Don’t Put Off Starting a Garden
There are a lot of things you could do with your time, but one of the best uses of your time is starting a garden!
Maybe you’ve wanted to start a garden for a while but you thought you didn’t have the time or you were a little intimidated by the thought of all there would be to do and everything you would need to learn.
While starting a garden does have its challenges and there is always something to learn, it is also one of the most satisfying and enjoyable hobbies you could ever have!
Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes of what you need to do to start a successful garden.
Picking a Good Location & Soil Testing
Picking the location is maybe the single most important step in relationship to the plants or vegetables you intend to grow. There are some plants like tomatoes that need full sun, or should I say that they will thrive in full sun whereas the results would vary greatly if planted in partial sun or shade. There are plants that tolerate shade like chard or kale and can thrive in the shade but will still need a few hours of sun a day.
Soil condition is the next item on the list for starting a garden. In order for most vegetable plants to be able to absorb enough nutrients from the soil the pH needs to be between 6.0 and 7.0 though each plant is different and some will be a little lower some a little higher, most will grow in this range.
You can buy a soil tester for around $12 that will also test moister levels and fertility of the soil. This is a pretty handy tool that will guide you along in what you need to do to your soil. I have a Rapitest Mini 4 in 1 Soil Testing Meter which and does a decent job it helping me to determine if I need to take any action to ready my soil for planting.
How Big Will Your Garden Be?
So you’ve selected the best spot you have for your garden and tested the soil, now you need to determine the dimensions. My garden is 70 feet longs and 50 feet wide, though it was much smaller when I started gardening. That is what I’d recommend to start is to start small and as you learn add to your garden.
Typically you only have so much room to work with, so that probably more than anything, will determine how many vegetable plants and what kind you are able to plant. Whatever plants you decided to plant you need to know how much room they need, how far apart to plant them and what plants the grow well next to, and which ones they don’t.
Time to Get to Work!
Now you are ready to prepare the soil for planting. If there is grass growing or sod where you intend to plant, you can turn it into the soil or you can remove it. Removing it does make the soil a little easier to work with and turning it in adds nutrients to the soil. This is not unlike a farmer that plants winter wheat for the sole purpose of turning it into the soil come spring time. He’s planning ahead to add much needed nutrients to his soil for whatever crop is going to be planted next.
There is no shortcut to either removing the sod or turning it into the soil, but you only have to it once for the area you are planting.
So far there are the steps you should have taken for starting a garden:
- Selected the location.
- Determined what plants you can plant based on amount of sun location receives daily.
- Tested soil for pH and fertility.
- Decided what types of plants to put in your garden.
- Prepared your soil for planting.
Now it’s time to decide whether you would like to start your plants from seed or buy plants. To start I recommend planting things like beans, chard, kale, okra, corn etc., from seed and I would buy things like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in a flat of seedlings.
You will need to find out what plants will do well in your area by using USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to determine what you ought to be able to safely plant that has the hardiness to handle your areas weather extremes. You can click here and it will take you right to the website with the map.
Are you ready to get started?