Starting a home garden can be an incredibly rewarding thing to do. Gardening lets you grow the foods you and your family love at minimal costs and in the comfort of your home. This way, you always have food supplies even during low seasons, so you won’t have to purchase foods in the market at high prices. It’s also a great way to bring life into your backyard, and it can be pretty fulfilling and rewarding to see your plants bloom and seedlings sprout with delicious flavors and colorful views.
Additionally, gardening can be an excellent way to spend your free time while allowing you to connect with nature. Despite the numerous benefits, first-time gardeners often face many challenges that can be pretty discouraging and frustrating. However, starting a garden doesn’t have to be complicated or challenging. For instance, if you’re planning to start a fruit garden, choose an assortment of fruit trees that can do well in your climate and properly nurture them to ensure they thrive. Breaking down your gardening project into manageable steps can also make it easier for you when starting. Here are a few tips to guide you when starting a home garden:
1. Decide What to Grow
The first and most important step when starting a home garden is deciding what plants you’d want to grow. It’s always best to grow something that you and your family love to eat. Besides what you enjoy eating, you should consider several other factors when choosing what to plant in your garden. For instance, if you want to grow flowers, you should decide whether you want perennials or annuals.
When starting, you may want to choose plants that are easy to grow, like bush beans, radishes, and tomatoes. If your garden space is limited, focus on plants that will produce the highest return, such as leafy greens, pole beans, and root crops. Check the tag on the seed packet to ensure you only plant disease-resistant varieties, especially if you want to grow vegetables since some diseases can’t be treated, wreaking havoc in your garden.
2. Choose a Location to Start Your Garden
After you’ve decided what to grow, you need to choose an ideal location for your new garden. The location you choose to start your garden is critically important since it will determine whether your plants will thrive. If you’re looking to grow vegetables and fruits, consider selecting a spot in your yard that receives at least five hours of sunlight daily. However, if most parts of your yard are shady, choose plants that will do well in partial or full shade, such as root veggies, greens, outdoor ferns, herbs, and hostas.
Observe your yard during the day to see which parts get maximum sunlight and which areas have partial and full shade. Avoid slopping and high-wind parts of your garden since they can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly to grow plants. Instead, choose a relatively flat spot that will allow easy access to your garden while tending and watering your plants.
3. Organize Your Garden
Once you’ve chosen your crop, you need to decide whether to plant them in rows or in a north-to-south orientation that allows maximum sunlight exposure. Consider allocating the northern side of your garden for trellised vines like beans and taller crops such as sunflowers and corn to prevent them from shading shorter plants. Ensure you don’t plant the same crops in the same garden area to prevent the buildup of disease pests and insects.
Additionally, ensure proper spacing of plants when designing your garden. Crowding your crops can make them compete for resources they need to thrive, including water, nutrients, and sunlight. Without adequate resources for growth, your crops can become weak or even die. Properly spacing your plants can also help stop the spread of diseases, usually contracted when crops are too close to each other. Ensure you follow the recommended spacing on the seed packet tag when planting.
4. Prepare the soil
Your plants need to be planted in nutrient-rich, healthy soil to grow and thrive. It’s important to ensure your garden has soil with good drainage, is easy to dig, and is rich in nutrients. No matter the type of soil in your garden, you can improve its quality by adding organic matter. Adding a layer of compost, old manure, dry grass clippings, or decayed leaves to your garden can improve your soil by adding essential nutrients. It also improves soil moisture retention so crops can get adequate water and oxygen for healthy growth.
To know the soil type in your garden, the pH levels, and what essential nutrients it lacks, consider sending a sample of your garden soil lab testing and analysis by a state-certified soil test lab. Once your soil is tested, you’ll be advised on the best ways to improve its quality for planting. After preparing your soil, allow it a few days before planting the crops for the changes to take effect.
5. Maintain Your Garden Regularly
After preparing the soil and planting your seedlings, ensure you water your garden daily to prevent the seedlings from drying out. You may also need to water transplants frequently until they develop roots. Once your plants have strong roots, you can reduce the watering frequency to at least once or twice a week, depending on the type of soil, rainfall, and humidity of where you reside.
Ensure you pull weeds out and eliminate any dead or diseased vegetation that could prevent the healthy growth of your crops. An easy and effective way to prevent weed growth and retain more moisture in the soil is by applying a layer of mulch. This way, you won’t have to water your garden as often or pull weeds now and then. Another benefit of applying mulch to your garden is that it will help nourish your soil, especially if you use organic mulch.
Starting a home garden isn’t difficult, even for beginning gardeners. If you’re looking to start your own garden, following the tips above will help you get started and ensure the healthy growth of your crops. Be sure also to stop weeds and pests in their tracks. Always promptly remove any plant infected with fungal diseases.