Have you ever tasted a fresh, ripe tomato or broccoli right from the vine? Then you know that nothing you can buy from the grocery store can even come close. Having your own garden is a fantastic way to get your hands on fresh, chemical-free food that not only tastes good but is also easy on the pocket!
Even if you are a beginner and have no experience planting a garden, it is a lot easier than you think it might be! With the help of this article, you will learn how to plant a garden easily and quickly. Without further ado, let’s get started!
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Benefits of having your own garden
Many of you must be wondering right now, “Why should I plant my garden?”. “What are the benefits of having my own garden?”. Well, there are plenty of reasons for planting your vegetables and flowers. Let’s see what they are.
Fresh produce – More nourishing
When a vegetable is picked, it starts to lose its nutritional value and taste. From the time the vegetable is harvested to the time it reaches you, it can already be several days old. For instance, Vitamin C in any fresh produce starts to diminish mere hours after it is picked. The closer to your table, vegetables and fruits are, the more nutritious they will be.
Plus, fresh, homegrown vegetables are healthy, and people who eat them are less likely to suffer from chronic diseases. We all know that it is a lot easier to add veggies into your diet when they are growing right in your backyard!
When you are growing your vegetables, you know if they have herbicides or pesticides on them. You also know whether they are GMO safe or not and how they were picked and cleaned exactly.
You can never be sure of all this when you are buying food from a supermarket. By growing your own vegetables, you will know that your family will only consume top-quality products.
Adds beauty to your home
A house with a beautiful garden, with lovely foliage of vegetables and flowers, is always calming for the soul. The richness and freshness of the growing plants – whether they are flowers or vegetables – is appealing and soothing. Why not make a little sitting area in your garden so that you can bask in the beauty of nature surrounding you?
Some extra benefits
A few other benefits of having your own garden:
- Cost-effective option
- Helping the bees
- Eating local
- Connecting with family & neighbours
- Sense of fulfilment & achievement
Things you need to know before you start
Before you start planting a cottage garden on your own, there are a couple of things that you need to know. Let’s take a look at them.
Observe the space
Before you start to dig and plant, you need to look at the potential area and the existing conditions. Learn where the sunlight falls throughout the day. Moreover, learn more about how long the sunlight shines, whether you will get full sun or indirect sunlight. Figure out whether you have shade in your backyard or not. Learn about the wind conditions as well as the soil and water conditions. For your kitchen garden to be successful, you have to know what kind of environment you have in your hands.
Find out the hardiness zone
Find out the hardiness zone of your garden. The hardiness zone will let you know the average first and last frost dates of the area. This will be helpful when you are trying to figure out the length of the growing season.
Perform a soil test
Perform a soil test to determine whether the soil in your garden lacks any essential nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, etc. Also, the soil test will tell what kind of soil is present – silty, sandy, clay – along with its pH value. Armed with all this information, you can figure which plants will easily grow in your garden and what nutrients to add for specific kinds of plants.
Begin small & then expand
Gardening is not expensive. You can begin with a few essential tools and equipment. All you need is healthy soil, sunshine, water, and some seeds to get up and running. Start small and then go from there. We know that it is tempting to turn your whole backyard into a beautiful, edible paradise quickly. However, in the beginning, you should never undertake a large garden project. It is better that you learn a few vegetable gardening techniques on a small scale that adds to your knowledge with time.
Start keeping a garden journal
It is a good idea to start keeping a garden journal. Note down everything that you do in your garden so that you and other people can take help from it if needed. The journal will also help you figure out what went good this year and what changes you should make next year.
When and where to plant
If you are growing a couple of plants, the process of planting and caring for them is easy. However, if you are planning on growing a full garden, there are a few things that you have to consider when you go about learning how to do it.
When you should plant
The planting time of every region is different based on the weather conditions. Every vegetable has its temperature preferences as well. So keep an eye on the growing requirements specific to your area and the plant that you are planning to grow.
Where you should plant
Here are a few tips on arranging the plants in your garden.
- You can’t plant all the vegetables simultaneously. There are cool-season vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, peas, etc., that will grow in early spring and fall. On the other hand, there are warm-season vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc., that are planted in late spring and summer, when the soil warms up.
- If you plan to plant tall veggies such as pole beans, sweet corn, etc., you should plant them on the north side of your garden. By doing this, you ensure that they don’t shade the shorter plants. If there is shade in your new garden, use that area to plant cool-season veggies as they do well when it gets hot.
- If you are going to plant perennial and year-round crops like rhubarb, asparagus, etc., then you should provide them permanent beds or locations.
- Make sure that your soil drains well and doesn’t stay wet. If you have poor drainage, you can plant the vegetables in raised rows or raised beds to improve that so that the plant root systems are not damaged.
- It is better to avoid places that are windy since the wind will knock over the young plants. Moreover, the wind will keep the pollinators from doing their jobs. Avoid sites that can flood easily as well as those places that have a lot of foot traffic.
Step-by-step guide: How to plant your garden
Are you ready to start planting your own garden? Here are the steps you need to follow to do it quickly and successfully.
Prepare the garden soil first
- With the help of survey flags, stakes, rocks, or some other markers, mark the corners of your garden and show what area you are going to cover.
- If there are any roots, sticks, weeds, etc., within the marked boundaries, remove them.
- With the help of a rake or garden fork, break up the ground.
- Work the garden bed’s soil and mix a layer of compost, plant food, organic matter, or fertiliser. Make sure that you are using the right amount of fertiliser for the right kind of plant.
Plant the seedlings
- With the help of a spade, dig planting holes in the ground to the correct depth.
- Make sure there is ample spacing between the seedlings so that they can grow easily.
- Place the seedlings into the holes.
- Fill the holes with layers of topsoil.
- If necessary, you can add a layer of mulch as well.
Water your garden
- Since your vegetable garden is new, you have to keep it moist all the time. If the planted seedlings dry out, it is very likely that they will die out even before they have a chance to mature.
- With the help of garden hoses, spray water in the planted area in the morning.
- Keep checking the soil often. If it looks dry, water the plants again.
- However, don’t water the seedlings in the evening. This is because if the water sits overnight in the garden, mould can start to grow. If you think your plants need water, you can give them water at night as long as you don’t make this a habit.
Choosing the right vegetables
Since you are a beginner, you should choose vegetables that are easy to grow and produced. Do your research and find which plants are perfect for the area you live in.
Easy vegetables to start with
Here’s a list of the top 10 easy vegetables that you can start your garden off with.
It is a great idea to mix in some flowers like marigolds. They are easy to grow and add colour, attract pollinators, and discourage pests!
How to choose the right types of plants and vegetables
Here are a few tips on choosing the suitable types of plants & vegetables when you are learning how to plant a garden.
- Choose what you like to eat. If no one in your family eats brussels sprouts, what is the purpose of planting them? Plant what you and your family will end up eating and loving.
- Be realistic when it comes to how many vegetables you need. Don’t overplant and stretch yourself thin. Plant moderately, and if you have any veggies in excess, give them to your friends.
- Keep an eye on the availability of veggies locally. Grow what you will not find easily in the market or those far more expensive than homegrown produce.
- When you plant a garden, you need to be around to take care of it. If you are going on a vacation, leave someone in charge of your plants or plant vegetables that don’t need assistance in growing.
The negative impacts of the global industrial food system on energy and resources have led many people on taking matters into their own hands. When we grow our food ourselves, we don’t have to worry about the way it was produced. Plus, we can grow several varieties of food that are not available in the local grocery store. Follow the tips that we have mentioned above to plant your own garden successfully. Happy gardening, folks!