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Every spring, as the weather becomes warmer and the days a bit longer, I dream of planting a garden and growing my own food. I think it’s natural that after months of cold, grey weather, spring appears around the corner and with it comes the desire for change, growth and all things new. Despite numerous years of mapping out my garden and dreaming of harvesting armfuls of veggies, this spring is the inaugural year of The Amateur Garden*.

Garden Squash blossoms from The Amateur GardenA big reason that up until now I haven’t planted a garden, and possibly why other people hold off, is that when you do a Google search for “How-to: Vegetable Gardening”, you’re immediately faced with information overload. The internet will convince you of things you need to have and to build in order to have a successful garden. Very few of these recommendations are affordable, and immediately you find yourself becoming hesitant to dive into this now-overwhelming project. Upon finding myself in this exact mindset, I came across someone on social media (I really wish I could now recall who this person was) saying to just plant something. Even if you have no clue what you’re doing, put something in the earth, take care of it, and then wait and see.

So that is exactly where we are right now: we have a 4’x 4’ square of plants, many of which are most likely going to be enormous, and a few may fail (looking at you, eggplant). Thus far, it’s pretty magical watching the daily growth of what we’ve planted. More than anything, I look forward to eating and sharing seasonal vegetables grown directly in our backyard.

Garden tomatoes from The Amateur GardenAmateur Garden Tips and Resources

Here are a few tips and resources that I’ve found helpful for getting The Amateur Garden started. My hope is that these will be beneficial to anyone else with similar garden dreams.

  • Seek out a local gardening store that focuses on growing plants in your zone. Take advantage of their knowledge and ask them all of your questions – that’s why they exist!
  • Find a gardening book that’s geared towards both beginners, as well as simplicity. I used Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening  and I think it’s a fantastic and incredibly informative resource for beginners.
  • Find your people. I know that Facebook groups can often be pretty awful, but recently I have come across and joined a few really great groups. In particular, the vegetable garden group I am now a member of is incredibly helpful.
  • Remember that planting something is better than nothing, and if 50% of your plants fail, you learn and try something new next season.
  • Check out my Resources page to see the gardening tools, equipment, and resources that I love.

*We also considered naming it The I Have No Clue What I’m Doing Garden, feel free to borrow the name.

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