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How to Start a Garden

18 April 2016

Starting a garden in the Grand Rapids area is a rewarding and enjoyable pursuit – provided you can wait out the long, cold winter! Once the spring hits, you should be ready to go with some ideas to get started on your garden. We’ll discuss the supplies and resources you’ll need to begin from scratch.

Seeds vs. Seedlings?

The first question you may want to ask yourself is whether you want to plant seeds or seedlings. Seeds are, well, seeds, while seedlings are young plants that have already sprouted from seeds. It’s your call, as there are benefits to both. Seeds are about half as expensive as seedlings, with those seed packs lasting you quite a long time. With seeds, you have more control over the food supply because you know the type of soil they were grown in and what kinds of chemicals, if any, they have gotten. You also have more options when it comes to seeds.

Seedlings, on the other hand, don’t require as much work as seeds. You can simply purchase transplants and get on with your life. Just keep it mind they are very sensitive and should be “hardened off” first. This means you gradually expose them to the outdoors each day.


You’ll also need the proper tools when starting your garden. The basics include a spade, garden fork, hose, hoe, and hand weeder. You’ll also need a basket, wheel barrow, or a tarp to drag and haul mulch, soil, flowers and more around your garden. If you’ll be working in full sun, get a wide brimmed hat for protection and try to wear long sleeves and pants for keeping the insects and dirt at bay.

Have a Plan

Consider where you’ll put your garden. You may want it right up against your foundation to act as a pretty border around the property. However, you’ll need a good working gutter system to keep water run off from destroying your garden.

Sun exposure is an important part of planning a garden. Some plants need more sun than others to survive, and others won’t live if they get rays all day. Thinking of this, decide which areas around your home get shade from trees or buildings and which face the sun in the morning or afternoon.