Whether you simply enjoy the peaceful pleasures of gardening or have a preference for fresh, organic produce, there are countless benefits to growing your own food. With the simple tips listed below and some dedication to your garden, you can expect to grow fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from your own home.
Providing the Basics
When it comes to gardening, there are three basic necessities you need to consistently provide for your garden to flourish: good soil, enough natural sunlight, and sufficient water. These three factors can also dictate where you plan to grow your garden. For instance, you will want to select an area that has rich soil, receives enough sunlight throughout the day, and is close enough to a water supply.
Accounting for Climate
Most plants require about six hours of sunlight per day to fully grow. Usually, areas with southern exposure receive good sunlight. It is also worth keeping in mind that if you live in a hot climate, you will not want your plants to receive much more than the needed six hours of sunlight per day.
In terms of climate, you should also choose an area that is protected from the wind. Strong winds can easily damage and destroy your produce, so ensure that your plants will not be privy to a premature demise.
Selecting the Proper Soil
When considering soil, there are three main choices: you can use the soil found naturally in your lawn, you can plant in raised beds, or you can plant in containers.
If you wish to use the soil in your lawn, it is important to understand the type of soil you have because it can affect how well your plants grow. For instance, you can distinguish between clay soil and sandy soil by pressing some wet dirt between your fingers. If the soil has a sticky or slimy texture, then it is clay. If it is gritty and dries quickly, it is sand. Once you determine what kind of soil you have, you can research what kind of plants will thrive in this soil.
You can also elect to have your soil tested for pH and contaminants because this can help determine how to make your soil more productive by adding nutrients and will ensure that your soil is safe for planting.
If you are not satisfied with the quality of your soil, you can plant in raised beds. To do this, you can build or purchase a structure in which to place quality topsoil and plant your seeds and starters. Another alternative is to plant in containers, which is a great option for growing small herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
Preparing Your Garden
Once you have selected an appropriate location to grow your garden, you will want to determine the size of your garden. How much space you need is largely determined by the type of plants you wish to grow. Plants such as artichokes, asparagus, and rhubarb are perennial plants that need to sit in the garden all season. Vining crops, like squash, cucumbers, and melons, will need room to spread out or up. On the other hand, many crops can be planted in succession, planting only a few feet of a row every two to three weeks so that a new crop is continually coming in.
After you decide how much space your garden will require, you should clear any grass and weeds with a sod cutter. You should then turn your soil with a shovel and add some organic compost. Once you complete this, you can begin planting your seeds!
Caring For Your Garden
Now that your seeds have been planted, it is time to tend to them as they grow into delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Since each type of plant requires different amounts of water, sunlight, and soil, you will want to research the plants you are growing to ensure you are giving them what they need to survive. Properly caring for your garden will allow you to reap the rewards of fresh, nutritious foods once they are fully grown!