When the weather is nice, there’s nothing more relaxing for some folks than doing some planting in their backyards.

Many Americans have green thumbs and love to spruce up their backyards with their favorite flowers and their own gardens.

If you’ve always dreamed of having a home garden, there’s no better time to start than right now. Not only are there many health benefits including less stress and heightened self-esteem, but there are other advantages including:

  • You’re growing fresh fruits and vegetables
  • You can significantly cut down on your grocery budget
  • You can make gardening a family activity
  • You have the final say on what you grow and what you eat

Sounds pretty enticing right? There’s no doubt it can be fun, not to mention very rewarding. But if you haven’t done much planting or you’ve never had a vegetable garden before, the key is to start small.

Figure Out What To Plant

The first thing you need to do is figure out what you’re going to plant. If you’re not sure what’s going to work, visiting some local garden centers can be helpful. Not only will garden centers have all manner of seeds, but employees will be able to offer tips on easy things to plant in your garden and how to plant them. Your best bet is to find things you already like to eat and plant those.

Choose Your Gardening Spot

Maintaining a vegetable garden can be tricky, especially when it comes to finding the proper balance of sunlight and shade. This makes finding a good spot essential. You’re also going to have to factor in access for maintenance such as watering and protection from wildlife.

 Decide what kind of garden bed you want. Sunken beds soak up moisture, but may be more susceptible to wildlife interference. Raised beds grant easier access, but dry out quicker.

Invest in Tools

Once you’ve established a plan, you’ll need to visit one of your local home garden centers to pick up all your tools. In addition to your seeds, you’ll need a garden hoe, a dirt rake, and a garden shovel for starters.

Test and Build Your Soil

Before you plant, you’ll need to test your soil. Experts at garden centers can give you an idea of what makes for good soil composition, but ultimately you’re looking for soil with a good mix of nutrients. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to build up the soil. This is usually done by adding 3-4” of organic matter, like compost, and working it into the existing soil.

Get To Planting

As a beginner, the good news is transplant containers and seed packets come with instructions, so most times all you’ll have to do is dig some soil and plant. Seeds should be planted about three times deeper than the seed’s diameter and transplants are planted in a pot at about the same depth as they were in the container you bought them in.

Maintain and Enjoy

Once the planting is done, it’s important to maintain your garden by adding about an inch of water to your plants per week. If you don’t have a lot of time, getting some low-maintenance veggies is a good idea.

Eventually your crops that you worked hard to plant and maintain will mature and you’ll be able to harvest them, putting homegrown, colorful and fresh vegetables on your family’s table.