in a greenhouse..shhhh!) Keep trying!! Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to water until you get in the habit of it. Keep your watering cans handy, and even filled up, so you’ll set yourself up for success. The process of growing your own plants is intimidating until you (literally) get your hands dirty and start trying it out. Stick with it and try different things until you find a system that works for you. Bookmark this post to remember these simple questions, and don’t forget to ask us for help! We can’t wait to see you at the greenhouse.
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