What’s Growing On: First time gardeners

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 9:11 AM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -With so many people now working from home and spending more time isolated, gardening may be the exact type of activity you are considering starting. If that’s the case, we have some suggestions for how to get started.

“First thing I would recommend for anybody that’s getting started with gardening is to take a look at your landscape. Where do you have a lot of sun? Where is the deep shade? Where do you have water available?” says UF/IFAS Alachua County Extension horticulture agent Taylor Clem. “And then you can start to select plants that do well in those locations.”

Clem also advises you to check your soil type, which will help determine which plants or vegetables would grow best in your yard. In terms of tools, there’s really not a ton needed. Clem recommends a soil knife, because you can make little furrows in the soil, you can dig down, cut roots, and clear things out really easily. He also recommends a garden trowel, a good set of pruning shears, and of course a solid shovel.

There are also some common mistakes that first time gardeners make, according to Clem.

“I always say it’s we over-love plants and that can actually make things worse because when we feel like a plant is stressed, we want to add water,” says Clem. “Or maybe want to put some extra nutrients on it like fertilizer, but in actuality that can make it worse for those plants. So make sure that we put time on our side and just make sure that we don’t overwater and over fertilizer our plants because that’s actually going to attract more pests in.”

If you are a first time gardener and have questions or concerns, the master gardener program through the UF/IFAS extension office has a help desk that you can call for advice on gardening problems.

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