Like being able to do laundry or cook for yourself, being able to grow your own fruits and vegetables is a life skill that allows you to become more independent and self-sufficient. Plus, it’s also a great hobby, especially if you love plants and the outdoors. But even if you don’t have the greenest thumbs, you can still create a beautiful garden.
Determine your goals
When you start creating a garden, you need to decide what goals you have for it. Do you want to have only a few plants or do you want to have enough to grow most of your own food? Do you want to grow only herbs or only one type of vegetable?
Start a gardening journal and write down what you envision for your garden. Everything from what exactly you want to plant, to how you are going to arrange your plants, to what you hope to gain from this garden.
For example: I want to have an herb garden. With Mint ranked first, Sage second and Dill third. I hope not only to grow a lot of herbs for cooking, but also to be able to share them with my friends and family.
Decide what type of garden you want
There are many types of gardens to choose from, including container gardens and raised beds. But the type of garden you start depends on how much space you have and how much time you devote to it.
Research different types of gardens and choose the one that suits you best, making sure you have the time, ability and knowledge to set it up.
Choose the right plants
The most important part of any garden are the plants. Depending on where you live, some plants grow better than others. Research what grows well in your area, then decide what you want to plant based on that list.
Another important factor to consider is whether or not to grow your garden from seeds or plants purchased from a nursery. Depending on the option you choose, the process of starting your garden will be slightly different.
Always try to buy organic, heirloom, non-GMO seeds or plants, as they are of the highest quality and better for the environment and your health. Additionally, you can replant the seeds of your heirloom products. (Some conventional plant seeds cannot regrow).
Some of the easiest plants to start with are: garlic, bush beans (similar to green beans), potatoes, onions, carrots and kale.
Herbs such as cilantro, basil, parsley and mint are also excellent herbs for beginners.
follow the instructions
Each plant has its own needs to grow. Once you know what plants you plan to grow, figure out what each plant needs. Some plants you will need to start indoors on a seed mat and others you can put directly into the ground or into containers.
Be sure to follow the instructions on each plant or seed packet exactly so you have a better chance of your plants growing and producing.
Usually, plants and seeds should not be put outside before the last frost, as this will kill them.
Do not use chemical pesticides
Being from the Midwest, I learned a lot about the culture. One of the most important things I’ve learned is to never use chemical pesticides, no matter how badly the package says so.
Chemical pesticides contain many compounds that are harmful to health and the environment. Instead, there are plenty of alternatives that will benefit your garden and your health.
Alternatives to conventional pesticides:
For pests with hard outer shells as well as caterpillars such as army worms, use diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance derived from fossilized algae. It is completely safe for humans.
Plants such as nasturtiums and marigolds, which attract predators such as ladybugs, which eat garden pests, are another great way to control pests in your garden. Just plant a few between your rows. In addition, nasturtiums and marigolds are edible.
Plants need regular watering to produce. A good rule of thumb is to water your plants every other day during the growing season, unless it has rained or the soil is still damp from the previous watering.
The best times to water are early morning and late evening after the sun has set below the horizon.
If you live somewhere that gets very hot in the summer, you may need to water your garden more often, as the daytime heat will suck moisture out of your garden.
Feed your plants
Just like humans, plants need more than water, they also need food. This comes in the form of fertilizer. Three of the best natural fertilizers are manure, Epsom salt and compost.
Manure is livestock waste that is reused to feed your garden. Often farmers sell it at a low price or even give it away. Make sure your manure is a few years old, as new manure is too potent and can harm your gardens. New manure may also contain seeds that could sprout in your garden.
Minerals are one of the most important elements in keeping your garden well nourished. Epsom salt is a compound made up of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. These compounds penetrate the soil and help the plant grow bigger and produce more.
Compost is the product of leftover fruits and vegetables and other plants that have begun to decompose. As they break down, nutrients are released that help nourish plants. You can also make compost tea by adding water to your compost and letting it steep for several days before watering your garden with it.
Weed your garden
Gardens have weeds, it’s just part of the process. But you have to be careful not to let them take over. Once in a while, get down in the dirt with your little darlings and pull out the weeds that are competing for space.
When pulling weeds, be sure to pull out as many of the roots as possible so the weed doesn’t try to grow back. Be careful to pull only the actual weeds and not the plants you want to grow there.
Weeding is a lot of work, but it also has benefits beyond just caring for your plants. There is something special about being in the garden, which fills you with a sense of calm.
Enjoy your products
After all the hard work taking care of your garden, it’s a wonderful feeling to eat what you’ve grown. Find recipes that incorporate ingredients from your garden. Share your products with your friends and neighbors. Be proud of your hard work.
Share your knowledge
After gardening for a while, share what you’ve learned with those around you. Invite them to come and see your garden and show them all the work that has been done there.
Gardening is a wonderful and rewarding project that not only allows you to be creative, but also gives you a better understanding of the natural world.