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Gardening 101: Everything you need to know to plant a thriving garden

The first day of spring is days away — and that means gardening season is almost in full swing!
/ Source: TODAY

The first day of spring is days away — and that means gardening season is almost in full swing!

Chris and Peyton Lambton, hosts of DIY’s “Yard Crashers,” crashed the plaza Friday to show what how you — yes, you — can plant a successful garden this season, no matter how much of a novice you may be.

Essential gardening tools

Regardless of your level of gardening experience, there are tools every gardener should have.

Hand trowel: This is used for breaking up earth, digging small holes, mixing in fertilizer or other additives, and transferring plants to pots. And these start as low as $4.

Hand snips: These pruners are big enough for trees and shrubs, and can handle a slew of gardening tasks, from removing deadhead flowers to clipping herbs and harvest vegetables. They start as low at $10.

RELATED: DIY ways to fight weeds and more answers to your gardening questions

Hand cultivator: This is used to turn the soil where plants and vegetables are planted, or it can be used to remove weeds from soil in a garden. For small flower or vegetable gardens, a hand cultivator can be used like a small plow to turn the earth and dig the planting rows. You can find them for as low as $6.

Choosing plants

Choosing plants for a garden can be a tricky process, but here are the two things to keep in mind:

  1. Analyze your landscape's environmental conditions and select plants according to their ability to thrive in a specific spot. Native (indigenous) plants provide a beautiful, hardy, drought resistant and low-maintenance landscape.
  2. If you're a beginner, they suggest using easy starter plants like begonias, dahlias and herbs. Vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, carrots and green beans are hardy and easy to care for too.

How to plant

Now that you have your plants, it’s time to, you know, actually plant them. Here’s what to know:

  • When planting bulbs, make sure to prepare the soil, determine the plant depth, place bulbs nose up/roots down and give plenty of water.
  • It's important to group plants that have similar needs in terms of sun, water and soil conditions. Place plants far enough apart so they have room to grow, but close enough so you don't waste precious garden space.

RELATED: You can do it! 6 steps to start your own vegetable garden

How to maintain your garden

Now all you have to do is keep those plants alive! Don’t be intimidated. Here are some easy tip sand tricks to make your garden thrive.

You can easily repurpose your wine bottles for your garden. Use the bottle to water your soil and the cork to mark your plants.

  1. Wash the wine bottle thoroughly and then fill it with water. Quickly flip it upside down, pushing the open end deep into the soil. It will provide a steady supply of water and save you a few days of watering your plant. You can choose to use a green or brown bottle to better blend in with your garden.
  2. Instead of buying plant markers, you can use a Sharpie to write out your plant names on corks. Carefully drill about an inch into the center of each cork and then insert the end of a bamboo skewer into the hole before planting the marker in the soil.

Crushed eggshells are an effective and inexpensive way to enrich your soil and give your plants a calcium boost. They also deter pests like snails.

  1. Rinse your saved eggshells thoroughly and then spread them evenly on a baking sheet, broken-side down, and bake them for 20-30 minutes at 200 degrees..
  2. Once they're dry and cool, you can grind them up using a mallet or a food processor.
  3. Sprinkle the shells around the base of your plants. Store any leftover crushed shells in an airtight container for later use.

You can use everyday kitchen supplies to make two easy sprays for your plants. One keeps pests away, and the other kills weeds.

  1. Insect repellent: In a large pot, mix two heads of crushed garlic, 3 cups of crushed mint leaves, 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper and 12 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Let the mixture sit overnight and then strain it into a couple of spray bottles, adding a few squirts of dish soap to each. This should yield 12 cups of liquid.
  2. Weed killer: This is as easy as filling a spray bottle with white vinegar and adding a teaspoon of dish soap. Be careful when spraying this solution because it can kill your plants too.