Gardening is a skill that provides a variety of benefits. Not only does gardening allow you to produce your own healthy, tasty fruits, vegetables and herbs, it also lets you get outdoors, get some exercise and save some money along the way. Green thumbs are not a requirement for successful gardening. However, learning some basic gardening skills is essential, whether you want to grow a few flowers in a window box or create a full-fledged vegetable garden in the backyard.
Know your limitations. Before you can plant vegetables, you need to determine how much space you have to work with, and whether you have the time and money to start a full garden or just a few containers.
Browse through some gardening books at your local library or bookstore. Before you spend tons of cash on plants and gardening supplies, do some reading first to get acquainted with all the choices available. Books such as Readers Digest's "Beginner's Guide to Gardening" or "Gardening Basics for Dummies" by Steven A. Frowine are great primers for learning what you need to know to start growing your own vegetables.
Check with your local agricultural extension agency about classes for beginning gardeners. Sometimes classes will be free or available for minimal fees. Colleges and universities that have an agricultural division may also be able to direct you to free or inexpensive gardening courses. You may also be able to audit a gardening course through the school itself.
Hit the farmer's market and start networking with local farmers. You may be able to connect with someone who has some spare time to give you some lessons in growing your own vegetables. If you don't have a farmer's market in your area, check your local phone directory for farms that sell fresh produce. Give them a call and ask if they have some time to show you the ropes.
Check out television and the Internet for gardening tutorials. A wide variety of programs, such as PBS's "Victory Garden," demonstrate gardening methods and growing tips that can help you develop your skills. If you're a visual learner, look for online tutorials that provide video or step-by-step photographs to help you envision what you need to do when working with your own plants.