Blog Stories Top 5 Gardening Tips for Newbies

Top 5 Gardening Tips for Newbies

By Melissa Dorman, May 1, 2021

No one has a green thumb right from the start. It takes some time to learn the fundamentals of vegetable and herb gardening. Here are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind when starting your first garden.



1)Plant in the Sunshine

Your garden needs to be in a location that has enough sunlight. Plants get the energy they need from sunlight, and if they don’t have it, they simply won’t grow well.  Most veggies and herbs need 6 hours of “full“ sunlight per day. Some vegetables and herbs can still grow in “part shade“ areas. Check with the staff at the garden store on how much sun your plants will need.


2) Use the Right Soil

Not all dirt is created equal. Most plants won’t grow in soil that is too soggy, hard, rocky, or lacking in nutrients. What plants really need is well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

When in doubt, buy an “all purpose” gardening blend, or “raised bed” blend from your neighborhood nursery.


3)Give Your Plants Room

Your plants need some personal space. You don’t want them to have to fight for sunlight, water, or nutrients. A small plant will get bigger over time. Check the tags that come on the plant, look up the recommended spacing, or ask the staff at the nursery for spacing guidelines.


4)Water Mindfully

Over-watering can cause the roots to rot, while under-watering means the plant isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to grow. Most vegetables and herbs need about 1 inch of water per week (more when it’s hot outside). Check the soil before watering by sticking your finger into it about an inch; if the soil is dry, then your plants need a drink.


5)Don’t Forget the Food


Water and sunlight are good, but plants need a steady diet of plant food, too. That’s because plants remove nutrients from the soil as they grow, and those nutrients need to be replaced in order to get the best harvest. A balanced organic fertilizer, or plant food, will do the trick. Follow instructions on the package.


Follow these basic rules of thumb and your first garden will be a success!


Melissa Dorman

Broker | OR & WA


Ten years ago, Melissa was living in a slum in Kolkata, India, helping over 200 women escape sex trafficking by providing alternative work at a social business. It was there she discovered her passion for financial education as a means of empowering people to move out of poverty. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters, Melissa spent 5 years working as a Social Worker; assisting clients facing homelessness, in jail, or at a psychiatric facility. As much as she loved the work, imagining saving for retirement on the meager salary of a social worker was becoming grim. That's when Melissa discovered "passive income." In no time, she fell in LOVE with real estate as a vehicle for wealth. Soon after, Melissa began locating off-market multi-family properties to purchase through creative financing strategies and win-win opportunities. Two years into investing, Melissa quit her day job as a Social Worker to become a full-time broker and investor. Initially, she was drawn to people in difficult circumstances, so she developed extensive experience assisting families facing foreclosure, short sales, and probate. Melissa is well versed in helping her clients overcome complex real estate challenges. Currently, Melissa is teamed up with Super Broker, Yascha Noonberg at Living Room Realty. Together they assist clients to achieve their real estate dreams, including how to strategically buy and sell a personal residence to maximize profits. Far from the slums of Kolkata, her greatest passion now is empowering other working professionals to develop passive forms of income through buying multi-family properties in Portland.
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