Resolved to start gardening?

Follow these tips and tricks to get your hands dirty in 2015

By DEAN FOSDICK, Associated Press Published: January 1, 2015, 6:00 AM

The arrival of a new year is always a good time for fresh starts, and there are few things as enjoyable to start — or that provide fresher returns — than gardening.

But how should a novice begin?

A helpful first step is to develop a plan. Decide what you want to grow. Choose the best place for growing it. Determine how much you can safely harvest and store. Finally, lay it out.

“Novice gardeners often start too big, and soon realize they don’t have the time or energy to fully develop or maintain their original garden plan,” said Gail Langellotto, a horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension Service.

“Another common mistake is gardening without first getting to know your soil,” Langellotto said. “Different soil types present different gardening opportunities and challenges.”

What that means is getting a soil test done if you prefer an in-ground garden. You also can do your planting in raised beds or containers. That way you can introduce commercially blended soils, many of which include slow-release fertilizers and water retention capsules to give seeds or seedlings a quick boost.

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