Beginning Gardener Tips

After going on and on about wanting one for over a year now, David finally built me a garden!

backyard garden- before

The only problem was, now I’d have to figure out what to do with it. So I did what any good newbie would do. I researched plants, read about timing, asked the experts…

Not. (Yes, that 90’s joke? I still use it.)

Instead, I  went to the store and bought vegetable plants I thought sounded fun and tasty. Then, I planted them.

backyard garden- planting

…with a glove that had a hole in one finger. Can you guess which one?

backyard garden- holey gloves

So now I’m checking on them daily and crossing my fingers all goes well. I’m hoping that I’ll learn more through trial and error than I could learn through reading, but there are a few tips I’ve heard that I plan to use.

Plants root better when you plant them in a messy hole. Don’t dig it out smoothly and neatly.

backyard garden- baby black cherry tomato plant

Distilled white vinegar will kill weeds. Simply spray on weeds until they die.

backyard garden- baby red bell pepper plant

Read the seed envelope and pay attention to the depth and distance they tell you. I planted some seeds, pumpkin and spinach, so we’ll see if I have any success!

backyard garden- baby zucchini plant

Grow what you will eat. I was tempted to get banana peppers, but have no clue what I’d actually to with them, so I skipped it and gt okra instead.

backyard garden- baby okra plant

Slugs hate caffeine, so put circles of used coffee grounds around emerging seedlings to keep slugs away.

backyard garden- baby jalapeno plant

Don’t worry about ants. They might annoy the roots, but won’t kill plants.

backyard garden- baby strawberry plant

backyard garden- planted

Do you have any gardening wisdom to share with this newbie?



  1. says

    You might want to put chicken wire or some kind of barrier around your garden so critters don’t help themselves to your buffet. The biggest problem I have is birds making their nests in my planters and rabbits digging through and killing my plants.

  2. Morgan says

    Looks awesome!!!!

    I agree with Danielle. I planted corn one year and was so excited when I actually had cobs growing. The next thing I knew, bunnies had eaten every single corn cob! GRR!

  3. Dana says

    It’s hard to tell from the photo, but how big is the bed? It sounds like it must be huge for all the plants you put in it, but it doesn’t look that big. Also looks really shaded and tomatoes and peppers LOVE the sunshine. Regardless, it sounds like you’ll be eating well come August! :)

    • says

      I added another pic of it fully planted. I hope there is enough room for all the plants and that I didn’t get carried away- haha!
      Yes, I was worried about sunshine, but it gets about 6 hours of full mid-day sun. Hoping it’s enough. Guess I’ll find out :)

  4. Stefanie says

    I’m jealous! We just moved into a new place and I’m hoping I will be able to do a garden next year. I’m all about trial and error with any kind of gardening. Its the best way to learn and its fun to play around with different things you might not try if you “knew” it wouldn’t work! :)

  5. jessica says

    You can fill a gallon jug with water and set it in your garden,this keeps the bunnies from eating the plants.My mom has been doing this for years.I finally did it this year and the bunnies have stayed out so far.Garden looks great!!

  6. says

    Ahh, I’m so jealous! This is the 3rd year I’ve been bugging and annoying the heck out of my husband for a garden to no avail. We’d need raised beds and fencing around it with all the deer, fox and bunnies on our property so it’s a little more of an undertaking but I’m showing him this post regardless to help push him along 😉

  7. says

    I was told by an older local mooresville couple to buy garlic that comes in clips (?) that you can clip on to plants stems and it for sure will keep bunnies away. So far my dog has been doing a good job but she can’t work 24/7 lol Good luck! Can’t wait to see progress

  8. says

    Kevin and I have had a square foot garden for our third year now – they are so awesome! here are a few tips.

    veggies that taste good together also grow really well together. plant your tomatoes right next to basil and they’ll grow like champs.

    the scent of a dog helps keep the animals away, so try to encourage koda to do her business close to the garden area. it seriously works!

    if you planted strawberries, do not pull them out after this year! they need to stay in place so the roots can regenerate, get stronger, and grow even better berries next year. thyme, rosemary and oregano are also good garden investments because they last throughout the year. and if you plant mint, grow it in a separate pot because it will grow like a weed and take over your garden.

    lastly, we planted cantaloupe two years ago and it grew like crazy — and we only got one measly melon! if you plant any melons, just make sure there is space for the vines to spread out or they will try to overtake the garden.

    (oh – and with our amazing NC weather, you can totally garden throughout the year! when it starts to get cool again, plant some lettuce, spinach, kale, etc!)

  9. says

    Thanks so much for these tips!! I really want to start a garden, and I’ve been looking into it. Your garden is looking great so far :)

  10. says

    We have to fence off our garden or the bunnies eat everything! The one thing I recommend is, if the little stick thingy tells you plant 18″ apart, then plant 18″ apart. It does not mean 12″. Despite the fact I know this, I still try to cram too many veggies into too little space and end up with a jungle. Good luck with your garden! I love garden updates so keep ’em coming!

  11. says

    I really want to start a garden now that we’re in the new house. I’ll need to refer back to this post when I finally start planting! Thanks for sharing. Oh, and send those banana peppers my way if you don’t want them … I love banana peppers on my pizza! 😉

  12. Elizabeth says

    We have a raised bed that my husband built, and although the plants are growing, I KNOW they should be bigger by now… you need to make sure your veggies are getting FULL SUN! Ours is getting too much shade… and water them everyday! Last year I got too lazy (before we bought a soaker hose) and all the tomatoes were split b/c of inconsistent watering. The ones the chipmunks didn’t eat that is! :(
    Good luck!


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