I have so many people asking what supplies they truly NEED to get started with a new garden. I thought this list would help all the beginner gardeners out there. There are also some ideas to take your garden to the next level if you’ve only tried gardening with nursery transplants and want to expand you’re skills into starting seeds indoors.
These are the basic supplies and tools every gardener should have.
- Garden Rake
- Hose and Sprayer or Watering Can
- Rubber Boots/Goulashes
- Plugs, pellets or seed starting soil mix – pellets are little discs that expand when you add water, plugs fit into propagation trays and can be planted directly into soil.
- Mini greenhouses or seed starting trays – you can buy these seed starting kits or use clear plastic grocery containers. They trap in heat and moisture to get your seeds off to a quick start.
- Various sizes of pots – different types of plants grow at different rates and need a pot relative to their size. Tomatoes and melons may be over a foot tall by the time you transplant them, while rosemary will only have grown several inches in the same time span. Plastic pots are the cheapest option but clay pots last forever and retain moisture and heat much better.
- Grow lights and timer – if you don’t have enough south facing window space for seedlings, grow lights on a timer will give them all the light they need until planting season.
- Heat mat – this is definitely optional but heat mats can speed up the germination process for heat loving plants.
- Labels – I’ve used everything from blue painters tape labeled with a sharpie to these little white garden markers.
- Tracking sheet or journal – write down what you do when, this will help you track what worked or didn’t work. Don’t make the same mistakes twice!
- Shelving – anything will work. I hang white Rubbermaid closet shelving in my windows to keep toddlers out of it! Some people use an actual mini greenhouse with shelving inside to retain heat and moisture.
In the garden
- Raised beds or plot of earth – you need to prepare a place to transplant plant seedlings and direct sow seeds. Raised beds are my favorite because weeds don’t creep in as easily as in ground level beds. You can also plant closer together because you don’t need to leave room to walk in them.
- Trellises – climbing plants have different preferences so research the variety you’re planting before deciding what kind of trellis to use. If you have access to tree branches or lumber, you can make your own. Many plants will climb a fence around your garden. Here is a great idea for growing tomatoes using the string method.
- Compost – have a place to toss weeds or trimmings after pruning. A compost pile will decompose to form nutrient rich soil and compost tea to enrich your garden.
- Garden cart – save your back and cut down on the amount of trips back and fourth hauling all your supplies, dirt, pots and harvest. I have this garden cart and love it.
- Basket – for harvesting produce or pulling weeds. Even a laundry basket will suffice, if you don’t mind washing it out. Here is a great harvest basket made of wire mesh and wood.
- Dibbler – a tool to make a planting hole for seeds. You can use a single dibbler or dibbler seed spacing guide like this. They are also easy to make yourself.
- Rot-a-tiller – there are many no till gardening methods, but this can be a quick way to get started.
- Irrigation or sprinkler system – a drip irrigation system saves a lot of water and ensures that each plant gets enough water. Sprinklers are quick to set up but sometimes don’t distribute water evenly, soaking plants in the center and leaving the edges dry.
- Canning Supplies – if you’re going to grow a vegetable garden, you need to plan on what to do with all the abundance at harvest time. To get started, I recommend the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, a combination pressure/water bath canner, a starter canning tools kit, and mason jars with lids and rings.
Ideas to get free supplies
- Save plastic containers or ask friends and family to save theirs for you. Check out these 20 Frugal, Repurposed Seed Starting Containers from The Free Range Life.
- Look for people getting rid of pots, garden supplies or raised bed materials on sites like Facebook marketplace or craigslist. Check out this post on raised vegetable garden beds & ideas from Family Food Garden for inspiration on materials to look for.
- Have a seed starting party where guests all bring something to share, reducing costs for everyone
- Check for seed swap events in your community.
Was this list helpful? Good luck getting your gardens ready!
If you like gardening, check out these posts as well!