Starting your own garden is great a way to save money. It also provides you with delicious, homegrown fruits and vegetables that in most cases far exceed the grocery store produce. And growing your own garden is fun too. It gives you an excuse to spend time outdoors and in the sun. It’s also a lot easier than you may think. If you plan right, you can have fresh vegetables all year long!
The benefits of growing your own garden are plentiful, just like your crop of healthy, organic vegetables will be. Here are five easy tips to growing your own garden:
Decide what to grow
While planning your first garden, try to start small. A smaller garden is easier to control and manage. When you plant more than you need, you end up wasting food and feeling overwhelmed by your garden. Consider how much your family will eat and plant accordingly. It’s best to start small and to expand a little every year.
Size of your garden
The size of your garden will be determined by the amount of available space and the time you wish to commit to the project. For example, a 10 x 10-foot space will be suitable for a starter garden. It will produce a steady supply of fruits and vegetables for your whole family. Your garden will require a minimum of five hours of direct sunlight per day, so find a place with adequate sunlight.
Test soil before digging
Before you begin digging your garden, test the soil. Check the drainage by soaking the soil with a hose. Wait a day and then dig up a handful of soil. Squeeze the soil, if water streams out you will want to add compost or organic matter to improve the drainage. Next, loosen up the soil either by hand or till. Once the soil has loosened you can spread out compost and work it into the soil. When you’re done, rake the surface and water thoroughly. Then allow the bed to rest for five days before you plant.
Caring for your garden
Vegetables require a steady supply of moisture. About an inch of water per week will suffice. Keep in mind that raised beds drain faster and may require more frequent watering than non-raised. Also, try to weed your garden regularly because weeds tend to steal water and nutrients from your fruits and vegetables. Finally, consider applying a packaged vegetable fertilizer as recommended in the directions.
After all your hard work, it’s time enjoy the fruits of your labor! Different vegetables can harvest in various stages. For example, leaf lettuce can be picked as young as you would like. The same goes for summer squash and cucumbers, which can be harvested when the fruit is only a few inches long. A good rule of thumb is that if it looks good enough to eat, it probably is. With most vegetables, the more you pick, the more the plant will produce in the future.