If you’re looking for a rewarding do-it-yourself project to take on this year, look no further than the home garden. Not only will a successful garden lower your grocery bill and improve your diet, but it will also provide a relaxing outlet from the demands of work and home life while deepening your knowledge of nature’s cycles and rhythms.
Perhaps most importantly, a home garden also has the potential to strengthen your connection to your community… inviting neighbors to help on work days or sharing the resulting produce is a fun and easy way to get to know them!
All that being said, launching a home garden is no easy feat. It requires lots of research, planning and most of all patience. But that shouldn’t deter you…if you persevere, the rewards will be well worth it!
Here’s a breakdown of the six important phases to successful gardening so you can know what to expect.
1: Planning your garden setup
All great gardens begin with planning. Not only do you need to think about what you’ll grow but how and where. Choosing your plants should begin by looking at your family’s diet. Choose vegetables and fruits that fit the region where you live and that your family already enjoys eating. It will also be helpful if you consider how much space you have to garden, the quality of the soil and how much sunlight your yard receives. Many plants like tomatoes and peppers simply won’t grow properly without 6-8 hours of consistent sunlight.
Next, you’ll want to design your garden. Sure, you could plant directly into the ground, but it may also be worthwhile to consider a vertical, raised or container garden. Map out the space you have, what you will plant where and how much space everything will need. Lastly, don’t forget to make a list of materials you might need as you embark on this adventure! After all, half the fun of gardening is the clever tools you finally have an excuse to buy! Keep in mind, once you have a list of supplies Surv can do the assembling for you.
2: Preparing your soil for planting
A bountiful garden starts well before you plant the seeds into the soil. Before you tuck those little guys into their new home, you’ll want to make sure you’ve properly measured the rows in your garden lot so that you know exactly how many seedlings you have room for. Next, you’ll want to be sure you have healthy soil on hand. If you’re using natural topsoil, you should research how best to prepare it for growing food. You may discover various techniques like heating the soil to kill unwanted weed roots or sprinkling it with cinnamon to fend off bacteria. The sprouting itself should take place in a protected area like a sunroom or porch. After a few weeks, you’ll transition them to their garden lot once they’re strong enough to be outdoors.
3: Moving plants outdoors
Once you have a plan for sprouting your seeds, you’ll want to dedicate time to studying the conditions they’ll need to thrive once they’re transitioned to the garden lot. For instance, some plants have root systems that require a certain amount of space in order to flourish, while other seedlings thrive when they’re grouped close to plants of various types. Lastly, you’ll want to think about support—do any of your plants need infrastructure like trellises or fences in order to grow? This is also a good time to think about the nutrients your plants need to thrive and creative ways to get those nutrients to them. Common tips include using composted food scraps, hair and bananas skins. You can always give us a ring at 844-937-7667 and we’ll answer your questions.
4: Protecting your garden space
Successful gardeners know that their job is just beginning once the seedlings are planted outdoors. Now begins the protective part of your adventure. All gardens have an antagonist, whether that’s vermin, bugs, animals or destructive fungus. An essential part of gardening well is researching and preparing for potential threats. Depending on where you live, the size of your garden and what you choose to grow, you should be prepared to face everything from sneaky caterpillars to hungry deer. Common threats include weeds, aphids, rabbits and snails while common solutions include everything from homemade repellent, cayenne pepper, ladybugs and even spiders. Sometimes even constructing a protective fence can do the trick!
Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a little while to figure out how to best defend your garden. Every garden is unique and patience is essential to the process. When you get stuck, turn to gardeners in your area. Being more experienced with the local climate and common threats, a few conversations with them can help get you back on track.
5: Harvesting your yield
As a gardener, there’s nothing more rewarding than watching new plants begin to bear healthy fruit. Your hard work is finally paying off! As with every other part of the gardening process, harvesting your produce takes some planning. You will end up with different results and flavor depending on when you pick your vegetables, so it’s important to study the harvesting times of the plants you chose and to plan accordingly. You can usually find this information on the back of your seed packets. As a rule of thumb, you should check your garden every day and collect ripened produce, making room for new growth. Also be sure to research how to remove fruits and vegetables from the plants…technique matters! Incorrect harvesting can lead to rot, subpar flavor or stunted growth.
6: Preserving produce for later
It’s often the case that healthy gardens produce more than we can consume on a regular basis, which means you’ll want to come up with a plan for storing surplus produce. Many gardeners recommend dehydrating vegetables for soup mixes, pickling them for salad toppers or canning fruits for a winter treat. If you want to make it more social, tying up spare produce as a gift for neighbors or inviting them over for a truly “farm to table” dinner might be your next best step!
The popular saying, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” might be overused, but with gardening, it’s definitely true. Yes, gardening is ultimately about providing your family with healthy, delicious food from your backyard, but it’s also a chance to tend to the land and also to ourselves. The hours spent gardening provide valuable opportunities for deep thinking, centering breathing and reflection. When shared with others, gardening is also a chance to deepen your relationships with your fellow neighbors. In short, gardening is truly the project that keeps on giving. So grab your gardening gloves and jump in!