How To GardenLearn how to plant and care for vegetables, flowers and more, even if you're a beginning gardener
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Gardening is about finding the right combination of sunlight, fertile soil, and water to make your plants thrive. It's also about fulfilling your passion, so select plants you love. Use the resources here as a starting point, and in no time you’ll have a beautiful garden, no matter what level of gardening experience you have.On this page:
- GARDENING BASICS
- PROBLEM SOLVERS: PESTS, DISEASES, WEEDS
- HOW TO GROW ANNUALS, PERENNIALS, SHRUBS, BULBS
- HOW TO GROW VEGETABLES & HERBS
- HOW TO GROW GORGEOUS FLOWERS
- HOW TO GARDEN INDOORS
- GARDEN-INSPIRED DIY PROJECTS
Beginning gardeners are often intimidated by the process of how to start a garden and care for it successfully—after all, there's a lot involved. From amending your soil with high-quality organic matter to pruning shrubs, you'll find answers and advice for essentail gardening tasks.
Flourishing gardens begin at the roots. Here are the ground rules for preparing your soil.
Compare types of fertilizers and learn when and how to feed your plants for a healthier garden.
Get the dirt on composting: the benefits, what to include (and what not to), and finding the right balance.
Why you should mulch, how to mulch, and what are the best types of mulch to use in your garden.
Discover which irrigation system is best for watering your garden.
Make your plants healthier and more productive by mastering these four basic techniques.
The basic tools that every gardener-beginner or advanced-needs in their shed.
Advice for daily and seasonal care and maintenance for garden tools, including cleaning and storage.
Containers are as complicated as they are chic—and worth every minute of your effort.
13 tips to help you water your summer garden properly, from what time to water to how to keep moisture in the soil.
No matter where you live, there are tasks that will help your garden get through winter and off to a beautiful spring.
PROBLEM SOLVERS - PESTS, DISEASES, WEEDS
Learn how to safely and naturally deal with common pests, diseases, and weeds that can wreak havoc on your garden.
12 plants to grow not only their color and fragrance, but also their ability to keep mosquitoes away.
Eliminate aphids from your plants and garden naturally and safely.
Are grubs eating your plant roots? Discover safe, environmentally friendly ways to get rid of them.
Learn ways to deal with Japanese beetle infestations safely and naturally.
Keep indoor and outdoor plants healthy by eradicating these tiny, common pests.
Humane ways to keep squirrels from wreaking havoc in your garden.
Have a garden full of plants that deer love to eat? Replace them with these attractive, easy-care alternatives.
Humane and natural gopher control methods that will keep them from destroying your garden.
Safe and natural ways to keep these cute little critters from devouring your garden’s plants.
Design plans for a vegetable garden to keep out deer, rabbits, voles and groundhogs. From Karen Chapman, LeJardinet Designs.
10 ways to control weeds naturally and keep them out of your lawn and garden.
Learn ways to safely and effectively treat and prevent powdery mildew in your garden.
HOW TO GROW ANNUALS, PERENNIALS, SHRUBS, BULBS
Learn how to grow different types of plants and their uses in the garden. Understand the differences between them and what growing conditions they do best in.
How to use annual plants and flowers to add seasonal personality to your garden.
How to use perennial flowers and plants for year-after-year color in your garden.
A guide to growing gorgeous shrubs to provide structure, winter interest, and seasonal color in your garden.
Understanding the difference between annuals & perennials, and why they are both an essential part of your garden.
Learn how to properly buy, plant, grow and care for spring- and summer-blooming bulbs.
HOW TO GROW VEGETABLES & HERBS
Many beginning gardeners find the process of growing their own food rewarding, and not as difficult as they anticipated. Whether you’re looking to start with just a few tomatoes or you’re planning to create a full-fledged kitchen garden, doing your homework on how to plant, care for, and harvest your crops will be valuable.
Get ideas for creating an edible garden that will produce fresh vegetables many months of the year.
Follow these 6 steps and you'll be on your way to growing your own food.
Learn how to lay out and build raised beds to grow veggies right at home.
From artichokes to turnips, there are plenty of veggies to grow in your spring garden.
Spice up your landscape and kitchen with these indoor & outdoor herb garden ideas.
Liven up you garden and taste palette with these tried-and-true favorites.
HOW TO GROW GORGEOUS FLOWERS
Starting a flower garden doesn’t have to be daunting—whether you choose to grow from seed or young plants. Plan your own flower garden, get suggestions for easy-to-grow flowers, and soon you’ll have lovely flowers everywhere.
Learn how to start a flower garden with advice on soil testing, color choices, and planting flowers for cutting.
Discover some of the best easy-to-grow plants to grow in your first garden.
Ten essential steps for ensuring beautiful rose bushes year after year.
HOW TO GARDEN INDOORS
When winter arrives, your gardening doesn’t have to stop. Try your hand at growing a few plants indoors and you’ll find that it isn’t too hard. Learn how to keep your houseplants happy with proper care and placement.
You can fill every room of your home with greenery by choosing these versatile, easy-care houseplants.
Learn how to make a terrarium, the best plants for terrariums, care, maintenance and more.
If you enjoy houseplants, consider cultivating a window garden—ideal for showing off plants in the winter.
Learn how to get branches of flowering trees and shrubs to blooming early in just four easy steps.
Early fall is the time to get bulbs ready for winter blooms indoors.
GARDEN-INSPIRED DIY PROJECTS
Looking for a fun project? Get how to info for using flowers, branches, and other items from your garden to create clothing, décor, and more.
DIY garden projects to try: from a garden under glass to an easy-to-make water garden, you'll find something you love.
Use the plants in your garden to create beautiful patterned fabric that can be made into clothing or a framed work of art.
A step-by-step guide about how to create striking flower arrangemenets at home.
COMMON GARDENING TERMS
Basic Types of Plants:
- Annual: Plants that grow, flower, set seed, and die all in one growing season
- Perennial: Plants that come back year after year; some are evergreen, some are deciduous
- Shrub: Woody plants that have several main stems; some are evergreen, some are deciduous
Evergreen: Plants that do not go dormant and keep their leaves through winter
Deciduous: Plants that go dormant and drop their leaves in winter
Zone: There are 11 different growing zones in the U.S. and Canada based on the lowest average temperature each area receives during winter. Knowing what zone you are gardening in allows you to pick plants that will withstand the coldest expected temperature for your area. Read more: Zoning in on Hardiness.
Exposure: The amount of sun or shade a plant needs
- Full sun: 6 or more hours of direct sunlight each day
- Partial sun/shade: 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day
- Full shade: Less than 4 hours of direct sunlight each day
- Dappled shade: A mixture of sun and shade, usually under an open tree; similar to partial shade
Habit: Refers to the general structure or shape of the mature plant
- Climbing: Plants that climb fences, trellises, or structures (i.e., vines)
- Clump forming: Plants that form clumps of foliage, often spreading to form more clumps
- Mounded: Plants with a rounded shape, usually wider than tall
- Spreading: Plants that are low-growing and spread along the ground, rooting at nodes along the stem
- Trailing: Plants that trail along the ground or cascade out of containers, but do not root from the stem
- Upright: Plants that are taller than wide, with generally straight sides
Height & spread: The estimated size of a mature plant
First or last frost date: The average date for your area for the first frost in fall or the last frost in spring
Native: A plant that has grown naturally over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular area. These plants are well adapted to their native growing conditions (soil, climate, water, etc.) and are beneficial to their local pollinators and wildlife.
Invasive: A non-native plant that becomes established in an area outside it's native region and spreads rapidly, to the point of disrupting the native environment and ecosystem.
For more common gardening terms, see this Dictionary of Gardening Terms from Proven Winners.