Alicia DeVore

Have trouble getting your garden to produce lots of fruits and veggies? You’ve come to the right spot! Over the years, I’ve encountered numerous mistakes in gardening, but each has provided me with the chance to learn and implement solutions that lead to a thriving garden.In this easy-to-follow guide, I will show you 10 important things you need to know to grow a productive garden.

Why These 10 Things Helped Me

Before we jump into the 10 key things for a successful garden, let’s start with the basics. What does it mean to have a garden that grows lots of fruits, fresh veggies, and flowers? It’s all about using the best methods, taking good care of your plants, and making the most of your small garden space to get a big, beautiful harvest.

Starting my vegetable gardening adventure, I was all enthusiasm and big dreams until I hit a snag — my soil was missing those super-important nutrients. It wasn’t long before my green babies started turning a sad shade of yellow and then, one by one, they began to give up. Watching my garden struggle through that first summer was tough, and boy, did I feel bummed out.

In the beginning, I was stumped. What was I doing wrong? Feeling helpless wasn’t fun at all. But you know what? As I started learning more about gardening, I realized it wasn’t as hard as I thought. Once I got the hang of these 10 important things, everything started to click into place, and my garden began to thrive with much less effort.

And that’s exactly what I want for you! I’ve put together this list of 10 useful tips to help you get a grip on your garden and make it bloom beautifully. Let’s tackle this together and make your next gardening season a breeze. Ready to dive in?

Thing #1: Soil Preparation

The first key step to having a garden full of fruits, veggies, and flowers is making sure your soil is packed with nutrients and drains well.

This is the starting point for plants to grow strong and give you lots of produce. Begin by getting your garden soil or potting soil from a reliable source, soil that doesn’t use harmful chemicals or anything that could hinder your garden’s growth of young plants. Adding organic matter like compost can also help with the soil structure, setting the perfect stage for your garden to thrive during the next growing season.

If you are not sure about the soil you have from an older garden bed, then do a soil testeither through your extension office in your state or use the one HERE from Amazon.

Thing #2: Proper Plant Selection

Picking the right plants is extremely important for your garden to do well. Think about the weather where you live, what kind of soil you have, and how much sun your garden gets. Choose plants that grow well and can fight off diseases, so you get more from your garden especially at the beginning of your gardening adventure.

Choose plants that like to grow in the season that you will be planting in. For instance, tomatoes do not like to grow in temperatures below 60 degrees. Their cells are not made to withstand the cold temperatures. So make sure to plant tomato plants when the temperature at night is over 50-60 degrees for best results.

Picking Vegetable Seeds for the Growing Season

Some enjoyable crops to cultivate are pole beans, green beans, root vegetables such as carrots, and sweet corn, to mention just a few. It’s rewarding to plant these in a garden bed, strategically timed for their success during the appropriate season.

Knowing that lettuce flourishes in temperatures between 35 to 75 degrees enables me to plan my garden with precision, choosing the optimal planting times based on each plant’s preferred growing conditions. Similarly, most vegetables thrive when sown within their ideal temperature ranges, ensuring a bountiful home garden.

Explore the BootCamp to learn the optimal times for planting various vegetables in your garden throughout the year.

Thing #3: Ideal Location for Sun Exposure

A common error among novice gardeners, when they start a garden, is situating their initial garden in spots that receive inadequate sunlight. Gardens oriented towards the south benefit from the greatest amount of sun exposure. To find these south-facing areas around your home, you can use the compass app on your smartphone.

Selecting an optimal location for your garden is crucial for your plants’ well-being. Ensure that your garden is placed in a spot where it can enjoy at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, as this is the ideal condition for the thriving of most garden crops.

The Power of Sunlight

Sunlight is crucial as it fuels photosynthesis, the remarkable process through which plants create their own food, leading to robust and healthy growth. Insufficient sunlight may hinder a plant’s ability to produce the necessary nutrients, affecting its development.

While partial shade may work with herbs or cool-season crops in warmer climates, securing a spot that receives full sunlight is generally the best strategy for your garden.

Having a smaller garden can offer more placement flexibility. Container gardening, for example, allows you to adjust your gardening space based on the sunlight availability at your initial garden site. Additionally, using trellises or opting for vertical gardening can further facilitate finding adequately sunny spots for your plants.

Thing #4: Adequate Watering

Making sure your plants get enough water regularly is key to keeping them happy and productive. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on how wet the soil is, especially when it’s really hot or dry out. When you do water them, make sure to give them a good soak so their roots get all the moisture they need without drowning them.

A steady but not soggy root area is what we’re going for to help your plants grow their best. You might want to think about getting a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses. These are great because they get water right to where your plants need it at the roots, without wasting any water or letting too much of it evaporate away.

Thing #5: Mulching

Mulching is an incredibly effective way to keep your garden’s soil moist, fight off weeds, and keep the soil temperature just right. Spreading a layer of organic mulch around your plants, like straw mulch, shredded leaves, or even compost, can do wonders.

I use shredded bark or wood chips for my pathways but keep them out of the raised beds or garden bed. The wood chips take longer to break down and can steal nutrients from the garden soil for your healthy plants and vegetable crops. But wood chips on a pathway can help to reduce weeds and make it easier to do garden chores.

Benefits of Mulch

Mulching not only helps to retain soil moisture but also improves the soil’s structure over time. Beyond soil enrichment, compost or organic matter serves excellently as mulch. When used in this way, organic compost acts as a slow-release fertilizer, gradually enriching the soil with nutrients and boosting plant health.

Additionally, mulch is effective in suppressing weeds, minimizing competition for water and nutrients. It also acts as a protective layer for the soil, keeping it cooler under the hot sun and warmer during colder periods. This creates an optimal soil environment and a stable home for plant roots, promoting their vigorous growth.

My preferred choice for mulch is organic compost. I apply 1-2 inches of it around my vegetable plants throughout the summer to protect their roots. Before the onset of frost, I add another layer to insulate my plants against the cold.

To source quality organic compost, I recommend visiting your local garden center to explore their offerings. The organic matter in compost not only benefits your garden’s soil but also enhances the vitality of your growing season.

Thing #6: Pest and Disease Management

Keeping your garden safe from pests and diseases is super important if you want most vegetables to be healthy and produce a lot of good stuff. One of the best ways to do this is by using integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. I learned about this site while taking classes for my horticulture certification from UCLA and found it to be a valuable resource for the backyard gardener.

This means combining different methods like cultural practices, and physical barriers, and encouraging natural predators to keep those pesky pests in check, all while cutting down on the need for harsh chemical pesticides. Look at your local garden center for organic resources to use in pest management.

Helpful Garden Friends

It’s really helpful to invite friends like ladybugs and parasitic wasps into your small garden because they’re great at keeping pest numbers down. Also, mixing up what you plant each year with crop rotation can throw pests off their game, disrupting their life cycles. Make it a habit to check on your plants regularly for any signs of trouble, like pests or diseases.

If you spot anything, it’s best to deal with it quickly before things get out of hand. This way, you’re not just looking after your plants; you’re also creating a healthier environment for them to grow in.

Add a flower garden near your veggies to keep the bad bugs distracted from your food crops so that harvesting vegetables will be easier. Planting flowers with your veggies is a way of putting best friends together to help as companion planting crops.

Thing #7: Regular Daily Maintenance

Ensuring you diligently maintain your vegetable garden is key to keeping your plants vibrant and fruitful throughout the growing season. Establishing a routine for essential tasks such as weeding, pruning, and trellising can significantly bolster garden plant health and maximize yields.

By spending just a few minutes a day, you can keep an eye on your garden and keep it growing strong through the season.

Thing #8: Seasonal Care with Vegetable Gardening

Adapting your gardening practices to align with the changing seasons can significantly enhance your growing plants performance throughout the year. It involves modifying your watering schedule, fertilization times, and planting periods in response to seasonal variations.

By doing so, you ensure your garden thrives at any time of the year. In spring, focus on preparing the soil and planting your seeds or seedlings as the soil warms. In warm temperatures during the summer, prioritize regular watering, mulching, and managing pests.

As autumn approaches, it’s time to harvest the fresh vegetables, clean up the vegetable garden, and apply a layer of mulch or compost to protect your soil and young plants against the colder weather.

Aligning your gardening activities with the natural cycle of the seasons not only promotes the health of your plants but also sets the stage for abundant harvests.

Thing #9: Don’t Stop Learning

Navigating the vast world of gardening can sometimes be daunting, but that’s precisely why Create My Garden exists. Our mission is to simplify gardening, making it accessible and enjoyable for gardeners of all skill levels. With our resources, you’re supported every step of the way on your gardening journey.

Easily embark on year-round food production with our affordable monthly membership. It’s crafted to inspire and assist you in cultivating fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

Interested in a focused course on garden plants or products to enhance your garden? Our selection of courses offers essential knowledge and practical advice, designed to make gardening more manageable and successful for you.

Thing #10: Patience and Persistence with a Vegetable Garden

Gardening is a journey that teaches us the beauty of patience and the strength found in persistence. It’s all about rolling up your sleeves, getting a bit dirty, and sticking with it, even when things don’t go as planned. Remember, every gardener has their share of Oops moments and triumphs, and it’s okay if your garden doesn’t look like a magazine cover.

Think of gardening as a friendship you’re building with the earth — it takes time, understanding, and lots of heart. So, give yourself and your green buddies some grace. Those little seeds and plants will grow in their own time, and believe me, the wait will be worth it.

Qualities Grown while Gardening

Starting to grow food, whether by starting seed germination indoors or planting seeds directly into the ground, initiates a process that spans several weeks. The emergence of plants from those tiny seeds builds an environment where patience and perseverance are nurtured alongside your garden. Whether you’re digging holes, purchasing seed packets to start a garden from the very beginning, or planting vegetables in early spring or after the last frost of the cool season, each step is part of a rewarding journey.

Incorporating these ten essential pieces of advice into your gardening routine paves the way for a garden that flourishes. Remember, gardening transcends the act of awaiting the harvest; it embodies the joy of acquiring new knowledge, the thrill of experimentation, and the tranquility derived from being amidst nature.

So, put on your gardening gloves, remain receptive to learning, and let’s embark on this gardening adventure together. With a dash of curiosity and a generous amount of dedication, you’re well on your way to cultivating a garden that is not just fruitful but also a source of joy and pride.

How to Garden at Home!

10 things needed for productive garden

Ready to elevate your gardening skills and take your garden to the next level? Join our exclusive Seasonal Planning Bootcamp!! Packed with actionable advice, in-depth strategies, and bonus tips, this workshop will fast-track your journey to gardening planning. Click below to access your free BootCamp download for this 3-part packed information and embark on your path to a thriving garden:

Make growing a garden not only a rewarding hobby, but a space to save money, a place to find some peace, and enjoy watching life happen in front of your eyes.

For More Gardening Resources:
6 Ways to Effectively Make a Game Plan for Your Garden This Year

Top 3 Beginner Gardening Mistakes to Avoid: Tips for Cultivating Success

5 Tips for What to Plant for Success in Your Kitchen Garden

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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