Spring is here and that means warmer weather, lighter jackets, and beautiful blooming flowers. It’s the perfect time to begin working on your garden. And if you’ve never grown one before, now is the perfect time to start one! Gardens don’t have to be expensive to maintain — these simple tips will help you get to growing without breaking the budget.
Do Your Research
Research isn’t the most exciting part, but it’s important to do a little planning before starting a garden. If you really want to grow a specific plant, check the growing conditions. Vegetables and most flowering plants need a full six hours or more of sun a day. If you’re limited to a cooler, shady spot in your yard, make sure you research shade-dwelling plants. Also remember that not all sunlight is created equal. Afternoon sun is hot and drying, as opposed to the gentle morning sun. You’ll save money in the long run by not buying the wrong type of plants for your garden space.
Check the Soil Type
There are a number of different ways to check your soil pH. Most hardware stores carry soil-testing kits with simple-to-follow instructions that aren’t too expensive. But you can save money by making your own test kit with ingredients you probably already have on hand. The majority of plants like a nice, neutral pH range, but you can find out the ideal pH level for your plant by checking the plant label or card, or by doing a bit of research.
Pick a Plant
This is the fun part. Make sure you pick a good beginner plant, one that isn’t too fussy. For those that want to grow their own vegetables, make sure you decide on one that you and your family enjoy eating, and keep in mind certain vegetables take more care than others. Tomatoes and Cucumbers are popular choices, plus they go great on a salad! Save money by buying your plant through other local gardeners, or online, instead of at a nursery or garden center.
Buy the Right Tools
Having the right equipment for the job is everything. Gardening requires a lot of tools, from gloves and watering cans to kneeling pads and shears, and those tools aren’t always cheap. But at Dollar Tree, you can stock up on all the necessities for only $1 each! Keep a garden journal and track what you planted, how often you watered and pruned it, and other notes. It helps to keep track of what worked and how well so that next year you can simply look at your journal to make gardening easier.
Keep Your Garden Maintained
In order to produce the most efficient garden, make sure you take good care of your plants. A little bit of maintenance goes a long way! Water them in the morning when the sun isn’t as hot, and prune away the dead flowers and leaves. If you have trouble with pests, try using household products instead of expensive insect repellents. Soapy water keeps most bugs at bay, and it doesn’t have the harsh chemicals found in bug sprays.
Most Importantly, Have Fun!
Your garden should be a delight, not a chore, so remember to have fun with it. Get your kids or grandkids involved so you have some gardening buddies (if you want) and have fun planting and harvesting together. If you’re growing veggies, get the kids to help pick them and prepare salads and side dishes. If flowers are your passion, be sure to cut some every week and bring them indoors to enjoy the fruits of your labor.