Before ever buying any seeds or digging any holes, ask yourself : WHY do you want to grow a garden?
If you want to grow a garden because you pictured yourself looking like Joanna Gaines in a sun hat cutting fresh basil : be warned! Though very rewarding, it is not glamorous. So instead can you picture yourself sweating in the heat, with muddy shoes, and dirt under your fingernails? If so, you're ready!
If you want to grow a garden because you have fond memories of helping your grandparent/parent/friend/family member, that's a good start. Remember those feelings! More often than not, there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work grandpa did that went into creating those memories. But you can create the same feelings again by inviting someone to help you or stepping back to look for the fruits of your labor - literally and figuratively.
If you want to grow a garden because you want your kids to learn, make sure you are ready to learn those lessons, too. Kids LOVE being in the dirt and being outside. And when they find something that's interesting, they love to learn about it. On the other hand, as adults sometimes we make things more complicated and less fun. With kids in the garden, try to have realistic expectations about what they can touch, what tasks need to get done, etc. Assigning a child to a certain "easy" task gets them involved and helps them feel that they have an important role to play.
If you want to grow a garden because you want to save money on groceries, your experience may feel more stressful and contrived. The reason I say that is because it takes a long time for things to mature and produce the heavy yields you were expecting. There's also a lot of variables outside your control, and you don't want added pressure to produce a certain amount. Small, household gardens are a good supplement to your normal groceries. You get a little more variety and flavor than what's at the stores. And if you really enjoy the process, you may actually find yourself spending more money on tools, gloves, trellises, books, classes, etc.
If you want to grow a garden because you want to build up a food storage, great! Gardening is a perfect way to gather up an abundance of food, picked at peak freshness. Be prepared for a larger time investment to properly can, pickle, seal, & freeze your bumper crop.
If you want to grow a garden because you want better tasting food, great! With the right care, you will find that garden-grown items beat the grocery store produce by a long shot. The difference in quality and taste and health is real.
If you want to grow a garden because you want to relax, enjoy, be outside, and do something hands-on, great! There is still a lot of work involved but with the right planning, the garden can truly feel like a rejuvenating oasis. Mother Nature is one of the best at nurturing.
We hope you will find our how-to garden series helpful: