How to Start a Garden This Spring + Small Space Gardening Ideas

Image of three stages of planting in a garden with a brown banner that reads how to start a garden this spring.

You can garden almost anywhere—whether it be a container garden on the patio, a large garden in the yard, or a small space in a local community garden. Here are some tips on how to start a garden.

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Here are some tips to help you start a vegetable garden this spring.

Spring is almost here and many of us have got the gardening bug.

The rewards of gardening are many. But starting a garden can be daunting for a new gardener. Here are some tips for starting a garden in almost any small space around your home.

These tips will help you start a garden from scratch in almost any space—including container and raised bed gardens.

This post is all about starting a small space garden that lets you grow some of your favorite vegetables or herbs in almost any space.

What month should you start a garden?

When to start a garden depends on where you live and what the weather is usually like there. For warm season vegetables, like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplants, it is best to wait until after the last frost date in your area to start an outdoor garden.

Cool season veggies, like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, lettuce, and Swiss chard, can be grown during the cooler months of fall and spring. Here are some ideas on what to grow during spring or fall in a cool season garden.

Most vegetables grow best in a frost-free environment, however, so leave plenty of time on either side of your area’s frost start and frost end dates to grow herbs and vegetables during the summer. Vegetables to grow during the warm weather or summer season include cucumbers, eggplant, melons, tomatoes, and watermelon.

A farmer’s almanac can help you determine when the average first and last frost dates are in your area.

How much does it cost to start a garden?

When it comes to gardening, you may spend anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred or more dollars to start.

Purchasing materials and supplies can be one of the greatest costs of starting a garden. You may need to purchase containers, tools, soil, and plants or seeds.

You may be able to save on costs by renting or borrowing gardening tools from family and friends. You may also be able to get free seeds from people that you know who are gardeners.

Seed exchanges can be a way to acquire low cost or free and interesting seeds, by exchanging plant seeds with other gardeners.

If starting a garden at home is too expensive, consider joining a community gardening effort. Some organizations let you take home food that you help to grow.

How do I start designing a garden?

There are many ways to get ideas for designing a garden. Gardening books, magazines, and websites can be a great way to gain ideas for how to design your own small space garden at home.

Do your research.

Visit garden centers and nurseries, and talk to local gardeners for ideas about what grows best and how in your area. Consider how big you want your garden to be and what you hope to accomplish in your garden space.

Consider your garden space.

Are you starting a garden in containers on a patio or in a raised bed in the yard? Patio tomatoes can be grown with basil and lettuce in a large container, while a 4×4 raised bed can produce a lot of food for its size.

Herbs can be grown in small pots in a sunny window. Micro tomatoes can also be grown in pots indoors. If you don’t have enough sunlight to grow plants, a grow light can provide your plants with the light that they need to grow.

Some ideas for containers to use for gardening include: wooden crates or milk crates lined with landscape fabric to help contain the soil, food-grade 5-gallon buckets, and nursery pots.

Consider how much sunlight the plants will receive.

When choosing where to locate a garden, consider the amount of the sunlight that your plants will need to grow. Plants that produce fruit, like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, need 6 to 8 hours of full sun to grow and ripen fruit.

If you have a shady spot in your garden, grow leafy green vegetables, like arugula, chard, kale, and lettuce, which require less sunlight to grow—about 3 to 4 hours a day—and appreciate having a cooler spot to grow as temperatures heat up.

Use the time before the growing season to plan your garden space and collect tools and materials for growing your garden.

When should I plant tomatoes in my garden?

Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden vegetables to grow. Tomatoes are a warm season vegetable that are sensitive to frost and cold.

It is best to wait until after the last spring frost has passed before planting tomatoes in an outdoor garden. Late frosts can stunt tomato plant growth or even kill the plant.

Here are some tips on how to grow tomatoes in a garden.

How to Start a Small Space Garden

Here are some tips on starting a small space garden, whether it consists of a few pots on the patio, a plot at the communal garden, or a raised bed in the yard.

1—Decide what you would like to grow.

Popular garden vegetables include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and squash. There are many varieties to choose from. Do your research and talk to gardeners to find out what vegetables and herbs grow best in your hardiness zone.

2—Find a space.

You can grow vegetables and herbs in many surprising places, including inside food-grade buckets and on windowsills. If you have yard space, then a raised bed garden can make it easier to plan and contain a garden. One of our favorite things to do is to up-cycle empty coffee cans and yogurt containers to use for starting new vegetable plants and herbs.

3—Invest in garden tools.

Garden tools can help make starting and maintaining a garden easier. Common garden tools include

  • Cultivator. A cultivator can be used for breaking up hard pockets of soil when digging soil for a garden.
  • Gardening Gloves. Gardening gloves are one of the most useful tools to have in a garden. Heavy duty gardening gloves can help you to protect your hands, and they can also help to keep your hands somewhat clean as you’re gardening.
  • Garden Hoe. Garden hoes are useful for breaking up soil and removing weeds. They are one of the most useful tools for a garden.
  • Hand Trowel. A hand trowel is one of the most useful tools to have in a garden. Hand trowels can be used to scoop soil into pots, for digging in the garden, for planting flower bulbs in the garden
  • Pruning Shears. Pruning shears are used for trimming plants. They can be especially great to have when you grow tomatoes, since many tomato varieties benefit from being pruned to allow more sunshine to reach the plants and to help prevent disease. Pruning can also help to make your plants look tidy.
  • Rake. Rakes have many uses around the garden, especially when it comes to leveling soil and landscaping.
  • Shovel. A garden shovel is used for moving soil and other tasks around the garden.
  • Watering Can. A sturdy watering can is useful for watering plants, especially those that you grow in pots and containers.
  • Wheelbarrow. A wheelbarrow is useful for moving heavy things around the garden. Some gardeners also like to use wheelbarrows for growing sweet potatoes.

4—Start with healthy soil.

If you are growing in containers, use potting soil with good drainage to grow your plants. Bedding soil can be used to fill raised beds for gardening. Sandy loam soil, a mixture of clay, sand, and silt, is considered by some to be one of the best soils for growing vegetables.

If you are growing directly in-ground, consider using a soil test to determine what minerals—and in what quantity—are present or lacking in the soil. A soil test can also provide information about the chemical properties of soil, such as pH and lead content. A local university extension service can be a great source for finding out more information about the soil in your area.

5—Find plants and seeds.

If you are a new gardener or you are in a hurry to grow, starting with transplants can be an easy way to get started gardening. You can often find young plants at local nurseries and garden centers or at plant sales held by schools, churches, and libraries.

This post was all about tips on how to start a garden this spring.

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  • Photos by Greta Hoffman / Pexels
  • Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

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