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Get started in the garden

Maris Callahan is the author of "In Good Taste," and, as an avid self-taught home cook, is widely knowledgeable about all things culinary. She is especially passionate about helping women on-the-go cook healthy, delicious meals and snack...

Tips to begin a thriving garden

Whether you've dabbled in gardening before or your only experience with plants is the plastic kind that have been in your grandparents' living room since before you were born, it's relatively easy to get some gardening basics under your belt. If you're itching to plant an herb garden or simply beautify your yard with flowers, we have some simple pointers that will help you get started -- and maybe even make the neighbors jealous.

Woman gardening

1Start with ceramic pots

If you live in an apartment or a house on a small lot with no tillable real estate, invest in a few clay pots of various shapes and sizes for your porch or balcony. You can grow herbs and many different types of flowers to give some life to what outdoor space you do have -- and, if you eventually move on to more fertile land, you'll already be a pro.

These chic planters will add pizzazz to your space >>

2Take it slow

When you decide to start a new garden, you might be eager and excited to get stared. However, with the warm weather of spring upon us, it's more important than ever to have patience.

Before you start to plant, survey your land or space and decide what to plant in the various areas of your garden. Then, spend a few hours planning and preparing both the soil and the seeds or plants. While it's easy enough to dig holes in the ground and toss some plants inside, it takes more precision to create a thriving, healthy garden.

3Listen to mother nature

It's very important to learn to work with nature when you're gardening. Certain types of of flowers thrive in the sun while others need some protection from direct sunlight. If you aren't able to be flexible with nature, you might find that you need certain types of fertilizers to restore the balance -- and those can be harmful to the environment. Let Mother Nature guide you and you'll save yourself a great deal of time and money.

Learn more about landscaping for your region >>

4Enrich your soil

Just as some soil is healthier than others, soil differs in various parts of the country. If you have soil full of sand or silt, add a combination of topsoil or compost -- or other organic matter -- to enrich it. If you have too much clay in your soil, opt for some sand and peat moss. Although some gardeners advise never adding sand to soils, other experts suggest using it in addition to organic matter. If you experience soil erosion, be sure to line your garden with landscape timber or stones to prevent soil loss.

More about gardening

6 Eco-friendly landscaping tips
5 Plants for small spaces
How to garden for a healthier diet

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