Gardening can be a fantastic way to enjoy the natural world, move your body, save money on grocery shopping, and incorporate more fresh produce into your diet. Maybe you’re interested in starting your very own garden, but you don’t know where to begin. You can find lots of great advice for brand-new gardeners from Black Homesteader! Furthermore, these tips will lay out a step-by-step guide to cultivating your first garden, from finding the space for garden beds to choosing your crops.
Consider a Larger Property
What if you’re living in an apartment without any outdoor space or a condo that lacks a balcony or yard? Maybe you are living in a single-family home, but your yard is already a bit crowded, and you just don’t have much space for a garden.
While it’s possible to garden indoors and with small plots of land, you can definitely produce a larger harvest when you have more yard space. Therefore, if you’re in a position to buy a home, you may want to consider investing in a bigger property with a sizable yard. Start browsing average home prices in your area today to find properties that suit your budget.
Choose a Location
No matter where you live, you’ll need to assess your yard space to determine the best location for a garden bed. You might assume that you can simply build a garden bed anywhere in your yard – but some locations are more optimal than others! Gardens That Matter recommends choosing a spot that gets plenty of sunshine throughout the day so that your plants can grow. You should also consider factors like water runoff in your yard and equipment access. For example, if you plan to water your garden with your hose, you’ll want to make sure the bed is located near your hose.
Decide What to Grow
Now that you’ve set up your garden bed, you’re ready to choose your crops. First, think about which vegetables and herbs you actually enjoy cooking with. If you’re not a big fan of cauliflower, or your family never eats zucchini, don’t bother planting it. On the other hand, if you’re always including basil, cucumbers, peppers, or lettuce on your grocery shopping lists, you’ll probably want to plant these crops in your garden. For first-time gardeners, it’s best to grow vegetables and herbs that aren’t too high-maintenance. For example, Simple Living Country Gal recommends growing tomatoes, snap beans, radishes, garlic, and onions.
Purchase the Right Tools
In order to plant your garden and care for your crops, you’re going to need some important tools. Perhaps you already have some basic gardening tools, like small shovels, tucked away somewhere in your garage, or maybe a friend is willing to lend you some equipment for the time being. But in the long run, you’ll want to invest in your own high-quality gardening tools. When you head to your local gardening center or hardware store, make sure to pick up garden gloves, pruning shears, a hand trowel, a spade, a rake, a wheelbarrow, and a large watering can. You may even want to pick out a pair of padded kneelers to avoid putting pressure on your knees and back while gardening.
Improve Your Soil Quality
You’ve got your tools as well as your seeds and starter plants – but before you start digging, think about how you can enhance your garden’s soil quality. If you have poor soil quality, you will not be able to grow healthy crops. You don’t want your hard work to go to waste! You can add chopped leaves on top of your garden bed, add wood chips or wood ash to your soil, and even create a compost soil with your kitchen scraps to boost the nutrient content of your soil.
Planting Your Garden
Now, it’s finally time for the fun part – planting your garden! You’ll need to create a layout with the right location for each type of plant. For example, you should place taller plants at the north end of the garden so that they don’t cast a shadow over the shorter plants. You can also put companion plants, like tomatoes and basil, right next to each other, as these plants actually help deter pests from each other. Root crops, like carrots or beets, should be planted in wide bands for healthier growth. Finally, warm season crops like celery and peppers should be planted in the spring, while cool season crops like cabbages can grow in the fall.
Care For Your Plants
Your seeds and starter plants are in the ground. Beyond watering them, what can you do to ensure they grow and produce healthy herbs and vegetables? It’s important to focus on pest control. Reach out to your local gardening center and inquire about organic methods for deterring local pests so that your plants do not get eaten by bugs.
Harvesting From Your Garden
You’ve spent months caring for your plants, and now, you finally get to harvest them! Pick your vegetables and herbs gently, and use scissors or knives to cleanly separate them from the stem or vine if necessary. Be careful as you step through your garden so that you don’t occasionally squish any produce.
You may want to cook with some of your produce immediately. However, you could also clean and dry your herbs, make preserves or jams, or even can your vegetables so that you can enjoy them during colder months.
Gardening is a deeply fulfilling hobby, and by learning more about what it takes to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you’ll foster a stronger connection with the natural world. If you’re nervous about your lack of a green thumb, relax – anyone can learn basic gardening skills and start growing their own food! By applying these tips, you’ll be able to find a larger property with adequate space for garden beds, invest in the tools you need, and plant a garden that will produce a bountiful harvest.