8 Tips for Starting a Home Garden, According to Redditors Who’ve Done It

published May 7, 2020
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Woman planting vegetables and herbs in high bed on balcony
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As the weather gets warmer, more and more people will be itching to spend time outside. If you’re itching to start your own home garden, look no further: Reddit is full of helpful tips from folks who have done it themselves (and hey, all of them were first-timers once upon a time).

There are various subreddits for those interested in horticulture, two popular ones being r/gardening and r/vegetablegardening that are great places to look when you’re just starting out. Many users turn to the platform to post the exciting news that they’re starting a home garden for the first time and ask fellow Redditors for any advice they might have. Turns out, they have a lot.

Pulled from two of the most highly engaged posts this year, we gathered a range of gardening tips that are straightforward and helpful for anyone attempting to start their own home garden.

Redditor jeffreypooh posted a photo of a raised bed that he recently built to start his own vegetable garden. He was honest about it being his first time growing vegetables and welcomed any words of wisdom his fellow gardeners were able to provide.

Start easy.

It’s good advice to start with easy vegetable varieties for your first time around the home garden. Redditor CardinalKaos suggests beginner choices such as herbs, tomatoes, carrots, and beets. But perhaps more importantly, they suggest making sure to grow something that you’re actually going to eat.

“Plant what you’ll eat! If you wanna grow something thats a little more challenging but you LOVE to eat, then give it a shot for sure. If it fails, you can always try again and do something different,” CardinalKaos wrote. Trial and error seems to be the name of the game.

Be patient.

This may seem like an obvious tip, but a reminder never hurts anyone—especially since patience is a virtue. Like the wise words of Redditor tipperarytrad, take your time and enjoy the process. If you don’t see anything surface by the time your schedule says it should, relax. Nature doesn’t really do deadlines.

Have a planting calendar handy.

Speaking of a calendar, it’s not the worst idea to consult one to give you some guidance—especially when figuring out what you want to grow each season. Redditor S_L_Allen_Company posted a helpful schedule from a Victory Garden booklet called “Grow What You Eat.” It lays out a specific timeline for each vegetable, from when to sow the seeds to the space it needs between rows and expected time it takes for the crop to grow.

However, when it comes to this specific chart, keep in mind that this experiment was conduced in Long Island, New York. It’s best to consult a chart that is local to where you’re starting your home garden.

Fence in or raise your garden.

While rabbits have been known to like gardens a little too much, many Redditors left reassuring comments that they most likely won’t go for all vegetables. Still, it’s never a bad idea to err on the side of caution. (After all, many times you don’t know what they’ll be interested in until the damage is possibly done.)

Redditor BottleCoffee gave some advice that bunnies most likely won’t go for the peppers and beans from personal experience, but does warn about lettuce and raspberries.

Regardless of what jeffreypooh ends up growing, it turns out that that’s why he raised the garden in the first place. Smart move!

Another highly engaged post with plentiful tips comes from Redditor plantsandbugs. She posted a shot of her proudly posing on her plot of soil, ready to accept any tips that experienced gardeners might have for her. It doesn’t get more “starting from scratch” than this!

Put planks across larger plots so you can reach everything.

Redditor Flibiddy-Floo noticed that the plot was so large that she might not be able to reach everything once plants start to sprout. In order to make life easier, they suggested putting down planks or pavers across the center to make the shape of an “+.”

It seems like the earlier you put the planks or pavers down, the sooner you’ll be able to plot out the perfect formation of sowed seeds (and get them growing, too).

Start composting to keep your garden healthy.

When you start your own home garden, it’s also time to start a compost pile. Composting gets rid of the need for the chemical fertilizers, and it also enriches the soil by helping it produce bacteria and fungi as well as retain moisture. Plus, it’s great for the environment, and it’s 100% free.

Avoid planting mint.

After Redditor LadyHeather posted about avoiding mint in the home garden—in all caps, might I add—the community echoed her cries across the r/gardening land. One Redditor ArgentManor warned: “Mint will cover everything you own. Everything you love. There is no turning back.” Sounds like a plot for a horror film.

Look for local sources when you’re deciding when to plant.

This ties back to the earlier tip about consulting a table schedule. It certainly can be helpful, but you have to make sure it aligns with your geographic location. Otherwise, the seasonal advice can be totally off. What grows in Florida’s winter will not grow in Maine’s coldest season.

Redditor HiFiHut had good advice: check with your county extension offices to see if they have a master gardener program. A hyperlocal suggestion would be the most reliable source when laying out everything you need to know about what to plant when.