Gardening for Beginners: Tips with Adam Bachman, fifth-generation Bachman’s family member

Do you find yourself wanting to try out gardening, but not sure where to start? Did last year’s pandemic gardens inspire you to attempt your own home gardening? There’s something about gardening that grounds us and brings us back to nature. Being able to grow something from seed and then being able to eat it is pretty satisfying too! Whatever your reasons for wanting to start gardening, equip yourself with basic knowledge and simple tools to have a successful growing season. Eden Prairie has some great city plots you can rent out to make your gardening dreams come true. Otherwise, if you’d like to start with a small container garden on your deck, or garden in your yard, it doesn’t need to be complicated. Eden Prairie Life reached out to local resident Adam Bachman, Fleet Logistics Operations Manager for Bachman’s Floral, Gift and Garden for some simple gardening advice. Founder Henry Bachman Sr., is Adam’s great, great grandfather. Bachman’s is in its 136th year of business.

eplife | What basic supplies do I need?
AB | A successful fruit and vegetable garden needs a few, simple elements to thrive.
– At least 8 hours of direct sunlight.
Good garden soil. Before we plant our garden each spring we add organic vegetable fertilizer to our soil that has the needed nutrients to support the fruit and vegetable plants.
– You also need a way to water your garden.

There are also a few supplies that make gardening more comfortable, like good gardening gloves and a gardening mat or bench.

eplife | What’s the easiest thing to grow?
AB | We have had success growing tomatoes, peas, green beans, cucumbers, peppers and herbs in our backyard garden. Lettuce is also easy to grow and start again several times throughout the summer.

eplife | When should people start sowing seeds indoors?
AB | In February and March.

eplife | What household supplies can people use to sow their seeds?
AB | We typically use a seed starting kit, they are inexpensive and have all of the elements to help to make seed starting easy and successful.

eplife | What zone are we in, and is this a hard fast rule?
AB | We are in zone 4. It is a hard and fast rule if you want your plants to survive the winter. If you use plants that aren’t zone 4, consider them annuals or you will have to do something to protect them during the winter months.

eplife | When should people transplant their seedlings or plants outside?  
AB | The average last frost is around May 10th. It is a good idea to watch the weather before transplanting seedlings outdoors so plants aren’t exposed to frost.

eplife | How do you treat bugs and pests?
AB | We take a wait and see approach. We built a fence around our garden to keep out bunnies and deer and tap Japanese beetles into a bowl of soap and water when they arrive and eat our beans mid-season. Because we are gardening food, we try stay away from using chemicals.

eplife | Do I need to add compost or other fertilizer? Is it safe for an edible garden?
AB | Compost or fertilizer will make your garden produce more. You can buy organic products that are safe for people and pets.

eplife | Should you trim back plants to increase yield? What plants would you do this to?
AB | It is plant specific. If you are beginner, my advice would be to just to let it grow.

eplife | What does well growing in a container garden?
AB | You can garden just about anything in a container – keeping in mind that it has enough sunlight, fertilized soil with good drainage and water. I wouldn’t recommend root vegetables. Herbs and lettuces are easy for beginners.
eplife | Can you explain the importance of not overcrowding plants when we put them in containers or in the ground? 
AB | If plants are crowded, they won’t grow to their full potential and won’t produce as much. There is only so much water and nutrients in the soil and the more the plant can take up, the better it will do. So make sure your plants have plenty of room, so they don’t have other plants to compete with.

eplife | Does Bachman’s sell gardening starter kits?
AB | Bachman’s sells seed starting kits that are very user friendly. Horticulturists are on staff at every store and garden center employees are very knowledgeable in helping new gardeners find what they need to start and maintain a successful garden, considering individual gardening circumstances.

Are you feeling inspired to start or expand your gardening skills? If you are ready to start planning your garden, visit Bachman’s for a great selection of seeds and supplies. Later in the season, you can purchase seedlings if you aren’t interested in sowing your own seeds. The educated and helpful employees can answer all of your questions, so don’t be intimidated!

Bachman’s began in 1885 and offers flowers, plants, garden supplies, gifts and home décor in the Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities), Minnesota metro area and beyond. Bachman’s has locations on Lyndale Ave. in Minneapolis and in Apple Valley, Maplewood, Plymouth, Eden Prairie, and Fridley, plus a store in the Galleria shopping mall in Edina. Flowers and plants are also available throughout the area in Lunds & Byerlys stores.

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Carolyn Wieland

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