Advice for New Gardeners

As part of her fieldwork among PGP gardeners, Sarah R. Taylor, our research partner from Northwestern University, asked participants with at least 1-2 years’ experience to offer advice to new gardeners just starting out. Here are the top 5 responses, summed up in easy-to-digest bites:

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1. Have fun!
Whether you’re the meticulous planning type or a spontaneous free spirit, don’t let your first garden plot intimidate you. Achieving maximum production doesn’t have to be your primary goal, especially your first season.

2. Plant what you like to eat.
Your favorite veggies will taste wonderful when they come from your own garden, so plant plenty of the things you love to eat and cook. You’ll find the experience deeply rewarding.

3. Experiment.
Consider trying something new or unfamiliar. You may find that you actually like certain veggies that you normally associate with bland store-bought varieties, which are often cultivated for qualities other than flavor.

Seed Swap

4. Grow from seeds.
Growing from seeds is actually much easier than you might think, and it’s cheaper, too! Plants grown indoors may lack the hardiness to survive outside or may suffer from the shock of being transplanted.

5. Prepare to fail, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Sometimes we make mistakes; sometimes there are conditions (such as weather, insects) that are simply out of our control. Don’t get discouraged: there are plenty of great resources available.