Gardening Tips to Master Over Time

When you start gardening there’s so much to learn, it’s actually overwhelming if you try and learn everything in one season.

In fact, I’ve been gardening for 8 years and I’m still learning. Gardening can be taken slowly or as fast as you’d like, however your goals, money, and time frame are major factors in the size and type of garden you have. I made a fun gardening quiz so you can see what type of gardener you are which can help you with your future gardening endeavors.

Here are some tips on how you could expand your garden and gardening skills over a few years.

I give beginner, intermediate, and advanced examples as well as a visual design of how you could add garden beds over 4 years in a large urban backyard.

Vegetable Gardening: Expanding your Garden and knowledge over the years

Beginner Gardener Tips

First year

  • Direct seed your crops and/or buy transplants from the store.
  • Grow easy crops versus the more difficult ones.
  • Learn the appropriate soil amendments for each plant family.
  • Don’t worry too much about preserving unless you grew too much (you could always share the harvests too with friends and family).
  • Observe your frosts, weather patterns, and any pests or challenges and take notes in a garden journal.
  • Don’t worry about sowing multiple times in a season; just sow crops in the spring or early summer and make observations.
  • Optional: Plant fruit bushes or trees to establish.
  • Do some winter reading after your first garden to learn more.

Second year

  • Get a composting bin or vermicomposter (worm composting) and learn how to compost. We like to use a 3 bin composting system for our gardening.
  • Look over your first year notes and see what you had troubles with. Spend some time before the season starts to troubleshoot these problems with some reading.
  • Try growing some transplants.
  • Try growing some of the more difficult heavy feeding crops (brassicas, tomatoes, corn etc)
  • Learn some basics of crop rotation to apply for this season, as you don’t want to grow crops you already grew in the same bed from your first season.
  • Try some succession sowing or bumper crops if you feel ready.
  • Try some food preservation methods like dehydrating, canning, freezing if you feel ready.
  • Build more garden beds if you have the time and money to dedicate to them.
  • Optional: Plant fruit bushes, trees or perennials to establish.
  • Do more reading in the winter to learn more about gardening and pests.
  • Write a garden journal.

Third year

  • Grow some transplants if you didn’t in your 2nd
  • Try some season extension with mini hoop tunnels or frost fabric (heavy weight row cover).
  • Try some succession sowing or bumper crops if you didn’t the 2nd
  • Increase your food preservation with home canning, freezing, and dehydrating.
  • Build more garden beds.
  • Optional: Plant fruit bushes, trees or perennials to establish.

Growing your own transplants is the next gardening step

Intermediate Gardener Tips

Here are some things you can start learning and applying if you’re a seasoned gardener.

  • Grow your own transplants.
  • Put in perennials: herbs, fruit bushes/trees if you have the space.
  • Create a sowing and transplanting schedule that includes season extension.
  • Preserve some or lots of your food for the off-season.
  • Use season extenders in the spring and/or fall.
  • Learn how to compost effectively.
  • Understand crop rotation and apply it to your garden plan.
  • Do some reading on cover crops and green manures and plan to have them in your garden to restore the soil.
  • Consider adding some chickens or other animals for garden manure.
  • Try some easy seed saving with plants that self-pollinate: lettuce, beans, peas, arugula… etc.
  • Grow cover crops.
  • Brew your own fertilizer and compost tea
  • Potentially add some permanent season extenders such as cold frames or a greenhouse.
  • Add more garden beds over time.

Wooden Raised Garden Beds

Experienced Gardener Tips

The Family Food Production Garden

This food garden is meant for growing and preserving as much as you can and focuses on eliminating as much grocery store spending as possible.

  • Eating only produce in season or that was home preserved.
  • Season extending helps with short season climates.
  • Making a sowing and transplanting schedule that includes intensive planting methods to increase garden yields.
  • Optional is to also add medicinal herbs (because food is also medicine) and herbal teas.
  • Food preservation techniques can expand into fermentation like making wine or cider.
  • Lots of composting, growing of green manures and cover crops for soil restoration.

Learn more about home food production:

Rock Vegetable Garden Beds

Expand your garden beds over 4 years in a large urban backyard.

Here’s an example of an urban backyard that, over the course of 4 years, becomes a busy and productive backyard food garden. This example has made use of the fencing along the edges (which isn’t solid, it’s a chain-link fence that is used to grow food vertically too).

How to expand your garden over time


Gardening is more enjoyable when you expand slowly so you’re not overwhelmed, although many people build lots of beds right away. There’s no wrong or right way to expand your garden, so long as you have the time to learn and grow food. There are also plenty of gardening blogs to learn from that best suite your gardening style.

Become a better gardener by expanding your skills

1 thought on “Gardening Tips to Master Over Time”

Leave a Comment