We’re on vacation for the next two weeks, but we’re leaving you in good hands with guest posts everyday AND regular Nerd Nest scheduled posts on weekdays. Today’s guest post is by Kelly from Apockylypse. She’s fellow nerd and beginning gardener like us and she’s here to share what she’s learned from her n00b gardening experience!

Nerd is the word! Well it’s the first word that got me hooked on Megan & Jake’s blog, but that could be true for most of us. But do you know what got me to stick around? Although I love their adorable family adventures, that’s not it. What kept me coming back was what also has inspired me to do a little experiment I like to call Veggie Verdict: their Savory Sundays series.

You see Josh & I have been wanting to improve the way we eat, but it’s difficult when there is one picky eater (hey, I’m getting A LOT better!) who can count the number of approved veggies on one hand. Then I started seeing those mouth watering pictures of their farmer’s market hauls & the goodies from their garden. That’s when I knew that if anything could make me change my tune it would be growing my own veggies. It speaks to the DIYer in me & quenches my desire to learn something new.

So we got together with our neighbor & decided to create a community (of 3) raised bed garden. And leaping lizards have we learned so much in these few months of n00b gardening, which I’d love to share with y’all!

N00b Gardening with Kelly from Apockylypse

1. Do your homework. It will seriously save you many headaches & make your garden even more productive if you learn about the veggies before you plant (or buy)! If we had done our research before planting then we would’ve learned that the zucchini plant we bought was not a vine, but a bush-like plant. So instead of planning for vines to go certain ways, we ended up with the towering monster of zucchini plants that kept some of our romaine lettuce & other squash hidden from the sun’s golden rays.

2. Lay it & then dig it. Before you buy one of every single plant you crave & after you do your homework, come up with a layout for your little garden. Creating a scaled paper version will save you lots of headache & maybe even keep you from having to make an extra trip or two to the garden center/lumber yard.

N00b Gardening with Kelly from Apockylypse

3. If you garden with others, communicate & listen. I love the idea of a community garden, but when there are multiple n00b gardeners you have got to make sure that both lanes of communication are there. Otherwise it could be a mountain of trouble. Once the addition was built there was just a wee bit more room for one or two plants & our neighbor wanted fresh watermelon this summer. Knowing that it vines like crazy, one plant was all that space could house…but he didn’t listen to the word plant & bought one packet (4 plants) of watermelon which he ended up planting in that small, empty spot. Needless to say the watermelon is plotting to take over the world, but starting with our backyard & patio.

4. Dirt is worth its weight in gold! If you don’t already have some great topsoil for your garden, you might want to consider buying some from a farm or garden center. The nutrients in that dirt can do wonders for your garden in more ways that you can imagine!

5. If you have to water, do it in the morning. It’s amazing what a little water can do for a garden, but if you aren’t lucky enough to have Mother Nature do it for you then you probably want to wake up a little earlier & do it in the morning. The brutal afternoon sun in the Summer can do more damage than good to plants if they have a little water on their leaves. There were a few times we watered them a bit later in the day & things just didn’t look so happy because the hot, summer sun fried the leaves a little. Luckily the next day a healthy rain came & perked those babies up!

N00b Gardening with Kelly from Apockylypse

Bonus tip: Start you recipe search early! Not only can an early recipe search help you make the difficult decision of what to plant, but also help you figure out how many. If you find one recipe that calls for a ton of something or many recipes for a single veggie, then you might want to think about planting more of that veggie.

What was your most memorable mishap in your n00b gardening years? Do you have a favorite bit of sage advice to add to the list?

Kelly shares stories of life adventures, handcraftery & her pursuit to be nerdtacular over at Apockylypse. She currently works at her zombie job (8-5) but dreams of some day becoming a crafty entrepreneur who spends her days blogging & selling handmade accessories for the everyday nerd. You can follow her daily mini adventures on Twitter & Facebook.