A bowl of fruit

GARDEN | Simple as ABC: Gardening Tips For Beginners

May 20, 2019

This is a featured article

It happens to all of us. Sooner or later, we begin to fantasize of planting seeds and watching them turn into the most wonderful food we have ever put into our mouths. As we mature, we realise that it is up to us what we accept as nutrition.

You do not have to live in a house on acres of fertile ground to have a garden. You can have a patio garden if you like in the city. An apartment is usually staged perfectly for a balcony or raised garden. Some berries grow very well in hanging gardens and flavour your foods perfectly with fresh herbs grown right in your kitchen window. You probably have room to plant veggies and other foods to feed a family of 3 or 4, quite easily.

A basket

Getting started

The first thing you need to understand is everyone feels a bit intimidated at first. Relax. You need a couple of “people” on your side. First, contact My Seed Needs. You will find the link below. They are industry leaders and can help you with the types of seeds you should purchase. That makes all the difference. They can answer questions as you go. Secondly, download some apps that remind you of when it is time to water, weed, and mulch. It is like having a gardener partner. Our favourite apps for beginner gardens are GrowIt! and The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The Confusion

You will soon learn, different people have different terms for the same plant. This holds true for the farmer and especially the herbalist. There is a reason for this. For thousands of years, healers have turned the herbs and energy of the Earth to heal people. A healer in one town may call a herb one thing and a healer from another town may call it something else. They called it whatever the healer before them called it. Let’s take growing Lemon Mint and de-mystifying its many names for example.

Lemon mint is sometimes called:

  • Horsemint
  • Lemon Horsemint
  • Plains Horsemint
  • Purple Lemonmint
  • Lemon Beebalm

All of these names are for the exact same herb. Why Lemon mint has a thick square stem. When it is crushed and made into a paste, it is “strong enough to treat a horse.” The flower on the Lemon Mint is purple. It is an aromatic herb that draws bees. While we are not sure these are the reasons they are called by these names, they are the most logical.

So, you need to look up each plant to be sure of what you are buying.

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We get it. You are excited. You are ready to put in your bumper crop of blue-ribbon veggies. You have on a really cool straw hat and you have tucked your jeans into the best rubber boots you could find.

If you are putting in a patio, or balcony garden, you will only need the hand tool. If you are putting in a small backyard garden, you will need:

  • Hand Rake and long-handle bow-rakes
  • Garden scissors
  • Weeder
  • Hand pruner
  • Garden knife
  • Round-headed shovel

  • Spade (good for transplanting)
  • A water hose and sprayer
  • Digging Fork
  • Mattock
  • Pruner


Before you begin, take some time to research pests that you will likely encounter. Prevention is always easier than damage control. Know what to look for and what to do if your plants come under attack.

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You will learn everything you need to know as you go. So, go on and plant your garden. Give it all you’ve got and you will enjoy a great summer filled with flavour and it tastes sweet.

With your desire, computer apps, and a great seed vendor who wants to help in exchange for your long term business, you will be on your way in no time.

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