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How and When to Plant a Garden

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While starting a garden can seem like a daunting task at first, it’s an incredibly fruitful and relaxing hobby. There’s something so rewarding about growing your own food and bringing life to your home with gorgeous flowers. It’s hard to compare the feeling of watching a garden flourish, then enjoying the juicy flavors and textures of the veggies.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss how to plant a garden, when to plant a garden, and some general month-to-month guidelines to get you started.

We’ll also share some vegetables and flowers that are easy for beginners to grow. Keep in mind that every garden is different, and there will be several factors to consider when diving into the hobby.

How and When to Plant a Garden

When to Plant a Garden

The best time of year to plant a garden will depend on the climate and season in your part of the world. There are helpful planting calendars available, which help determine the best time to start planting your garden.

Planting calendars are based on frost dates, so your flowers and vegetables can thrive with less risk of freezing temperatures.

If you’re interested in starting to grow crops indoors before transplanting them into an outdoor garden, it’s recommended to start the seeds about 6-8 weeks after your last spring frost. This timeline ensures that your garden plants will grow to be strong and healthy before transitioning them outdoors.

It’s important to remember that different herbs, vegetables, and flowers should be planted based on the region that you live in.

When to Plant a Garden

When is the best time to start planting a garden?

  • January and February are typically the best months to begin planning your garden. If you live in a warmer location, you can begin sowing vegetable seeds. In cooler locations, February is a prime time to plant tomatoes and peppers and start drawing out your garden for other vegetables. You can also plant some delightful herbs on a sunny windowsill as early as January. January and February are great months to begin planting eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, onions, and herbs. You can also plant specific annuals, such as Zinnias, Marigolds, and Geraniums. 
  • March is the prime time to start work in your garden in a majority of the US. Many vegetables can even withstand one last frost when planted in March. Beets, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, cauliflowers, and corn are often planted during March. These crops will become incredibly healthy when the warmth of April hits.
  • Your soil is warming up in April, and you’ll want to ensure that all tomatoes and peppers are planted by then. You can also add beans, cucumbers, melons, onions, and peas to your repertoire of crops. Marigolds and Zinnias can be planted in April, so they continue to thrive in the summer.
  • Your garden is growing and beautiful come May, and this is a good time to add summer squash. You may also want to consider adding some indoor/outdoor herbs such as basil, oregano, dill, and sage, as they love the heat.
  • By June, most of your favorite vegetables should be in the ground. Depending on where you live, some veggies can still be sowed in June since the soil is warm and your garden is full of surrounding life. 
  • In cooler regions, July is appropriate for sowing crops such as Brussel sprouts, kale and others, if you haven’t yet planted them. You can expect an excellent fall harvest by keeping these vegetables healthy throughout the summer.
  • August is typically an ideal time to sow seeds for a second gardening season. A delicious vegetable and herb harvest can be expected for the fall when planted in August. Of course, there are exceptions, depending on the climate where you live.
  • September marks the beginning of the fall season. There are still a variety of fruits and vegetables that can be grown during this time, including blueberries, garlic, radishes, and spinach. If you reside in a cooler climate, be sure to keep your soil warm during this time.
  • In October, the first frost is fast approaching. Plant your fall flowers now, and sow popular indoor herbs such as basil, chive, thyme, parsley, and oregano. 
  • November and December are the months for growing fresh herbs in a windowsill and planning your spring garden. In warmer climates, however, delicious vegetables such as lettuce, radishes, broccoli, and spinach can be grown.

Keep in mind that weather and climate differ depending on where you live. The above guidelines are for general gardening, but we suggest taking a look at a specific planting calendar for your region in order to get the best results.

Garden Plants for Beginners

garden plants for beginners

If you are new to gardening, consider the following garden plants to get started:

  • Zinnias
  • Marigolds
  • Pansies
  • Snapdragons
  • Daffodils
  • Impatiens
  • Begonias
  • Geraniums

Some vegetables that are easy to grow include:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Kales
  • Peas
  • Pumpkins

It’s fairly simple to diversify your garden with the flowers and vegetables we listed above.

The list is pretty easy to maintain, and they can all be grown from seeds rather than just transplanting. Seeds are inexpensive, widely available and ensure a healthy, strong crop.

How to Plant a Garden

How and When to Plant a Garden

Are you new to gardening? The relaxing, rewarding hobby can be enjoyed by anyone! Use these simple steps to start your new outdoor garden.

  1. Choose the best location. You’ll want to create a garden in a spot that has ample sunlight and access to a water source, such as a hose. It’s best to choose a level area with plenty of space for growth. Make sure that the location you pick for your garden is stable and won’t be affected by flooding or strong winds. 
  2. Select flowers and vegetables. You may already know what types of plants you want to sow in your garden. Choose flowers, fruits, and vegetables based on your climate, location, and tastes! If you’re new to gardening, you may want to start with easy-to-grow produce like carrots, cucumbers, and lettuce. 
  3. Create a plan for your garden. Depending on the current season, some flowers and crops will thrive more than others. Make a plan for your garden based on a planting calendar for your region. Ripening cycles differ for vegetables, so keep that in mind when planting your seeds.
  4. Gather your tools. Some basic tools you’ll need for gardening are a trowel, hoe, shears and a weeder. See our complete list of helpful gardening tools
  5. Properly prepare your soil. It’s best to mix a natural fertilizer into your soil for ultimate growing results. You may need to add supplements to your soil, and gardening suppliers can often test the soil for acidity. Of course, specialty soils are widely available for purchase so you can start a garden without too much hassle. 
  6. Plant your seeds. It’s time to get your hands dirty! Sow seeds in your garden based on the specific needs of each crop. Depth and spacing will differ based on what you’re planting.
  7. Keep up with watering. A crucial part of keeping a successful garden is consistent watering. The soil needs to stay evenly moist, and a spray bottle or gentle mist can help with that. If your soil dries out, your plants will suffer.
  8. Maintain your garden. Always pick weeds from your garden, and add mulch to it if you live in a climate that will support it. Mulching can prevent weeds from taking over your beautiful garden. When removing weeds, be sure to pull out the root in order to avoid regrowth. Weeds can create overcrowding, which will negatively affect crops growing nearby.
  9. Till and fertilize your soil. You’ll want to keep your garden soil rich by tilling it and adding fertilizer as necessary. You can opt to make your own fertilizer, or purchase it from a retail store.
  10. Enjoy the fruits of your labor – literally! Only pick your crops when you plan to use them. Root crops should be pulled when they are edible. Now you can enjoy your harvest! 

Every garden is wonderfully unique. While the steps for planting a garden are generally the same, specifics will vary based on where you live. 

Want more gardening tips? Check out the ultimate plant propagation guide!

Tips for successfully planting a garden

  • Space your crops and flowers properly to prevent overcrowding.
  • Using high-quality seeds yield better harvest results.
  • Water the garden properly to avoid drying out or drowning your crops.
  • Plant your garden based on The Farmer’s Almanac planting calendar

These tips may seem minuscule, but they make a massive difference in the results of your garden.

Final Thoughts

how and when to plant a garden

Vegetables have never tasted sweeter than when you grow them yourself!

Planting a garden is a fun, rewarding and relaxing hobby for anyone! Whether you have a massive yard or small space, it’s possible to create a beautifully customized garden.

Remember to do your planting based on your climate and region. Backyard garden plants will thrive best when planted during proper timing throughout the year.

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