This is it – this can be your year to start a real garden! Forget the complaints that you don’t have a green thumb, or you can’t tell a flower from a weed, or that everything you touch dies (well, that’s what we’ve always told ourselves)…creating a beautiful garden and yard really can be easier than you think. Over the next few months, we’ll update you with tips and tricks that don’t require experience or any special skill. What do you need? How about a little patience, some can-do attitude, and a little time spent outdoors. You can do it!

As the weather is now starting to warm up and – for the most part – spring has sprung, now is the time to start getting your yard and garden ready. Here’s what you can be doing now:

Find a spot. It’s not rocket science. Pick a corner of your yard that gets sun. Proximity to a hose or water faucet would be good. Not too far from your back door or kitchen door – you want to make it easy to run outside and snip some herbs for dinner.

Consider containers. Not every garden means digging a hole in your yard. Containers are a good option, especially if all you have to work with is a patio or deck outside your apartment. Containers can also be a great way to take baby steps into gardening…after you have a successful season, you can expand into the yard next year!

Clean up. Mark off your garden space with twine or stones. Before you dig, remove rocks, sticks, dead plants, weeds, etc.

Prepare the soil. Dig up the dirt in your garden area. Work in mulch, fertilizer and other nutrients, based on your particular soil needs. Not sure what to add? You can get a simple soil test kit from your local garden center. Bring the results back to the center and they’ll hook you up with what you need.

Extra credit: Start some seeds indoors. If you’re feeling brave, pick up a few small pots, a bag of potting soil, and seeds for a few easy-to-grow vegetables such as zucchini or herbs such as basil or thyme. Plant the seeds and place in a sunny window. After several weeks (don’t forget to water!), you’ll have healthy little seedlings ready to transplant into your outdoor garden.

Just try it! Don’t worry about your lack of garden skills or experience. Just start small and try something. You may just be surprised at what you can grow! In a few weeks, we’ll add more tips for your new garden.