The first step to becoming a better gardener is to have the\ndesire to improve. Since you\u2019re reading\nthis article, you\u2019ve already passed that marker.\n\n\n\nHowever, there are lots of other things you can to do to\nbecome a better gardener, regardless of where you live, what you plant, or how\nbad your garden soil is.\n\n\n\nSo, how do you become a better gardener? At\nevery opportunity, continue your gardening education and spend time with other\ngardeners you can learn from. Also, get\norganized and find ways to improve your soil, choose the right seeds, and form\nthe right gardening habits. Finally, get\nout there and practice!\n\n\n\nAs with most skills, learning from others and practicing\nyour craft are the most important things you can do to improve over time. Let\u2019s take a closer look at how to be a\nbetter gardener.\n\n\n\nHow To Be A Better Gardener (7 Ways)\n\n\n\nThere are lots of ways to be a better gardener, and one of\nthe most important ways is to constantly learn new things so that you can build\nyour knowledge and improve your gardening techniques.\n\n\n\n1. Continue Your Gardening Education\n\n\n\nBy continuing your gardening education, you can learn more\nabout general ideas (such as improving soil health) or specific topics (such as\nhow to prune blueberry bushes).\n\n\n\nLearning how to properly prune bushes or trees is one skill that will make you a better gardener.\n\n\n\nYou can build your knowledge through various forms of study,\nincluding books, courses, seminars, and conferences. As with any education, the best way to really\nlearn is to take the information you learn and put it into practice!\n\n\n\nBe sure to take notes as you read during the winter so that\nyou can apply your new-found knowledge in the spring to ensure a better growing\nseason.\n\n\n\nBooks and E-Books\n\n\n\nBooks are my favorite way to learn about a new topic, or to\ndive deeper into one I am already familiar with. Books let you learn at your own pace, and\nthey can fit into anyone\u2019s schedule.\n\n\n\nYou can find gardening books at a library or bookstore, but\nmany of these will tend to be of a more general nature. If you want more specific information, you may\nneed to search online for e-books on Amazon or through individual websites and\nblogs.\n\n\n\nYou can find gardening books on how to care for fruit trees, such as apple trees, if you are interested in starting a small orchard.\n\n\n\nYou can find e-books that deal with a specific gardening topic,\nsuch as care for blueberry bushes or apple trees. You may even be able to find e-books as\nspecific as how to prune or fertilize a certain plant, bush, or tree.\n\n\n\nCourses\n\n\n\nAn in-person course at a college or university is a good\nchoice for someone who learns better when working with other people. You also get the chance to network with\ninstructors and other students who share an interest in gardening.\n\n\n\nYou might learn more from the other people in your class\nthan you learn from the course itself!\n\n\n\nAnother learning option is to take online gardening courses. You can find courses on gardening through platforms\nsuch as udemy.com or coursera.org.\n\n\n\nOften, these courses are quite affordable. They also feature videos, which is helpful if\nyou are a visual learner.\n\n\n\nOne other source of online gardening courses is through\npersonal websites and blogs of gardeners. \nOften, a gardener will offer a general gardening course, or a specific\ncourse based on his gardening specialty.\n\n\n\nSeminars and Workshops\n\n\n\nIf you do not want to commit to taking an entire semester\ncourse, you can usually find day-long or half-day seminars and workshops in\nyour area.\n\n\n\nFor example, many university extensions will offer single-day\ncourses on topics such as pruning grape vines, grafting fruit trees, or pest\nmanagement.\n\n\n\nYou might be able to find a class on how to prune grape vines at a local agricultural extension or university - or maybe a vineyard!\n\n\n\nFor an example of courses offered, check out this page on agricultural seminars offered by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.\n\n\n\nConferences\n\n\n\nConferences are a great way to learn and to meet people who share\na common interest. You can also learn\nabout what is new in the industry.\n\n\n\nGardening conferences offer you the opportunity to absorb\ninformation about topics such as sustainability, weather, climate, public\ngardens, technology, and innovation.\n\n\n\nSome conferences are one or two days long, while others will\ngo for an entire week (Monday through Friday) in the spring. So, depending on how much time you have and\nhow much you want to learn, you can learn a lot in a short time at a gardening conference!\n\n\n\n2. Build Your Gardening Network\n\n\n\nBy building your gardening network, you can speed up your\nlearning and pick up new information and techniques from a variety of people\nand sources.\n\n\n\nFind Gardening Mentors\n\n\n\nA mentor is someone with more knowledge and experience who\nteaches you about gardening. You can easily\nfind gardening mentors from many online sources.\n\n\n\nIn addition to e-books and online courses mentioned earlier,\nyou can also read blogs (like this one!) and watch YouTube videos from\ngardeners.\n\n\n\nOften, if you ask questions in the comments, you will get a\npersonal answer. The blogger or YouTuber\nmight even create content to answer your specific question! You never know until you ask.\n\n\n\nJoin Gardening Groups\n\n\n\nAnother way to build your gardening network is to join\ngroups in your local area. You can use\nmeetup.com or eventbrite.com to search for gardening groups near you.\n\n\n\nYou can also join a garden club in your neighborhood. Long-time members of garden clubs have lots\nof experience with what works and what does not.\n\n\n\nMany gardeners are happy to give back by sharing what they\nhave learned.\n\n\n\nA community garden is a good place to meet people who share an interest in gardening and to learn new techniques and information.\n\n\n\nYou can also join a community garden in your area, and\nperhaps rent a plot of land from them if you don\u2019t have enough space for a\ngarden at home. You will meet others who\nshare an interest in gardening, and you can trade ideas (and maybe plants!)\nwith them.\n\n\n\n3. Get Organized\n\n\n\nWhen you are organized, you are more likely to succeed \u2013 in gardening\nor in any other area of life.\n\n\n\nOrganize Your Seeds\n\n\n\nOne benefit of organizing your seeds is that you know how\nold your seed packets are. That way, you\nknow that you are always using seeds with a good germination rate.\n\n\n\nKeeping your seeds organized is important to make sure you get good germination rates from healthy seeds.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on how long seeds last, and my article on how to test seed germination rates.\n\n\n\nAnother benefit of organizing your seeds is that you will\nknow when to buy more and when to hold off, saving you money and avoiding\nwasted seeds.\n\n\n\nKeep a Gardening Journal\n\n\n\nKeeping a gardening journal has several benefits. For one thing, you can keep careful track of\nthe plants that you liked (and which ones you didn\u2019t).\n\n\n\nYou can also keep a record of which plants grew well in your\ngarden, and which ones did not.\n\n\n\nA journal is a great way to keep track of your gardening success and failure, and to help you remember when to plant, transplant, fertilize, etc.\n\n\n\nAnother benefit of a gardening journal is that you can plan ahead of time for things like crop rotation and planting schedules, based on frost dates. You can find the frost dates for your area on the Old Farmer\u2019s Almanac website.\n\n\n\nFinally, a gardening journal is a great way to keep track details\nsuch as your preferred plant spacing and the fertilizer mix you like to\nuse. This is also a great source of\nknowledge to pass on to future generations someday.\n\n\n\n4. Improve Your Garden Soil\n\n\n\nYour harvest can only be as good as the soil in your\ngarden. The soil provides structure for\nroots and a place for water, air, nutrients, and beneficial bacteria that\nplants need.\n\n\n\nAdding organic material (humus) and nutrients (necessary for\nplant growth) will help you to achieve a better harvest. A good gardener knows how to make good soil,\nwhich leads to healthy plants.\n\n\n\nAdd Organic Material to Your Garden Soil\n\n\n\nOne way to improve your soil is by adding organic\nmaterial. This can be done by adding\ncompost, manure, and mulch to your garden. \nAll of these will add nutrients in addition to providing organic matter\nto your soil.\n\n\n\nCompost is a good way to add organic material and nutrients to your soil while also recycling kitchen scraps and yard waste.\n\n\n\nCompost is decomposed organic matter made from material such as food scraps (banana peels, orange rinds, etc.) and yard waste (grass clippings, fallen leaves). For more information, check out my article on how to make compost.\n\n\n\nManure is animal waste and bedding, and should be allowed to decompose before being placed in a garden. For more information, check out my article on where to find manure.\n\n\n\nMulch is ground cover such as wood chips, straw, or hay used to suppress weeds and trap moisture and heat in the ground. For more information, check out my article on mulch.\n\n\n\nAdd Nutrients to Your Garden Soil\n\n\n\nIn addition to compost, manure, and mulch, you can use other\nmaterials to supplement nutrients in your soil. \nYou can use standard fertilizers, which are sold online or at any garden\ncenter.\n\n\n\nHowever, there are other ways to add nutrients to your soil\nwithout using fertilizer that contains lots of salt. For example, you can add dolomitic lime to\nsupplement calcium and magnesium, or you can add blood meal to supplement\nnitrogen.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on high-nitrogen fertilizers, my article on high-phosphorus fertilizers, and my article on high-potassium fertilizers.\n\n\n\nOne quick warning applies here: you should do a soil test\nbefore adding any nutrient-heavy supplements to your soil, to make sure that\nthey are really necessary.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on soil testing.\n\n\n\n5. Start Your Seeds the Right Way\n\n\n\nWhen starting seeds for your garden, the way you do it will\nhave a big impact on your success. As\nwith many things in life, small changes in the beginning can lead to big\nchanges later on!\n\n\n\nFirst, you should know whether the plants should be grown\ndirectly from seed sown in the soil, or transplanted outdoors after starting\nseeds indoors.\n\n\n\nSome seeds do not transplant well, and it is best to sow these directly into the soil outside as soon as weather permits.\n\n\n\nFor example, tomato and pepper plants are often started from\nseeds indoors, especially in northern regions with short growing seasons.\n\n\n\nOn the other hand, seeds for plants such as radishes,\nspinach, and lettuce should be sown directly in the soil outdoors, if possible.\n\n\n\nWhen starting seeds indoors, you should make sure that you\nhave a good light source available for your seedlings after they emerge. Without sufficient light, the plants will \u201cstretch\nout\u201d and become \u201cleggy\u201d as they reach up high for any available light.\n\n\n\nWhen you transplant outdoors, make sure to \u201charden off\u201d the\nplants to prevent environmental conditions from killing the plants due to\nsudden changes in temperature, wind, or moisture.\n\n\n\nFinally, keep careful track of when to sow seeds and when to\ntransplant outdoors (use your journal, as mentioned earlier!). This will depend on the plants you want to\ngrow and on frost dates in your area, which will depend where you live.\n\n\n\n6. Form Good Gardening Habits\n\n\n\nThey say that you are what you repeatedly do. If you have good habits, then you will have\ngood outcomes, and the same is true for gardening.\n\n\n\nIf you form the right habits, you will get the results you\nwant automatically \u2013 almost like gardening magic is at work to help you get a\nbountiful harvest!\n\n\n\nIt takes some willpower to get started, but once the habits\nare in place, it will be easy to stick to the same routine.\n\n\n\nForm the Habit of Continuous Learning\n\n\n\nFirst, make a habit of continuous learning. Learn from books, courses, mentors, and\nfellow gardeners, as mentioned earlier. Then,\nput what you learn into practice.\n\n\n\nThis approach is far better than never learning anything\nnew, or learning a lot and never applying the information. A good place to start is getting to know your\nplants in terms of their need for space, soil, sunlight, water, and nutrients.\n\n\n\nForm the Habit of a Gardening Schedule\n\n\n\nEvery year, you should stick to a gardening schedule. You might improve the schedule every year as\nyou learn and become a better gardener, but you should have a plan in mind (and\npreferably on paper).\n\n\n\nFor instance, know when to start seeds and transplant plants\ninto your garden. Also, know when to\nfertilize, water, and prune your plants.\n\n\n\nMake time during each day (or at least each week) to walk\nthrough your garden to inspect your plants. \nThat way, you will be more likely to notice problems such as weeds or\nplants infected with pests or diseases. \nThen, you can address the problems in a timely manner.\n\n\n\nIf you inspect your garden regularly, you are more likely to catch problems, such as aphids, before they can do much damage.\n\n\n\nGet into the habit of watching the weather and preparing\naccordingly. That way, you won\u2019t be\nsurprised by heavy rain, dry spells, heat waves, or hard frosts.\n\n\n\nFinally, make a habit of composting kitchen scraps and yard\nwaste. The result will be a good soil addition\nthat will provide a better medium for your plants to grow, while also reducing\nwaste.\n\n\n\n7. Get Out There and Practice!\n\n\n\nNo matter how much you learn about gardening, none of it\nwill matter if you don\u2019t get outside and practice what you learned!\n\n\n\nGather up all of your information in a journal, and decide\nwhat you want to implement, such as using a different pruning method, trying a\nnew crop rotation schedule, planting a new tomato variety, etc.\n\n\n\nThen, find a time during the season (or during each week) to\ntry out that new information you learned. \nKeep track of your success and failure, and share what you learn with\nothers.\n\n\n\nSometimes, you will realize what went right (or wrong) after\nexplaining the situation in detail to other gardeners. Many times, reflecting on what went well and\nwhat could be improved is a valuable learning exercise, whether in gardening or\nin any other area of life.\n\n\n\nConclusion\n\n\n\nBy now, you should have some ideas on how to be a better\ngardener \u2013 all you have to do is put some of these ideas into action.\n\n\n\nI hope you found this article helpful \u2013 if so, please share\nit with someone who can use the information. \nIf you have any questions on how to be a better gardener, please leave a\ncomment below.