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Gardening In CT: Our Ideas For Starting Your Garden

two women residents tending the flower beds in the garden

Gardening in CT: Our Ideas for Starting Your Garden

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

With spring in full swing, Connecticut residents want to spend as much time as possible enjoying nature. Outdoor activities like walking and biking keep you active, but if you are looking for an activity to help you stay in shape and stimulate your mind, consider starting a garden. On top of the physical and mental work, gardening allows you to cultivate and shape beautiful scenery in your own backyard. Not sure where to begin with your first garden? We created a checklist of helpful tips to plan and implement your starter garden. It’s everything you need to start gardening in CT today!

Where Does Your Garden Go?

Most people start daydreaming about their garden before buying supplies. Start thinking about where you would like your garden to go. Consider how the garden would fit with the rest of your landscaping. For example, does your garden work best immediately beside the house, or would you like to create a separate landscaping oasis where you can be alone? Once you have a general idea of where you would ideally like your garden, think about the space logistically. Water and sunlight must be readily available for your garden. If you cannot run a water source out to a garden 100 feet from your house, the plants will soon wither and die. Although it varies by plant, most plants need about six hours of sunlight a day. A space that spends a large amount of the day in the shade of your home will not sustain your plants. Monitor the space you decide to use for a full day in early spring to ensure the plants have all the sunlight they need to flourish.

Garden Beds, Trellis, or In-Ground Planting?

Designate the garden area and then think about what sort of garden setup works best for you. Raised garden beds put plants within arm’s reach and prevent back pain from constant bending. These beds also allow you to mix custom soil, rather than tilling soil from the ground. A trellis is another option for beginning gardeners. Vine plants such as tomatoes work well with a trellis and need very little space to thrive. These vine plants allow you to decorate existing walls and add to these structures with beautiful flowers.

Pick Your Plants

Deciding what you want to grow is the next step in the gardening process. You may prefer gardens that supplement your diet with fresh herbs, vegetables, or fruits. Depending on the size of the space, it is tempting to try growing a little bit of everything. However, starting out small keeps you from getting in over your head and giving up on your garden. Instead, focus on a few key items you use most in your kitchen. If the local farmer’s market gives you easy and inexpensive access to items, you probably do not need to grow them. You can always start with a list of fruits and vegetables known to be successful for gardening in CT.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

A garden based on visual aesthetics usually focuses on floral additions. Some people decide on flowers that attract wildlife, such as butterflies and birds. With flower gardens, first decide whether perennials or annuals fit your vision. Pick the colors that make you happy and look best in a vase on your kitchen tables. Once you have your color palette picked out, narrow down your garden to the types of flowers that suit your vision.

Evaluate the Soil

Soil varies greatly even between neighboring yards. New England has a reputation for rocky, acidic soil, but sand and red mud can be found in parts of Connecticut. Start your garden with a firm grasp on the types of soil your plants need. If red clay or sand makes up most of your yard, you may need to move some plants to raised garden beds. Get your soil tested to find out the exact pH range. With a complete understanding of the foundation, you can begin deciding the next steps in your garden. Although sand and red clay can make planting more difficult, these soil types can be treated with compost and fertilizer to help plants take root and get the nutrients they need from the soil. Start a compost pile with dried grass clippings, old leaves, animal manure, and even leftover fruit and veggie scraps. The pile may have an unpleasant odor and could attract pests, so it is a good idea to keep it farther away from your home. It may not be visually appealing, but compost gives your garden a big nutrient boost.

Get the Tools of the Trade

When starting a hobby, having the right tools is key. It is easy to go overboard and buy the entire gardening aisle at your local supplier, but starting with just the basics prevents wasting money on unnecessary items. Use this checklist for buying supplies to tend your first garden:

  • Spade
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Garden Fork
  • Hand Weeder
  • Bypass Pruners
  • Hand Trowel
  • Long Rubber Hose with Brass Ends and A Sprayer
  • Gloves

Add these items to your list of needed soils, fertilizers, and seeds or plants. Although just the bare minimum, these few items will get your garden on the right path.

Record Yearly Garden Results

Keep records each year for your garden layout and the crop results. You want to be able to track how the soil reacted to each plant and if adjustments are needed for the next year. If a crop fails, make a note of the soil you used and other factors that could have contributed to it dying out. Write down specific vegetable varieties to reproduce your results in the coming year. Track fertilizers and any pest-repellant methods you used and how they affected your plants.

Keep out the Wildlife

Think about local wildlife that typically eats plants in your garden. Common pests include deer, rabbits, groundhogs, voles, squirrels, and chipmunks. Even the family dog can become a pest if he starts to dig unwanted holes. Consider putting up wood, metal, or electric garden fencing to keep wildlife from quickly destroying all your hard work. For those little critters that like to nibble at the leaves, consider a natural pesticide that will not harm your water or pets.

Set up a Gardening Schedule

To keep your garden beautiful and landscaped, set up a routine. You need to have a schedule, or your garden will quickly become overrun with weeds and pests. Set aside time each week that you fully dedicate to gardening in CT Value these appointments and avoid distractions that postpone your gardening time. Prioritizing your garden and monitoring the results helps you stay focused and become more proficient at gardening.

Use Social Media Gardening Tips

Get fun gardening ideas from social media sharing sites like Pinterest. People build beautiful gardens from inexpensive, renewable materials and share their process. Why not get the most out of others’ trial and error? Feel free to share your success stories on these sites, as well.

Whether your sole purpose for gardening in CT comes down to sustaining your diet, creating a visual backdrop, or providing some much-needed outdoor therapy, gardening gives you an active outlet during spring and summer months. Start a new hobby today by planning your first garden.

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