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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Weiss

Essential Tips for a Thriving Garden

Spring is here and now is the perfect time to start prepping your garden. We love spending time in our backyard garden, learning how to grow our own food has been such a great experience for the whole family! I’ve learned a lot since we started our first small garden over 10 years ago, and I’m going to share all of my best tips with you!

Find Your Garden Zone: 

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at their location. We are zone 9b here in Northern California, you can find out what your zone is by using this map.

Starting Seedlings Indoors:

One of the best ways to get a head start on your garden is by starting seedlings indoors. All you need are some seeds, soil, containers, and plenty of natural light. Try using egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, or even old yogurt cups as containers. Once your seedlings have sprouted, make sure to gradually introduce them to outdoor conditions to prevent shock when it's time to transplant them into the garden.

Getting the Outside Garden Ready:

Before you start planting outdoors, it's essential to prepare your garden beds. Clear away any debris, weeds, or old plant remnants from the previous season. Loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller to improve drainage and aeration. Consider adding compost or organic fertilizer to enrich the soil and provide essential nutrients for your plants.

Recommended Plants for Growing:

When it comes to choosing what to grow in your garden, the possibilities are endless. For veggies, you can't go wrong with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, radish and carrots. These plants are relatively easy to grow and are perfect for beginners. If you're looking to add some fruits to your garden, consider strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and dwarf fruit trees. Herbs like basil, parsley, mint, rosemary, and thyme are also great additions to any garden and can be grown in containers or directly in the ground. 

Check out the Quick Glance Printable for crops to grow from easiest to difficult and when their season to grow is. 

Crops to Grow from Easiest to Difficult:
  • Lettuce, radishes, spinach, and green beans (Spring)

  • Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and carrots (Spring/Summer)

  • Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and onions (Summer)

  • Potatoes, peas, and melons (Summer/Fall)

  • Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts (Fall)

Gardening Essentials/Must-Have Tools:

To make your gardening experience as smooth as possible, here's a list of essential tools you'll need: 

  • Garden gloves

  • Hand trowel

  • Garden fork or tiller

  • Pruning shears

  • Watering can or hose

  • Garden rake

  • Compost bin or pile

  • Wheelbarrow or garden cart

  • Sun hat or gardening hat

  • Knee pads or kneeling pad

Printable Lists:

To help you stay organized, I've created printable lists for your gardening needs:

  • Planting To-Do List: Keep track of what needs to be planted and when, including tasks like soil preparation, seed starting, and transplanting.

  • Planting Essentials List: Make sure you have all the necessary tools and supplies, including seeds, soil amendments, fertilizers, and pest control products.

  • Planting by Season List: Know which crops to plant during spring, summer, and fall, including both vegetables and fruits.


With these tips, you'll be well on your way to a successful garden season. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, there's always something new to learn and discover in the garden. So roll up your sleeves, grab your shovel, and get planting!

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