The spring season is the perfect time to get gardening, and the rich soil in the Greater Reading Area is ideal for growing personal veggies, spices, and herbs.
Though the weather still hasn’t been very consistent here in Southeast, PA, every local knows that steady, warmer, brighter days are just around the corner! Now is the perfect time to start that garden you’ve always wanted, so courtesy of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, here are five great gardening tips for when you’re just starting out.
Start Small and Grow
The fastest way that new gardeners get discouraged is by trying to take on too much, too early. A massive garden may seem impressive, but by mid-summer when everything is in full bloom, the constant care can leave you tired, sore, and impossibly overwhelming.
The best way to build confidence in your green thumb is by starting small, even if it’s just a raised bed or a few small patio containers. Try choosing just a few plants you really like and grow them in a small, easy-to-maintain space.
This keeps things fun and simple, and affords you the opportunity to grow into your space at your own pace. Once you have a few seasons under your belt, you’ll know exactly what you’re comfortable with.
Grow What You Eat
So many beginning gardeners often fall into the trap of wanting to plant every single vegetable they may eventually have the opportunity to use, whether they’re fans of the food or not!
While there is something enticing about flipping through the abundance of locally harvested seeds here in the Lehigh Valley, it’s always smarter to stick to growing what you actually want to eat.
A garden that’s too diverse can quickly leave you feeling overwhelmed, so just start out with a few core favorites, like tomatoes, cucumbers, or carrots.
Spend Time With Your Plants
Caring for plants is like caring for children, they need lots of time and attention to reach their full potential! Spending just five to ten minutes simply walking through your garden each day is a great way to improve your mood, your health, and the health of your plants.
One of the best ways to keep your garden weed-free is by spending just a few minutes picking at the little things as you walk. Additionally, spending 10 minutes per day working on your garden is a lot more manageable than 70 minutes in one sitting per week working in your garden.
Try not to let your garden go for more than a day or two. Weeds can spring up out of nowhere and leave you with a real mess when you finally return.
Learn the Importance of Compost
One of the best things a new gardener can is learn to use compost! As any experienced gardener in Berks County, PA will tell you, this is the secret to truly great soil.
Compost holds all of the nutrients your plants need to thrive. It keeps your soil loose, workable, and energized. All throughout the Greater Reading Area, compost is used to keep our soil rich and fertile.
With it, you will be on the fast track to your very own thriving Garden of Eden, without it, your dirt can become dry and tired. There are many great places to get your hands on high-quality compost in and around Reading, PA, so don’t miss your opportunity to learn from the best!
Watch Your Watering
One of the most common mistakes new gardeners make is miscalculating watering. Too little water can have your plants shrivel up and die, too much water can oversaturate them, turning them yellow and the base and suffocating their ability to grow.
The best watering schedule is every other day when your plants are young and just starting out. If it is particularly hot out, try upping the dosage just a little. As your plants begin to grow and thrive on their own, cut back. Watering every day can prevent roots from heading deeper into the soil and establishing a permanent foundation.
Deeper roots mean that plants can tolerate dramatic swings in moisture and temperature much better, as longer roots provide better access to nutrients.
The Greater Reading Area has been a proud center of gardening and horticulture for centuries, and this is evident in the many abundant local farm stands, greenhouses, and produce markets found scattered throughout the region.
Locally sourced seeds, compost, and plants are a great way to get a local garden started, so don’t hesitate to check out everything the local area has to offer!