How to Start Your First Garden
Have you ever dreamed of growing your own herbs, fruits or vegetables? Many people like the idea of having a garden in their own backyard but don’t know where to begin. If you’ve ever wondered how to start a garden yourself, simply follow these seven easy steps to grow the garden of your dreams.
1. Pick a crop
What would you like to grow? Pick a crop and get an idea of what you would like your garden to become. Are you a fan of fruit, or are you more of a perennial person? While it’s always great to experiment with new things, try to choose crops that you know you will use. Doing so will make harvest season all the more satisfying.
2. Pick up some tools
Every gardener needs a modest gardening toolbox at their disposal. Start with a garden hoe, a dirt rake, a garden shovel and some hand tools. Try to avoid plastic tools if you can; your tools are an investment, after all. Quality tools will start your garden off on the right foot.
3. Choose a location
Decide where you are going to plant your garden. Consider what type of crops you’ll be growing and how much sunlight or shade they might need. In general, vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. There are plenty of apps available for your smartphone that let you track sunlight in different seasons. This way, if you are planning your garden in January, you will know what kind of sun exposure your crops will be getting in July.
4. Do a soil test
A soil test will inform you of what nutrients your soil already has and what it still needs before you plant, as well as your soil’s pH. Basic home soil test kits are available at most hardware stores. Your local county cooperative extension office can also perform a soil test for your future garden.
5. Prep your soil
Clear the ground of weeds, then till the soil, tilling in any organic compost or manure. Instead of purchasing compost, you may want to consider starting your own compost project. It’s cheap, easy, and yields excellent soil for your crops.
6. Plant your seeds
This is the easy part. Follow the directions on the back of your seed packets for planting. If you’re growing any tall plants like tomatoes, plant them on the north side of your garden so that they don’t shade your other crops.
7. Care for your garden
Water seeds everyday at first, but be careful not to overwater your plants as they mature. Fan sprinklers or drip irrigation systems streamline watering for large gardens and may be worth the long term investment. Check your gardens for weeds daily. An easy way to discourage weed growth is to lay down wood chips or mulch on top of your garden.
Finally, enjoy your harvest! Gardening is one of the most rewarding hobbies there is, and now that you know how to start a garden, you too can reap what you sow.
To help nurture your garden in the best way, check out how you can be ecologically efficiently with a rain barrel.