This article is for people who have always wanted to try their hand at gardening. You'll get to know what to start with and how to secure the best yield with minimum effort.
Many people want to have their own gardens but they don't make this dream come true simply because they don't know what to start with. In this article, you'll find a step-by-step beginner's guide that will enable you to create a beautiful and sustainable garden even if you have zero experience.
Choose a Location for Your Garden
You shouldn't plant anything in high wind areas and frost pockets (low areas where frost is likely to settle). If you have kids, leave enough space for them to play. Analyze how much shade you have and how many hours of direct sunlight your plants will be able to enjoy. Root vegetables, herbs and greens require partial shade. Most other vegetables and fruits need a minimum of five hours of direct sunlight per day.
Test Your Soil
If possible, try to send a soil sample to a professional laboratory to find answers to the following questions.
●Is your soil acidic, alkaline or neutral pH?
●Does it include enough nutrients?
●Does it contain sand, clay, silt or rocks?
●Do roadways or other nearby structures contaminate your soil?
The answers might affect your choice of plants. For example, brassicas prefer slightly alkaline soils and potatoes require slightly acidic. Yet for most garden crops, soil with a neutral pH (around 7) should be optimal.
Plan Your Garden Beds
The ideal size of the bed is 3 to 4 feet across and approximately 10 feet long. Apart from rectangular beds, you might consider making square ones. You'll be able to approach them from any side and it will be convenient for you to work with them. Within a bed, you might place plants in rows or a grid pattern.
If the soil is dry, make sunken beds because they will gather available moisture. Raised beds dry out more quickly — but they might make it easier to work in your garden and they look more attractive. Add fertilizer and soil amendments to the planting area.
When designing your garden, try to maximize growing space and minimize walkways. If the space is limited, try planting crops vertically — you can do it with cucumbers, peas, beans and tomatoes. Many gardeners like to plant crops in containers, grow bags, sections of drain pipe or old livestock water tanks. Unlike terracotta flower pots, self-watering containers won't dry out too quickly.
Give each plant enough room to grow. If overcrowded, your crops won't be able to thrive. Get to know which plants are companions to the ones that you grow and place them together to attract beneficial insects and improve yields.
Buy High-Quality Tools
To get started, you'll need the following items:
●Garden shovel or D handle shovel
Plastic tools are more budget-friendly but significantly less safe. You should opt for metal tools and buy those that have the right size for you. This will help you to avoid injuries and maximize the efficiency of your work.
Take Care of Your Garden
It's not enough just to plant the crops. You should have enough time and willpower to take care of them. Only some herbs and sprouts require low maintenance. As long as the weeds are still small, nab them with a scuffle hoe. Try to find organic and not chemical solutions to any problem that you might come across. Keep your plants healthy and well-nourished to minimize pest problems — bugs are more attracted to plants that are stressed or in some way deficient.
During the growing season, plants require approximately one inch of water per week — you should be ready to water them if rains fail. If you're too busy to water the crops every day, consider buying self watering tomato planters — this efficient and affordable system will help you to secure impressive yields in any weather. But mind that if the soil is too wet, roots and seeds might rot. So before watering, you should always check your garden beds.
Learn to Harvest Your Plants
The flavor usually reaches its peak after the morning dew has cleared and before the afternoon heat has settled in. If you grow sweet corn, you should harvest it when the silk is dark and cobs are well filled out. Peppers and tomatoes are supposed to be harvested green — otherwise, you might let them ripen to full sweetness and flavor. As for peas and beans, you should pick them every 2-3 days. Try to get to know the rules of harvesting each crop before you buy and plant it.
Hopefully, this information came in handy and you'll feel more confident when starting your own garden. Remember: it's not the space of the garden that guarantees the largest yield but the love and efforts that you put into your work.
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