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6 Truths New Gardeners Need to Know


Starting a garden is fun but intimidating.  There’s so many things to learn and so many varieties of plants to try and grow.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Some of Your Plants Will Die

It might not even be your fault.  Poor germination, too much rain, not enough rain, or too many chilly days could all be the culprit.  Make sure you plant more than you think you’ll need.

You Need to Weed at Least Once a Week

Unless you’ve got an excellent no-till garden going, be prepared to weed often, especially until your plants are well established.

If you’ve started a garden from scratch where there was previously lawn, expect to be pulling weeds constantly for up to 4 years.

Garden Makeover
This is my actual yard. It took us around 9 hours to whip this space into shape.

You Will Accidentally Pull Good Plants and Let Weeds Flourish

Even the best of us mistake a small carrot plant for a weed.  Don’t feel bad, just live and learn.

This year my carrot seed blew all around the garden and I probably weeded half my crop until I realized what happened.

Related: 53 Perennials to Plant in Zone 3 (or Higher)

Some Vegetables are Just Hard to Grow From Seed

Peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach, I’m looking at you.  Depending on your soil, you’ll have better luck with some plants than others.  Some years a certain type of plant seems to do poorly for everyone in your area.

If it’s your first year gardening, you need to read my opinion on the 10 best vegetables to grow, and 5 to avoid.

Join a local gardening group in person or online if you can.  You’ll learn so much and build relationships with more experienced gardeners.  Can’t find one?  Join the Growing Roots Gardening Community on Facebook.  We’d love to help you out and cheer you on.

P.S.- The easiest-to-grow plants for me are potatoes, onions, peas, beans, and zucchini.

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There’s No “Right Way” to Garden

Sure, some practices are better than others and you’re going to make mistakes.  Whether you use chemicals or not, square foot garden or plant in rows, till or no-till, you’ll still have a garden that produces food.

Does your garden get lots of light and water?  Something will grow.

Your Garden Will Bring You Much Joy

There’s a certain happiness that comes from keeping things alive that’s hard to explain.  I love going out in my yard every single day to see how the plants are doing.  There’s always a new surprise to be found!

Eating food you have started from seed is deeply satisfying.

I come from a farming background, and putting my hands in the earth feels like connecting with my family members and my heritage.  Even if that’s not your personal background, by the simple act of gardening you’ll be connected to thousands of generations before you who grew their own food.

More experienced gardeners, is there anything you’d like to add?  I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

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While you're learning how to grow your new vegetable garden, there's a few truths and tips every beginner should know. Hint: you need to water and weed, and you'll probably pull out a few good plants along the way. #gardening #vegetablegardening #beginnergardener #gardentips



Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!