For the Lady I Met In Walmart Yesterday…How To Start Your Garden

Hi there!

I heard you ask for help yesterday in Walmart and spoke with you a few minutes later and told you a little bit about my blog. Since then I’ve been thinking  about how I can help people like you who are just starting out with their very first garden and I came up with a few simple ideas. These are my thoughts after talking with you for just a minute or two.

—You said that your garden will be next to your driveway and you want some things growing and some color. I didn’t say it, but I should have said that you would want to dig down 12-16 inches to loosen the soil really well. If you just scratch the surface it will be tough for the roots to grow and establish themselves.

—Then, see what kind of soil you have. It may be nice topsoil (black, brown and crumbly), or sandy (light colored and very fine) or clay like (sticks together in a clump when it’s a little wet). It may be very rocky (try to take out as many as you can), or not. Adding compost that you can buy in bags from garden centers will help improve most soil. If you have an extreme version of any of the above you may need to work at it a little bit more. Here’s a link that can help you with that.

—As you work on getting the soil ready watch the way sun shines on the space. How many hours of sun the garden gets is really important in choosing plants that will do well. It might be over 8 hours a day (full sun), 3-6 hours a day (part shade) or less than 3 (shade). Match the light requirement on the plant tag with the type of light you have. It’s really important to do this!

—Look for plants that will fit the light requirement and the type of garden that you have in mind. Read the labels again to get an idea of how tall the plants will be and when they’ll bloom. Some tags even tell you what to plant together which is really handy when your first starting out!

—Try to arrange the plants so that the tallest are in the back and shortest are in the front.

—Pull the weeds as you see them pop up. If you do this for a few minutes every day you’ll be able to keep up with them easier.

—Watch the weather and be sure to water if it doesn’t rain.

—Take off dead flowers and leaves so that new ones can grow.

—Leave me a message here if you have any questions. I’m happy to help if I can!

— Most importantly, enjoy it! Don’t worry too much if plants don’t make it, it happens to all of us! You can do it!!!


ps/ Other gardeners, feel free to chime in with your ideas and suggestions in the comments section.

Let’s help this lady have the best first garden ever!

English: Soil types by clay, silt and sand com...
English: Soil types by clay, silt and sand composition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  1. You left her a wonderful list. One thing I thought of is that if it is near the driveway (asphalt or concrete), it will probably hold a lot of heat so you want plants that like warm feet and it may dry out quicker than other beds. You did good!


    1. excellent point!! Thank you Judy!!


  2. Lots of good advice! One thing I have learned the hard way–if it says the plant will get 8 ft. tall don’t think you can keep it pruned to 3 ft. tall. I speak from experience!


    1. exactly! I’m willing to bet that almost all of us have learned that the hard way!


  3. Rosie says:

    I didn’t notice if you mentioned snow removal. You are in MA, and I know you get snow there. Keeping in mind where you put your snow, and if you use salt or another product that could leech into the garden. I know when I lived in Vermont and in Maine I ran into issues with my garden being my snow bank, and having all that crud in my plants.


    1. No I didn’t and that’s another important thing to consider. Thanks Rosie!


  4. nutsfortreasure says:

    Rosie hit upon my thoughts here in NH. Snow and Ice and salt and chemicals alongside the drive you have plowed is not a place for pretty plants in the ground but beautiful containers all along the drive with anything from glorious flowers of all kinds to even some yummy veggies! If you grow Geraniums you can actually bring them inside each year a frost warnings appear and take them out next year.

    Welcome to the world of gardening where we live and learn!

    Now if she were to just plant cheap and fast growing annuals it really would not matter as they will be dead before snow flies just amend the soil. I use a mix of good soil, peat moss and manure for all season beauty!



    1. You just reminded me to dig my old geraniums from last year out of the basement Eunice, lol! and thank you for your words of help too!


      1. nutsfortreasure says:

        🙂 Good Girl Dump them outside to enjoy this glorious RAIN to wash out the salts!


  5. Carolyn says:

    Between you and your commenters, you’ve given great advice, Isn’t it just the best feeling to help others?


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