Want to Start a Backyard Garden?

My Top Tips for Planting Season

Last March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the whole country had the same two thoughts:

  • It’s time to learn how to make sourdough bread.
  • Let’s start a garden!

My family and I jumped on the bandwagon. Seed packets, miniature shovels, and potting soil were selling out all over the country, but we managed to get our hands on the equipment needed to build a raised garden bed in the backyard. We had vegetables to eat by summer, but learned a thing or two along the way. If you want to start your own backyard garden this spring, here are my top tips:

Plant in a raised bed.

Planting seedlings in a raised bed instead of directly in the ground has a lot of perks. Fewer weeds will grow in the bed, the drainage will be better, your plants will stay warmer, and you won’t accidentally step on your carrots. Raised beds are easy to build, you can find a complete guide on Lowes.com. If you don’t want to spend money on lumber, you can make a raised bed out of just about anything, my neighbor used old furniture! There’s a great MasterClass on this by “Gangster Gardener” Ron Finley. He’ll show you how to turn a drawer into a planter.

Buy seedlings instead of germinating seeds yourself.

As my family and I discovered, germinating plants from seed is a slow, finicky process. If you don’t mind the extra cost, buy seedlings or plant starts instead. You’ll save a lot of time and hassle. Plus, if you buy from a nursery or local farmers market, you get the added benefit of knowledgeable salespeople.

Invest in wire mesh.

Almost as soon as our plants popped up, bits started to go missing! Rabbits were the culprits. To keep them away, we wrapped our garden bed with a short wire fence. You can use chicken wire or mesh to keep your vegetables safe.

Don’t be ashamed to use YouTube.

It’s 2021, and in the age of Alexa, there’s nothing wrong with asking YouTube to solve your problems. While we were putting together our bed and figuring out how to keep vegetables alive, my family and I relied on YouTube videos for help. You can learn a lot from channels like these:


-Randy Sklar


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