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Don't have a spot with that much sunlight?

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There are plants that thrive with less, but most don't flower as much or bear fruit. Try Burpee's Sunlight Calculator to find out how much sun your garden gets. Think ahead, too, about watering. Plants live by their roots. Roots live in the soil.


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Most soil around houses isn't ideal for plants, so improving it is the most powerful thing you can do to have a successful garden. By adding organic matter.


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What's that? It's just broken-down plant parts, usually in the form of compost, shredded leaves or composted manure. Organic matter does wonders for soil: It holds water for plants' root in dry times and also allows excess rain to flow freely away. It breaks dense soil up to make spaces for roots to grow and air to reach them. And it provides food for many organisms that live in soil and provide healthy nutrients to your plants.

Before you continue...

Keep your first garden manageable so you don't get overwhelmed. For beginners, a plot 3 feet by 3 feet is a good size. Or plant no more than half a dozen good-sized pots. That's enough to provide a satisfying harvest of herbs, greens or easy vegetables while you get a feel for the amount of time and effort it takes to water and weed.

Many vegetables need to be started from seed several weeks before it's safe to plant them outside. For beginners, it's easiest to let someone else do that in a commercial greenhouse and buy the small plants often called "transplants" or "starts". Burpee sells garden ready vegetable plants , flower plants , herb plants , fruit plants and perennials and delivers them at your proper planting time.

How to Start a Garden - Gardening Tips for New Gardeners - Burpee

When's that? In late spring. More like, space is no issue. Start with long beans and brinjals, then, once you have some experience, have a go at tropical plants such as pandan screwpine , lemongrass, cherry tomatoes or Thai basil.

Cucumbers in Containers

For easy-grow leafy greens, opt for kangkong water spinach , kailan Chinese kale and chye sim Chinese flowering cabbage. Quick-to-grow greens, that is. Edible plants need about four to six hours of direct sunlight. Also, get about 10 litres of potting soil and 10 litres of compost mix.

Edible gardens need to be watered, pruned and checked for diseases and pests such as aphids and mealy bugs, and much more. Additionally, garden upkeep involves transplanting seedlings.

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And you will need to remove weeds and place stakes in the soil, especially if you are growing climbers. Many think it will lead to faster plant growth, but is actually akin to force-feeding the plant an excessive amount. If possible, use organic fertiliser such as compost, which you can make in your own home. Overwatering is also an issue.


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  • Touch the soil to feel if it is still damp from the previous time it was watered. If it is, skip one watering session so as not to drown the plant.

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    It sounds simple enough, but inexperienced or first-time gardeners often worry about their lack of a green thumb, and, Cynthea says, most of her clients give up after just one failed attempt. Her advice?