If you are new to the whole concept of gardening and wonder what is gardening in the first place? Then you might be interested in this post! Gardens are beautiful, and regardless of what you grow, there is nothing better than seeing plants that flourish, grow, and blossom.
Well, plants do not just grow, flourish, and blossom by placing the seeds into the soil. This is because there are also tasks that you need to do, but lucky for you, in this post, we will tell you everything you need to know about gardening.
Next, We’ll Take A Closer Look At The Following Topics
- What is gardening?
- How is gardening done?
- What are the types of gardens?
- What are the benefits of gardening?
- Most common tools used in gardening
- The difference between gardening and farming?
- Is gardening beneficial for people who suffer from depression?
So, without wasting much time, let’s dive right into it!
What is Gardening?
Gardening is the art (mostly a past-time event) of laying out a plot of land or structure and then dedicating that land to growing your favorite vegetables, flowers, herbs, or any other plants that you want to grow.
When you’re practicing gardening, you’re involved in every stage of the plant’s growth cycle to ensure the desired results are achieved. And those stages demand passion, dedication, and hard work.
Why Is Gardening Important And What Are The Benefits Of It?
Now that you know what it is, it’s time to get to the bottom of it and list some of the benefits of practicing this amazing hoppy, job, and past-time activity.
1. It Is A Source Of Food
The freshest foods you can get are always the ones from your garden. So, if you have one in your backyard or indoors, you can harvest the veggies when they are mature, use them for your salads, vegetable smoothies, or add them to your favorite meal.
Gardening is a great way to ensure that the vegetables you get are organic because you can never know about those bought from the grocery stores. This is why growing and harvesting the vegetables or herbs yourself means that you are sure that they are organic.
Also, growing in a garden can be a way to save you some money since you don’t have to waste money on buying highly-priced organic veggies. Even though it might be a bit expensive to get one started and get the seeds, it’s way cheaper than buying them from a supermarket.
2. Gardening Is Good Exercise
Yes, it is considered a form of exercise! Working on your garden for about 30 minutes can burn even 300 calories. Gardening is regarded as a “moderate-intensity activity,” according to the American Heart Association. Research proves that it can increase your heart rate, which is an excellent way to burn calories.
Trust me, gardening isn’t a light activity. It involves many activities such as moving mulch, digging, squatting, and walking, which explains why it is considered an exercise.
So, if you want to get some calories burnt, you might want to start a garden!
3. You Can Learn More About Nature
There is nothing better than watching your plants grow from seedlings into mature plants. And during that process, you get to learn a lot about how plants grow and how they behave, which can be a great way to boost your knowledge about them.
As you grow these plants, your kids become curious, which is a great way to impact your kids’ lives and give them a real-world example of how vegetables, fruits, herbs, or other plants grow.
Besides, when you have your garden, you start to appreciate the farmers and respect them for how much time and effort they put into their farms to ensure that you get something to eat, and trust me, this can change you and your family or kid’s perception about life.
4. It Is Refreshing
Engaging in gardening can be a great way to disconnect yourself from the busy world we live in nowadays and start interacting more with nature.
With so much noise on social media and TV, it’s a good thing to do something else sometimes, and to me, there is no better activity to engage in than gardening.
Getting out and laying your eye on your plants, or even touching your plants, combined with a beautiful breeze of wind and the soil’s smell can be very refreshing to your soul. Also, going out during the day and walking around your garden can be a great way to absorb some Vitamin D from the sunlight.
And don’t forget that sense of accomplishment when you’ve successfully grown your plats from start to finish is!
5. It Is A Great Activity For People With Stroke
Well, for old folks in their 60, who are looking for a way to prevent stroke, we highly recommend you start gardening. Research has proven that gardening for at least two and a half hours per week can help reduce the chance of stroke in older people by 30%.
Besides that, it can help deal with the following illnesses in old folks:
- It improves their sleep.
- Improves mental health.
- It reduces the chance of getting Alzheimer’s by 36%.
- And as we talked about earlier, it also reduces the risk of heart disease.
6. It’s An Excellent Hobby
Like any other hobby out there, gardening is also great for the body, mind, and soul, And you can use it as one of your past time events. When you are bored or lonely, all you need to do is work on some plants, and after you’re done, you’ll feel good!
Studies have shown that gardening can be a great way to release stress and improve your mood. So, not only will you be having fun, but you’ll also improve your overall mood.
Gardening Is An Excellent Way To Relieve Stress!
7. An Indoor Garden Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
We all know that indoor air quality is worse than outdoor air. But having a simple indoor garden with individual plants such as rubber fig, devil’s ivy, areca palm, and many others can help improve your indoor air quality by absorbing most of the air pollutants in your home.
Ok, now that we know the importance of it, let’s look at the different gardening methods.
What Are The Different Types Of Gardens?
There are basically two main types of garden. These include:
- Indoor And Outdoor Gardens
- Organic And Inorganic Gardens
Let’s look at each of them a bit closer.
What Is An Indoor Garden?
This is the art of growing plants in an indoor structure ( either in a hothouse, a greenhouse, an indoor pot, or a hydrophobic gardening system). With an indoor garden, you are either exposing your plants to sunlight or a LED lighting system, depending on the type of indoor garden you choose to go in for.
It is essential to note that indoor gardens are grown in a controlled environment; they are restricted to certain natural elements.
Usually, when you go in for a hothouse, you will have to expose your plants to LED grow lights in a large indoor structure. With a greenhouse, you are exposing your plants to only sunlight in a vast structure. With a hydrophobic or indoor pot garden, your plants will be exposed to LED grow lights.
It is important to note that even though growing indoor happens, well, indoors, you can still grow vegetables, herbs, and fruits.
The Pros Of Indoor Gardening
- Fresh plants all year long.
- Less exposure to pests and diseases.
- Plants oxygenate your indoor environment.
- You control the weather conditions or the environment your plants grow in.
The Cons Of Indoor Gardening
- Limited space.
- You may have to invest in grow lights.
- Watering might need some knowledge.
- Extra care and control are needed: taking care of the plants can be tricky.
What Is An Outdoor Garden?
As you might expect, this is one that you grow outside, usually with no structures covering them. They are fully exposed to nature with no restrictions. There are many types of outdoor gardens, and some of them include:
- Butterfly Garden/Flower Garden: This has to do with growing specific flowers to attract butterflies.
- A Water Garden: Planting plants around a pond or a pool.
- Demonstration Garden: This has to do with growing plants to showcase plants and flowers for learning purposes.
- Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs Garden: This is the art of growing fruits, herbs, or vegetables on a large scale on a piece of land.
- Container Gardens: You grow plants in small containers.
The Pros Of Outdoor Gardens
- It is less expensive.
- The crops also taste better if grown right.
- Nature handles everything (enough light and water is produced)
- There is no restriction on the space you can use other than the amount of property you own.
The Cons Of Outdoor Gardens
- Pest and disease could be a problem.
- You cannot grow your plants all season.
Organic Vs. Inorganic Gardens
Another way to compare them is to compare whether they are organic or inorganic? Well, organic gardens have to do with growing crops without using any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. While inorganic ones are grown using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Are The Gardening Methods Mentioned Above The Only Ones?
No! There are also subcategories that fall into these groups, and they include but are not limited to:
- Vertical Gardening
- Tropical Gardening
- Container Gardening
- Raised Bed Gardening
- Community Gardening
- Greenhouse Gardening
- Therapeutic Gardening
How Is Gardening Done? Steps To Get Yours Started
Now that we have “the ways to garden” out of the way, let’s look at how you can start one! We will look at how you can create an outdoor garden since most people will be looking forward to it.
1. Before You Start, Find Out Your Hardiness Zone!
The hardiness zone is a standard developed by the US Department of Agriculture to help gardeners and anyone else interested in growing plants to give them an idea of the plants which are most likely going to grow and thrive well in the place they live. This means that some plants are most likely to succeed well in certain areas in the US, and others aren’t.
These zones range from Zone 1A in Alaska to 13B in Puerto Rico, and they are grouped based on their annual minimum temperatures.
When you look at the hardiness zone map, you’ll notice that each zone is grouped with a 10°F (about 5,5°C) range difference from the next area.
You’ll also notice that each zone is divided into zones A and B; these zones vary from each other with a difference of 5°F (about 2,7°C).
So, Why Should You Care About The Hardiness Zones?
As stated earlier, the USDA Hardiness zones are used to determine the average minimum temperature each zone will receive. You can decide what plants will be perennials in your area based on your location and what will be annuals with this help.
For example, if you live in Northern Minnesota, around zone 2B, the plants need to withstand temperatures down to -40 to -50°F (about -42,7 to 45,5°C).
So, all you have to do is look at the map and determine which zone you live in.
It is important to remember that the hardiness map is a broad overview of a whole range of different areas. So, besides looking at the hardiness zone map, consider the soil type, the geographical difference between each area in your state, and other factors about your location. So, please don’t use this map as a be-all-end-all guide!
For example, one way to ensure that you succeed in your endeavors is to ask other growers in your area. This works only if you are lucky enough to know those people. But don’t forget that Ryhom is always a beginner-friendly resource for everyone who is just getting started!
2. What Is A Good Tip For Gardening Beginner – START SMALL!
If you are new to this activity, we highly recommend that you start small. So, only start with a little land plot because you don’t want to bite more than you can chew.
A good start is with a small ten by 5 or 10 by 10 feet space (1,5 to 3 meters or 3 to 3 meters). The most you want to go will be 20 by 20 feet (about 6 to 6 meters).
You Can Think Big But Try To Start Small!
3. Select A Good Site
You want to make sure that the plot you choose is in-line with how the sun rises and falls. You want your beds or garden to be in the same direction to give them as much sun as possible. For example, vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight per day.
The amount of sunlight is also another plant-specific factor that you need to consider when choosing your plants’ spot!
If you live in the northern hemisphere, you want to orient your garden beds from north to south. This will give the plants the maximum exposure they need for sunlight. Also, orienting your plants from north to south in the Northern hemisphere will allow for more air circulation, which can be great for pollination.
In the northern hemisphere, you want to make sure that you plant your tallest plant(s) in the north direction. This will prevent them from blocking the shorter plants from getting sunlight.
“But What If I Live In The Southern Hemisphere?”
If you live in the southern hemisphere, you want to orient your plants from east to west to give them those conditions. Besides that, you might want to ensure that you plant your tall plants in the south direction to prevent them from blocking the short plants’ from getting sunlight.
But, the best way to ensure that your plants are getting as much sunlight as they need is to use a sunlight calculator at the spot that you’re considering.
Finally, make sure that your site isn’t close to any tall trees or fences. This is because when the sun comes up, these tall fences or trees form shades that cover your plants and prevent them from getting sunlight.
4. Select Your Water Source
You want to make sure that your water source is close to your garden. This can save you tons of time and energy when you need to water your plants. If you have a water source far from your plants, you can use a hose as your irrigation system.
5. Your Soil Is Important
An essential factor to successful growing is to have soil rich in nutrients, organic matter, water, and living organisms (both macro and microorganisms). To ensure this, you can perform a soil test. With a soil test, you will determine what your soil lacks and what it has.
After your soil test, the next step is to prepare the soil. Soil preparation is an essential step to do because:
- You can get rid of any weeds.
- You can also add more nutrients to the soil.
- It helps improve soil water circulation and efficiency.
- It helps loosen the ground to allow the plant’s roots to grow efficiently.
And many more!
To do this soil preparation, you can use many different tools such as a broad fork, a tiller, or a digging fork. You can use a digging fork or a broad fork to prepare less compact soils. But, if your soil is “tight,” then using a tiller is preferable.
6. Adding Nutrients
Once you’ve loosened your soil through preparation, you want to add some organic compost to the ground. This is done because it helps replenish the lost nutrients and improve the quality of the soil.
7. It’s Time To Build Your Soil Beds
A simple way to do this is to establish where you want your beds to be and your pathways. So, you want to transfer the dirt from the path onto your plant beds until your plant bed is between 6 to 11 inches (about 15 to 28 cm) in height.
When you are done getting your bed to the preferred height, you want to make sure that you grade your bed. If you noticed that your soil lacked any nutrients from the soil test, you could add the needed nutrients using fertilizer (either organic or inorganic).
8. Time For Some Weed Control
One of the best ways to prevent weeds from growing in your garden is to place cardboard on your pathways and water them to ensure they stick to the soil. After you’re done, cover the cardboard with some straws.
After that, water the plants for a few minutes; this will trigger the beds’ weeds to grow. So, after a couple of days or weeks, remove any young weeds growing on your soil bed. This is an excellent thing to do at least two weeks before you plant your seeds.
9. Time To Plant
When you’re done with your weed control, the next obvious step is to plant your favorite flowers, vegetables, fruits, or herbs. And depending on the type of plant you want to grow, the planting method might vary. This, again, means that you need to do a little bit of research so that you can grow your favorite plant(s) successfully.
10. Deter The Invaders
If you have rabbits, deers, or some other animals in your area that can break into your garden, then you may want to establish a fence or some other obstacles to prevent these animals from destroying your hard work.
That’s it! Now you have a garden!
What Tools Will I Need For My Garden?
Well, there are tons of useful tools out there. But, here are some must-haves every gardener must have:
- Garden Fork
- Hand Trowel
- Garden Hose
- Watering Can
- Shears For Pruning
What Is The Difference Between Gardening and Farming?
The main difference between a garden and farming is the size of the land. You can have big gardens utilizing up to an acre (about 0,4 hectares) of land. But, with agriculture, the lands can be more than that. For example, a farm with over 300 acres (about 120 hectares) of land is not uncommon. So, we can say gardens are somewhat of small-scale farms.
Due to most farms’ size, equipment such as tractors, harvesters, and many others tend to be much bigger. But, with a simple hoe and garden fork, you can get the job done as well. If you are to use simple tools for your farm, the amount of labor needed is extreme.
Finally, with gardening, the food produces are used privately by the grower. But, farmers usually grow (at least most of the foods) for commercial purposes.
Is Gardening Good For People Who Suffer From Depression?
Yes, there is a report from the Mental Health Journal, which clarifies that it can improve people’s moods, which is also a great way to combat anxiety and depression.
Can I Turn My Lawn Into A Garden?
Yes, you can! This is what most people do. You basically want to get rid of the lawn, and then follow the steps we laid out in our how to start a garden section, and then you get yourself one.
What is gardening? I do hope that we could answer that question. And most of all, that now, you can finally answer that question yourself. So, in a sealed package, gardening is an excellent activity and an affordable way to grow your food and save money instead of going to the grocery store.
Featured image credit – © Alexander Raths – stock.adobe.com