small plant barely growing from the soil

How to Start a Garden from Scratch on Previously Unused Soil

Whether you’ve recently moved in a place where you have plenty of space for a garden and you’re really excited to use it, or you’ve simply decided that it’s time to take advantage of the space in your backyard to start your own garden, you’re going to enjoy the topic of today’s guide. In places where the soil was never used for gardening purposes, starting a garden can be regarded as a challenging project, especially for people who don’t have any gardening experience. If you’re worried that you’re not up for the task, put your worries aside. Today, we’re going to tell you all about how to start a garden from scratch.

How to Start a Garden from Scratch

1. Think About the Kind of Garden You Want

The first step in how to start a garden in your backyard doesn’t actually involve any physical work yet, so you’re going to start slow. Before actually assessing the quality of the soil and starting to prepare it for gardening, you have to think about what kind of garden you want. For instance, are you tired of spending money on vegetables at the store and want to plant your own? Or do you simply enjoy colorful flowers and want to make your garden look better? You can also choose to plant only herbs that will make for some truly delicious cooking.

No matter the kind of garden you decide on, you have to be completely sure that this is what you want before getting to work. As an extra tip, if you’re completely new to gardening, you should start small. Try not to plant many things at once. This might make it difficult for you to care for them. Ultimately, you don’t want your efforts to be in vain.

2. Be Even More Specific

What we mean by more specific is think exactly what varieties of herbs, flowers, or vegetables you want to grow. That’s because the success of your garden depends a lot on the area and the weather condition. Sometimes, as much as you want to grow a specific kind of vegetable, this won’t develop in your area. So before you get excited about all the things you could plant in your garden, remember that you can’t plant every single vegetable or herb variety out there.

You can do some research and see what kind of plants grow best in your area. You can find out the hardiness area you live in by accessing the Learning Library website. After you’ve figured that out, decide which one of the plant options you have you’d like to sow in your garden.

3. Assess the Soil

Now that you’ve decided on the plants you want to have in your garden, it’s time to take a look at the soil. See how you can change it and turn it into a perfect option for your plants. One of the most important tips on how to start a garden is to assess the quality of your soil. First of all, if your backyard is covered in grass, or if you have a lawn, you’re going to have to get rid of it. Be careful to remove any trace of it, even the roots.

Then, you’ll also have to eliminate all weeds that might invade your plants and stop them from growing properly. Since there are many types of weeds out there, a beginner gardener won’t probably know which is which. If you’re unsure of what a plant is called and whether it’s a weed or not, check everything online before eliminating it.

person eliminating garden weeds

The quality of the soil is one of the most important things you should take into account. No matter how much sunlight and water you provide your plants with, if the soil isn’t exactly what they need, they won’t grow as you want them too. Because of this, we advise you to test the soil before planting anything. You can do that with a Soil Survey Instrument that measures moisture, temperature, and the pH level.

4. Feed the Soil

After you’ve assessed the quality of your soil, you should also provide it with compost to give your plants a great start. Even if the soil in your garden tested well, but especially if it hasn’t, you’re going to want to purchase some compost such as the Michigan Peat Garden Magic Compost and Manure that you can find on Amazon for $27.55.

If you don’t know how to apply compost on your soil, take a look at the video below.

5. Choose the Best Spot for Each Plant

Congratulations, you’re now one step closer to learning how to start a garden from scratch! You’ve already fed your soil, which means that now you can finally decide on the best place for each of your plants. When making a garden plan, you have to take into account many details. If you want to visualize your future garden even better, we advise you to draw an actual plan on a piece of paper before turning it into reality.

This can be a challenging step, but it’s also an extremely creative one. You can arrange the plants according to your personal preference as well, especially if we’re talking about flowers. Unfortunately, you also have to think about the weather conditions. For instance, if your garden has both sunnier areas and more shaded ones, it would be useful to choose both plants that thrive in the sun and plants that are able to grow in darker places.

The place that you choose for your plants should also be one where the soil drains well. You might notice that in some places, the water seems to be draining slower than in others. If you want to provide your plants with the best conditions, you might want to avoid planting anything in those areas.

Another thing you should be aware of is the amount of space each plant will take in your garden. This might be a bit tricky. Most beginner gardeners aren’t able to visualize how the plants will look when they develop fully. Consequently, they might tend to plant too many and realize that they’re too crowded when they grow. So make sure you research how large every plant is likely to grow and plant it accordingly.

If you’ve decided to only plant flowers in your garden, choosing the best place for each of them might be an enjoyable activity. That’s because you’re free to form different patterns, choose colors that complement each other, and so on. If you’re going for a vegetable garden, remember you’ll need easy access to your crops. Create a path that goes through the vegetable beds.

flower garden with different flower varieties

6. Purchase Gardening Supplies

Drawing closer to the end of our guide on how to start a garden from scratch, it’s safe to assume that no respectable gardener can start planting without some tools. Apart from basic gardening tools, you’re also going to need other gardening supplies. The number of supplies for a first-time garden can seem a bit much, but most of them will last you a while, especially the tools.

That being said, consider buying some soil fertilizer such as this Organic Fertilizer that you can order for $22.87 on Amazon. Then, you’re going to want to purchase the seeds for whatever plants you want to grow in your garden. For this, we also recommend Amazon. They have an extensive selection of all the types of plants you might want.

In terms of gardening tools, you’re going to need a rake, a shovel, a hoe, a spade, and a hose. If you want to properly delimitate your garden with a fence, you’re also going to need materials to build one.

7. Plant the Seeds

After you buy the seeds, it’s time for the most practical step in our guide on how to start a garden from scratch, which is actually planting the seeds. Keep in mind the design that you created earlier on that piece of paper. Using the spade you bought, dig holes in the ground. Remember to provide your plants with plenty of space to grow unencumbered and then cover the seeds with soil.

black shovel stuck in the soil

If some of your plants need a lot of fertilizer in order to develop properly, you’re going to want to add some fertilizer after you’ve placed the seeds in the ground as well. Similarly, some plants need mulch or compost over them for protection while they’re still fragile. Just keep in mind that if you overdo it, they might have a hard time developing.

8. Water the Newly Planted Seeds

Once the seeds are in the ground and you’ve fertilized the soil properly, the final step in today’s guide on how to start a garden involves watering. For that, you can use the hose we’ve advised you to purchase. You should do that every day, according to the needs of each of your plants. Be careful not to drown them, but don’t allow the soil to dry out completely either.

Summing It All Up

No matter what kind of garden you want to start, there are always certain steps that you have to go through to make sure you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor in a couple of months. We hope today’s guide has provided you with a comprehensive overview of how to start a garden from scratch. Follow our advice and start growing your own plants as soon as possible.

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Bonnie Enos

I spend my time in my garden trying to create the greatest outdoor space possible. My garden is my happy place and where you will always find me on a nice day. I take my experience and share it here for you to read!

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