Your First Garden


Gardening beginners are not quite sure what is important when determining where they should set up the new garden. If you follow these step-by-step gardening tips, you should soon have the ideal gardening spot ready to plant your seeds.

Finding the best spot for your garden

The greatest determining factor is the sun. While north corners do for ferns, certain wild flowers, and begonias, they are of little use as spots for a general garden.

Choose a southern exposure where the sun lies warm all day long. Southern exposure is ideal because the sun gives half time nearly to each side. To avoid lopsided plants, run your rows north and south so that the plants receive the sun’s rays all morning on the eastern side and all afternoon on the western side.

A garden which faces southeast gets little western sun. For best distribution of sunlight, run the rows northwest and southeast.

A northern exposure may mean an almost entire cut-off from sunlight, while northeastern and southwestern places always get uneven distribution of the sun’s rays, no matter how carefully this is planned.

Try getting the most sunlight as evenly distributed as possible for the longest period of time. If possible, use a diagram on paper to plan out your garden. Remember that you wish the sun to shine part of the day on one side of the plants and part on the other. Also planning saves time and unnecessary buying of seed.

New garden spots are likely to be found in two conditions: covered with turf or with rubbish. In large garden areas, the ground is ploughed and the sod turned under, but in small gardens remove the sod.

To remove the sod, stake and line off the garden spot. The line gives an accurate and straight course to follow. With a spade, cut the edges all along the line.

If your garden area is small, (4 ft by 18 or 20), mark it off like a checkerboard, cut the sod through with the spade, and remove. This could be done in two long strips cut lengthwise. When the turf is cut through, roll it up like a roll of carpet.

If the garden is large, divide it up into strips a foot wide and take off the sod as before.

What to do with the sod

1. Dig holes in your garden, turn the sod upside down and put the sod in this hole, and cover with soil, OR

2. Find an out-of-the-way spot, pack the sod grass side down one square on another, and leave it to rot. When rotted it makes a fine fertilizer.

Such a pile of rotting vegetable matter is called a compost pile. All through the summer add any old green vegetable matter to this. In the fall put the autumn leaves on it. This makes great compost for another season.

When the garden is large enough to plough, go over the ploughed space, pick out the large pieces of sod, shake well, and pack them up in a compost heap.

Always when spading, break up the big lumps. Ground used for planting must be very fine so that seeds can get very close to fine particles of soil. Large lumps leave large spaces which no tiny root hair can penetrate. A seed is left stranded in a perfect waste when planted in chunks of soil.

The rake is a great lump breaker, but if the soil still has large lumps in it, take the hoe. After lumps are broken, use the rake to make the bed fine and smooth and ready for planting.