If you are thinking about or have decided to grow a garden for the first time, you may be feeling excited but a little unsure. This is natural. Gardening is about growing, and growth requires planning, intention, attention and nurturing. However, do not let any hesitation keep you from trying it. Whether a flower garden or vegetable garden, you will need to take extra special care of your plants in order for them to thrive, and that is something you can learn to do.

Regularly Water

With your garden outside, watering will not always have to be manually done. That is one of the joys of gardening. Nature will help take care of it for you. However, nature also does not work in such a way that it is mindful of the fact that your garden needs regular watering. This means that you will have to account for the rain but also account for the absence of it as well. Depending on the weather, the source of your garden’s water may be your water hose or irrigation management system if you decide to install such a system. No matter the method, you must pay close attention to when your garden is getting water and whether it is getting enough so it can thrive. 

Plan To Protect

In order to protect your hard work of planting and watering, you should have a plan for how you will prevent uninvited guests from stealing and destroying your hard work. The methods you choose to employ regarding pests–both insect and rodent–will be up to you and your preferences, but you will need a plan or your garden will not survive. This is part of the attention that must be paid in order to have a garden that produces. It is not the most fun part of gardening, but it is a part nonetheless. 

Attentively Prune

Another aspect of gardening that is important is pruning. Although an under-discussed aspect of gardening, pruning is a valuable part of gardening. It is not necessarily required, but a garden that has its dead leaves removed will look more beautiful and be more healthy, especially for flowers or flowering plants. So, pay attention to your plants because although pruning may seem painful, it is actually an important way to care for the health of your plants.

Intentionally Harvest

For vegetable gardens and fruit trees and bushes, it is important that you not let your hard work go to waste by not harvesting the fruits of your labors. Part of gardening is learning when the produce is ready to be harvested, so learn what ripe produce looks like and be ready to harvest it before it can get too ripe and is lost. 

Plan To Prepare

When you begin harvesting your fruits and vegetables, you must also know how you handle the harvest. That is, you must know what you plan to do with the harvested fruits and vegetables. Will you freeze or can or both? Will you make jams, pickle some of the vegetables, or prepare some to eat right away? Having a plan for what you will do when you harvest your produce is the best way to avoid the waste that can occur if it goes bad. If you have an abundance or just feel generous, giving some of your harvest to your family, friends, and neighbors is a great way to avoid waste as well.

Gardening is a way to watch, in real time, your hard work produce something good for you and your loved ones. Even with the best tips and suggestions, gardening is a task that is learned by doing. You may make mistakes, but nature, thankfully, tends to be forgiving. If you fall asleep without watering one night, that is not the worst thing in the world–but do not make a habit of it. Gardening is an act of caring for living things, so you will need to tend to your garden with a delicate and attentive hand. If you do so, you will be rewarded abundantly.