Are you thinking about starting a garden? Looking for some easy tips to help you as a beginner?

One of the first things people turn to when they start homesteading is growing their own vegetables. Gardening can be a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of hard work, too.

If you’re new to gardening, you might feel a bit overwhelmed and unsure where to start. That’s why it’s so important to start small!

My first vegetable garden I mostly remember as a disaster. I knew nothing, planted too much, and didn’t even live right where the garden was!

The next year, I scaled back to just a few potted plants, and did much better with my tiny garden. I’ve expanded every year since, learning more each year.

Top 10 Easy Gardening Tips for Beginners

The first thing to keep in mind is sunlight. Most vegetables need at least six hours of sun exposure per day, so place your garden in a spot that gets plenty of sun.

Once you’ve got your sunny spot picked out, it’s time to start growing some food! Here are 10 gardening tips for beginners that I’ve picked up along my gardening journey to help get you started in the right direction.

10 easy gardening tips for beginners by Crooked Path Homestead

Know Your Gardening Zone and Frost Dates

Before you start a garden, it’s important to know your gardening zone. This will help you choose plants that grow well in your climate and ensure that they will thrive in your garden.

You can find your gardening zone by using the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The lower the zone number, the colder the climate.

I live in zone 7, so I can grow almost anything. Warmer zones may have difficulty growing some cool-weather crops, and colder zones may deal with much shorter growing seasons.

But the most important thing to know are your frost dates.

Your last and first frost dates determine when you plant your crops. Planting dates are given in relation to your last average spring frost and first average fall frost. You can find your frost dates using an online calculator like this one.

Start Small

As a beginner gardener, it’s important to start small. You might be tempted to create a large garden with a variety of plants, but this can quickly become overwhelming.

I did exactly that with my first garden, and it was a spectacular failure! So please learn from my mistake!

Focus on a few plants that are easy to grow and maintain.

Pepper plants, sage, and mint planted in pots

Try planting in pots with herbs such as basil, parsley, or mint. Or easy-to-grow vegetables like lettuce, peas, green beans, and cucumbers. These plants don’t require a lot of space and can be grown in containers or small raised beds.

Starting small also allows you to learn about the plants you’re growing and how to care for them. You can gradually add more plants as you gain experience and confidence.

Test and Amend Your Soil

If you want to grow a successful garden, it’s important to start with healthy soil. Testing your soil can help you determine its composition and what amendments it needs to grow healthy plants.

You can buy an at-home soil test kit, or send a sample to a lab for testing. You’ll want to know the pH level as well as the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) levels.

Once you know this information you can add amendments to adjust the pH level and add specific nutrients if the nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium is depleted.

Adding finished compost to your soil will also increase the organic composition and overall health of your garden.

I recommend testing your soil once a year to maintain a healthy garden.

Choose the Best Plants for Beginners

Some plants are easier to grow than others. Select plants that are easy to grow. Some good plants to grow include peppers, cucumbers, and lettuce.

Pick vegetables you already know you like to eat. You don’t want to go to the trouble of growing something, only to discover you don’t like eating it.

Another thing to consider is whether you want to grow plants from seeds or from seedlings.

If you can afford it, I would recommend buying plants for tomatoes and peppers since sowing them directly in your garden is likely to take too long to get the most out of your growing season. You’ll have a lot less frustration starting with seedlings.

Don’t plant carrots or peas as seedlings, as these plants don’t transplant well and are best sown directly in your garden.

Peas are easy to plant directly in your garden and grow and home-grown peas taste amazing! I highly recommend trying them in your first spring or fall garden.

When you’ve developed a little confidence, try starting some seedling yourself indoors. 

Water and Fertilize

Water your plants regularly to keep the soil moist. The frequency of watering depends on the type of plant, the size of the pot, and the climate. As a general rule, you should water your plants when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Use a watering can or a hose with a gentle spray nozzle to avoid damaging the plants. As much as possible, water at the base of the plants to avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can cause fungal diseases.

Avoid watering your plants during the hottest part of the day, as this can cause the water to evaporate before it reaches the roots.

Fertilize your plants every 2-4 weeks with a balanced fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the label to avoid over-fertilizing, which can harm the plants.

hands on a pile of dirt
Photo by Alfo Medeiros on

Use Mulch

Mulch is a layer of material that is spread over the soil surface around plants. It helps to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and prevent soil erosion.

Organic mulches like straw, and wood chips decompose over time and add nutrients to the soil.

Apply a layer of mulch that is 2-3 inches deep. Avoid piling mulch around the stems or trunks of plants as this can cause rotting.

Remove Weeds Regularly

Weeds compete with your plants for water and nutrients, and can quickly take over your garden if left unchecked. This is why it’s so important to remove them from your garden regularly.

Make sure you get the entire root system, or the they will just grow back. If the soil is dry, it can be helpful to water the area first to make it easier to pull the weeds out.

You can use a hoe to quickly chop off the tops of the weeds, but be careful not to damage your plants in the process.

Be Present In Your Garden

Spending quality time in your garden has two-fold purpose. You want to be able to enjoy your garden! It’s restful to just let yourself “be” in nature, and your garden is the perfect place.

You also want to be aware of what’s going on in your garden so you’re prepared to take action. Maybe your plants need more water, or it’s time to prune your tomatoes. You won’t know these things if you’re not paying attention.

Finally get a handle on your grocery bill! Make your food budget stretch further with these awesome tips! Top 7 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (#4 May Surprise You!)

Take a walk around your garden and observe your plants and look for any signs of pests and diseases. Identify the insects you see so you know what is a beneficial insect and what is a danger to your expected harvest.

And take pictures–you’ll want them when you start talking to your gardening buddies. They’re also an easy way to track dates for your garden records.

Keep a Record

Keeping a record of your gardening activities is important if you want to track your progress and learn from your successes and failures. A gardening journal is a great way to keep track of what you’ve done and what you plan to do in the future.

In your journal, you can record the dates of the first and last frost in your area, draw out plans for your garden, and jot down plants that you’d like to plant in the next season.

You can also keep a record of weather events that happened, write down your soil conditions every year, and any amendments you made. Check out this digital journal from my Etsy shop.

Remember Gardening Is a Skill

Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts at gardening don’t yield the results you were hoping for. Learning to garden is a skill that takes time, patience, and practice to develop.

It’s important to remember that gardening is a learning process and that each season presents new challenges and opportunities.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Gardening is a social activity, and there are many resources available to help you learn and grow.

Consider joining a gardening club or taking a class at your local garden center. You can also seek advice from experienced gardeners in online forums or through social media.


I hope these 10 easy gardening tips help you feel more confident as a beginner! By now, you should have a solid understanding of the basics of gardening and feel confident enough to start your own garden.

Remember, gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby that requires patience, persistence, and a little bit of trial and error.

As a beginner, it’s important to start small and choose plants that are easy to grow. That way you can enjoy your harvest as it comes in, regardless of how big or little it is.

And most importantly, have fun! Gardening is a great way to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors.

Hope these tips have been helpful to you. Happy growing!

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