How to Start Your Own Garden

Want to start your own backyard garden? Here is some advice from Master Gardener, Lisa Turocy.

Start Small. I always recommend starting small. A small garden is much easier to maintain and keep up with than a huge one, especially if this is your first time growing. By starting small, you can see what works in your area and also how much time you can devote to tending to your garden. Once you begin gardening, and after having a successful first season, you can then focus on expanding your garden plan.

Watch the sun. Before you even place a shovel in your soil, take the time to get to know your yard. Watching the path of the sun throughout the day and tracking how much light or shade your yard receives in certain areas will help you to determine where to place your vegetable garden. Most vegetables have a full sun requirement, which means that they would need at least. 6 – 8 hours of sunlight a day.

Grow what you eat! We also recommend first growing what you would normally like to eat. If you decide to expand your garden later, you can then have fun experimenting with different varieties of plants.

Give your plants space.When planting, remember to keep in mind the expected height and width of your plant as it grows throughout the season. Spacing is very important when planting your garden.  You also do not want taller plants blocking the sun for smaller or shorter plants.

Watering and irrigation. Will your garden be close to a source of water? You want to make it as easy as possible when watering your garden. If the thought of having to move hoses all through the yard to water your plants is not appealing, then definitely make sure that you place your garden close to a water source.

Find an expert to help.  An expert can be a family member or a neighbor with years of vegetable gardening knowledge.  You can also check to see if there is a Master Gardener program in your area and if they can match you up with a volunteer to help you with your garden.  The Master Gardeners are based out of the local Cooperative Extension System Office (CESO) in your area.  To find your local CESO, go to and navigate through the United States Map for your area.

You can also utilize the local CESO website for home and garden information. We recommend that you always use research-based information, preferably from .edu sites.  For South Carolina residents, you can go to for information pertaining to landscaping, gardening, plant health, household pests, food safety and preservation, and nutrition, physical activity, and health.

More resources:Two other great sites for gardening information are: and

And the most important point, have fun! Having your own garden should be a fun and rewarding experience and one that you would like to continue from season to season.