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Outdoor gardening is a favorite pastime for hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people around the world. Not a season goes by, spring, summer, fall, or winter that people somewhere aren’t outdoors gardening.
Whether it’s your favorite vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens, or something else, maybe a fruit, or flowers, there’s something to grow all year long.
Even in the coldest regions, there are techniques and tricks for gardening through the spring and summer right into the winter and on through the early spring.
Read on below and explore everything you need to know before you get started with outdoor gardening, in this in-depth and comprehensive exclusive guide that we put together for our readers!
Outdoor Gardening Basics
The amount of knowledge and experience may seem overwhelming, or even impossible at first, but believe it or not, outdoor gardening isn’t all that complicated.
Sure, there’s a lot to learn. But, if you enjoy it, and are genuinely interested, it’s a fun and rewarding experience learning how to garden outdoors and grow food.
The bottom line is: anyone who wants to learn the basics of outdoor gardening can do so if they try.
In the following sections, we outline literally everything you need to know before you get started with outdoor gardening.
Basic Gardening Techniques for Outdoor Gardens
Gardening is a practice that, in one form or another, traces its origins to prehistoric times.
Over the ages, different types of horticultural practices developed, furthering the cultivation and evolution of the wide variety of crops we know and grow today.
How many types of outdoor gardening techniques are there? Many basic gardening techniques are employed in outdoor gardening. The most significant include; Container Gardening, Ornamental Gardening and Flower Gardens, Tilling, Cultivating, “Traditional” Gardening, and No-Dig Gardening.
Read more to learn more about these gardening techniques and types of outdoor gardening.
About Outdoor Gardening Techniques
Basic gardening techniques and types of outdoor gardening were developed and practiced by different cultures and civilizations. There are many different techniques and methods.
One may also combine several of these techniques in their garden at the same time to optimize performance.
Whether you’re new to gardening or you’re an active gardener looking for alternative gardening strategies to help you grow more food, you need to be aware of the different techniques and types of outdoor gardening listed below!
Cultivating, Tilling, and “Traditional” Gardening
Tilling can be defined as the mechanical manipulation of soil into a desirable condition. Tilling changes the structure of the soil, kills weeds, and manages crop waste.
Cultivating is an ancient gardening practice that, like many ancient things, is relatively easy. Cultivating is simply breaking up and loosening the soil with tools such as; shovels, hoes, and rakes.
Traditional gardening aids the soil in growing more plants in a unique method. Using traditional gardening techniques, gardeners deeply cultivate the land, which means digging the earth with at least a shovel. It is as simple a technique of gardening as there is.
Today, many gardeners opt for using gasoline or electric-powered tillers to do this hard work. Click through to our How To Till a Garden guide to learn more about electric tillers (including our favorite ones).
No Dig Gardening
No-dig gardening technique is appealing to very many organic gardeners. You’ll spend less time digging, weeding, and watering if you use the no-dig gardening technique. This technique is ideal for busy gardeners.
This gardening tactic provides nutrient-rich soil for plants to flourish in, and it’s a great technique to get rid of weeds in weed-infested land.
In theory, you won’t be upsetting the soil life if you don’t dig. Because of this, Worms and Fungi are some of the essential microorganisms that would help feed plant roots when you practice No-dig gardening.
Also, manure, green waste compost, and other organic matter are applied to the soil to increase fertility.
No-dig beds have been shown in studies to provide larger vegetable harvests than dug-over beds.
Container gardening, often known as pot gardening, is the practice of growing plants, particularly edible plants, in containers rather than putting them in the ground. The container is usually portable, enclosed, and used to showcase live flowers or garden variety plants.
This technique of gardening is sometimes utilized for decorative purposes in addition to for growing food.
Container gardening is an excellent way to grow veggies, especially if you don’t have much space to use for your gardening.
Gardeners choose container gardening when they have a limited gardening area or just have access to a patio, balcony, or rooftop.
Ornamental Gardening and Flower Gardens
With the various plants generating a broad color pallet, ornamental gardening is a type of outdoor gardening practiced to create a visual treat with brilliant plants.
From common flowers and bloom shrubs like roses, tulips, and marigolds to less-known flowers such as goatsbeards and widows thrill, there are numerous attractive plants that provide either privacy, beauty, or both to just about any landscape.
Flower gardening is related to ornamental gardening. This is because plants are grown with the intent of displaying them or beautifying an area.
The first step in creating the ideal flower garden is to become acquainted with the area where you will be planting. The seeds of these attractive perennial plants allow them to proliferate.
Flower gardens are sometimes functionally linked to other types of gardens, such as herb gardens and knot gardens, with many herbs also serving as ornamental elements and some as decorative flowers used for food.
Commercial Gardening and Market Gardens
A commercial garden operates on a small scale most of the time. It might be on a one-acre plot of land. This property could be utilized to grow flowers, vegetables, or fruits. Cash crops are the crops that you plant to make money.
In contrast to a monoculture garden, commercial gardening concentrates on a variety of crops. This is frequently the result of the market’s many types of needs.
Any plant that sells well will be grown by the gardener. A commercial gardener’s harvests are frequently sold directly to restaurants and stores.
Click through to read up on the difference between gardening and farming, for a better understanding of commercial gardening vs market gardening or home gardening.
Garden Tools for Outdoors Gardening
What are the main garden tools for outdoor gardening? The main gardening tools necessary for outdoor gardening include shovels, snippers, hoes, rakes, watering cans, hoses, tillers, and more. Some gardening clothes are also helpful, such as a hat to block the sun, gloves to protect your hands, and knee pads.
Read below to learn more about each of the main garden tools used for outdoor gardening!
A shovel is a necessary tool for gardeners and farmers alike. With the help of this apparatus, a gardener can dig up the soil to plant seeds and also deposit manure to boost soil fertility. Its use can be described as versatile.
Choosing the appropriate shovel for you helps to provide better results and protects you from injuries. Because of the important role the shovel plays, there are different types of shovels for different purposes.
How many types of outdoor gardening shovels are there? There are main distinctly different types of shovels for use in the garden; Round point shovels, Square point shovels, Irrigation or Trenching shovels, and of course hand shovels.
Another important tool familiar to veteran and amateur gardeners alike is snippers. This tool can also be called gardening sheers. Whether it’s a small plant or a tree, snippers help to prune or cut the elements that are hindering the growth and prosperity of a plant.
This comprises selectively removing specific sections of a plant, such as roots, branches, or buds. For this particular gardening apparatus, you need to be aware of the type of steel your snippers have. Stainless steel blades are highly corrosion-resistant. While Carbon steel is noted for being more malleable.
A hoe is a piece of crucial gardening equipment. It’s described as a long-handled instrument with a thin metal blade that is used to dig the soil. Its use is versatile, it can be used in raised beds or on the ground. A hoe can be used for a variety of tasks such as leaf removal, weed control, and border organization.
What are the four main types of hoes used in outdoor gardens? The most common outdoor gardening hoes include the Dutch hoe, Draw hoe, Stirrup hoe, and Heart-shaped hoe. Each hoe has different capabilities, based on its shape and size, and is used for different gardening purposes such as digging, weeding, and raking.
Rakes are very important for gardening. By raking leaves, soil, mulch, and other things, rakes assist gardeners in maintaining their garden. Rakes are to gather these organic materials for use as manure for the plants. It is also used for weeding, loosening soil, and other purposes.
How many types of outdoor rakes are there for gardening? There are two main varieties of rakes that are used for different purposes in the garden; the Garden rake/Bow rake and Leaf rake/Lawn rake. One is for raking through the soil and cultivating, while the other is for collecting leaves, weeds, grass, and debris.
Water is just as important to plants as it is to humans. Hence the importance of a watering can. A watering can is described as a portable container with a capacity of about 1.3 liters or more.
It has a nozzle or funnel that is tipped to pour water on plants. Its portable nature is very convenient for gardeners seeking to water their plants in a wide area.
It has been noted that water is important for plants, and so too are proper garden hoses. These long and flexible synthetic rubber tubes are used to transport water from a water source to the location where the plants are.
Each end of a hose can be connected to another hose to increase the length. This greatly increases the hose’s reach, so that plants in far locations can get water.
Sprayers are used by gardeners to apply liquids such as weed killers, insecticides, fungicides, and other important liquids.
A sprayer can be used to apply both synthetic and non-synthetic materials, as well as horticultural oils. Sprayers come in different sizes. The larger sprayers are used to spray insecticides to large areas.
Gardening clothes cannot be overlooked when embarking on gardening work. It is no surprise that gardening is dirty work.
Wearing the appropriate gardening clothes can be as important as using your gardening tools.
For example, when using a pesticide, the right clothing would protect your skin from harmful chemicals. Also, a jacket can protect from UV rays during gardening.
Gloves are just what is needed when using sharp gardening tools like snippers. Its use is important, especially when applying chemicals to plants.
Also, they help protect gardeners from thorns, debris, and cuts. Good fitting gloves can help to prevent blisters and scrapes.
Sunshine is very important for plants, but for humans, excessive sunlight or exposure to UV rays is harmful. This is why a hat is a necessary gardening clothing item.
A wide brim hat provides shade for the face and shoulders from sunlight. It is important to use a hat that fits.
The material of the hat is also an important factor when picking a hat for gardening. Microfiber hats are popular amongst gardeners because it allows ventilation and it is lightweight.
Some gardening activities such as pruning or planting seeds are better done on one’s knees. This type of work would be stressful on the knees.
That’s why gardeners wear knee pads.
Placed over the knees, they provide relief for the joints as well as support. Knee pads typically come with straps and soft padding to provide comfort to the gardener.
Soil for Outdoor Gardens and Plants
Soil is the basic element in the cultivation of plants. Knowing about it and how to treat it will enormously benefit your garden.
Is healthy soil important for an outdoor garden? Healthy soil will help your plants grow strong without pests or diseases. There is virtually nothing more essential to a thriving garden that produces abundant yields than healthy soil. Proper sunlight, hydration, and pest control, of course, are also crucial.
Read on below to learn the main characteristics of each type of soil and possible amendments to work on its fertility.
Types of Soil
Soil consists of mineral particles produced by the breakdown of rocks and organic matter. There are three different types of soil:
Clays are soils with very fine particles. They are very fertile but lack drainage which makes them very hard to work in.
In the case of sands and gravels, on the other hand, particles are large. It’s a kind of soil that is very easy to work in almost every weather.
Peats and heath, the third type of soil, are very acidic.
Heathy soil is less fertile, consisting mainly of sand while peats are low in mineral content and in water-retaining capacity.
Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of the soil. Readings taken with a pH meter are used to obtain both qualitative and quantitative information on soil characteristics.
What is the correct pH range for outdoor vegetable gardens? The most favorable for plant growth is a pH range of 6 to 7 as all needed nutrients are available in this range.
Tilling vs No Dig
Tilling the soil consists of mixing organic matter and breaking up crusted soil. It’s not necessary to do it too deep or very often. It also helps control weeds and prepares the area for planting.
The no-dig method on the other hand consists of mulching, hand weeding, and shallow hoeing of the soil. A no-dig garden is generally 13 to 15 inches deep.
Between the soil particles in your garden dirt, there are pore spaces that contain water and air circulation. The air contains more carbon dioxide and less oxygen than the atmosphere.
Soil aeration allows extra oxygen to enter the soil, and creates richer soil that is properly draining, which results in healthier plants.
Composting for Outdoor Gardens
Compost is a natural way of amending the soil. It’s organic matter mixed through the work of microorganisms, soil fauna, enzymes, and fungi.
What is needed to make compost for my outdoor garden? There are two types of materials needed for composting: green materials, rich in nitrogen such as fruits and vegetable scraps from your kitchen, plants, weeds, and eggshells. And brown material, rich in carbon, such as tea bags, fallen leaves, branches, or cardboard. Once you’ve picked a place for your compost make sure to add water as moisture plays a big role in the process.
Click through to our guide on How to Make Compost for your outdoor garden!
Amending Soil with Organic Matter
Any composted material that has been reduced to hummus is a good soil amendment. It is applied to or mixed into the soil top.
Organic matter moves downward through the soil and is used up through oxidation. It helps improve the soil’s properties and promotes plant growth.
Seeds for Outdoors Gardens
Starting plants from seeds is one of the most rewarding things for every gardener, as you can witness the whole process of your plants’ growth.
Is Starting Plants From Seeds Hard? Some plants are more difficult to start from seeds than others, but it’s mostly an easy task. You just need to choose the right seeds and the right time.
Read on below to learn all you need to know about starting your plants from seeds.
Seeds are composed of three parts, an embryo, nutrients for the embryo, and a seed coat.
Following a few easy steps, seeds will grow into new plants or they can be stored for a while.
Here’s everything you need to know about starting and storing seeds before you start your outdoor garden:
First, you’ll need to choose the seeds you’d like to start. The easiest plants to start from seeds are those with big seeds, like corn or cucumber.
Then you need to pick the right time, it’ll always be a few weeks before the last frost. The number of weeks is indicated on the package.
Storing seeds is pretty simple. You need to find a cool spot, like a cold closet or the basement.
The most important thing about the temperature is that it has to be consistent all year around. You should also make sure your stored seeds are away from the sunlight.
Planting in Outdoors Gardens
Planting can be very easy if you follow some simple steps. Find below the step by step of planting seeds, bulbs and the transplanting process.
Most seeds need to be started inside and once your seedlings are ready and the weather is more favorable you can move them outside. There are, however, some seeds that can be planted directly outside.
You can start seeds in any container with potting soil made for growing seeds. On the seeds packet you’ll find the information on how deep you should plant them.
After carefully planting them at the suggested depth all that’s left to do is water, feed with liquid fertilizer, and expose them to light.
For some planting inspiration, check out these posts:
- Best Plants for Spring Gardens
- Best Plants for Summer Gardens
- Best Plants for Autumn Gardens
- Best Plants for Winter Gardens
First, check the quality of your bulbs, they have to be firm and big. Dig a deep hole, at least 2 or 3 times the size of your bulb. When put in the hole, the shoot has to be facing upwards.
If the ground is moist, there is not much need for watering.
Some bulbs, like tulips, you can plant in containers. In that case use multi-purpose compost with a part of grit. Plant deep and water regularly when they are in active growth.
Once the temperatures have warmed enough and the risk of frosting has passed, it is time to move your germinated seedlings outside.
When the seedling is out of the container inspect the roots and loosen them gently if they are too concentrated.
Once the transplant is put into the hole, the top half of the plant should be at the soil level or a little higher. Watering is important as it will encourage the roots to grow into the soil.
Learn more about growing and transplanting seedlings.
Watering Outdoors Garden Plants
All plants require water. That said, each plant requires a unique amount of hydration.
Tomatoes, for example, require a bit of water daily in order to thrive, whereas marigolds only need to be watered once or twice a week.
Use the gardenboss.org search console on our hoe page, or cruise the Q&A posts for the water specifics for various species of plants.
Hand watering is by far the most popular garden watering technique for the outdoors. That’s because most gardens are small enough that they don’t justify an irrigation system.
Hand watering gardens is typically done with a water can or a garden hose.
Using an Irrigation System
Some gardeners opt for an irrigation system, normally a drip line connected to a garden hose/spigot. There are also numerous sprinklers to choose from for smaller gardens that don’t need a full irrigation system.
A Final Word About What to Know Before You Start Outdoor Gardening
Thanks for reading our big blog post on everything you need to know before you get started with an outdoor garden! If you made it to the end, you get extra points!
Keep in mind that gardening takes years to master, and don’t be shy about bookmarking this page and revisiting it as often as needed while you practice outdoor gardening!
Suggested Reading: Gardenboss.org Plant Guides
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