For healthy food and frugal grocery bills, nothing beats growing your own garden. Anyone can grow their own food, from homeowners with big yards to apartment dwellers with small balconies. Get ready to grow your own with a few simple steps.
Collect the tools you need before you even start. If you’re a complete novice there’s no need to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of specialized equipment, but a few basic tools are necessary. You’ll need a shovel, some gardening gloves to protect your hands and planters or equipment for building planting beds. You can add tools later as you find you need them, but this list is enough to get you started.
Turn your soil into the best home possible for your growing plants. Compost is a great organic soil amendment, adding nutrients to the garden as it breaks down as well as being a great soil conditioner. It holds enough moisture for plants to thrive, but allows the excess to drain, so roots won’t rot.
Choose your gardening spot carefully. Pick a place away from the house, sheds or large trees so shade won’t be an issue. Most garden plants need full sun all day long, and won’t produce a good crop in a shady location. If you plan to grow cucumbers or other vine plants, consider placing the garden against a chain link fence or, better yet, in a corner where two fences touch. You’ll take advantage of free trellis material for a good portion of your garden.
Pick seeds and plants according to your family’s likes, as well as your particular planting situation. Only grow food that you love to eat. If you only cook beets once or twice a year, it makes no sense to spend months growing a crop that you won’t enjoy. If everyone in your family loves peppers, there’s nothing wrong with planting a garden half full of assorted pepper plants. For container gardening, the same rules apply, except you should look for plants specifically bred for small spaces. Container or patio varieties of most plants will produce the same amount of food while taking up much less space.
Watch the weather and plant after all chance of frost has passed in your area. Check the Old Farmer’s Almanac for planting dates and gardening clues. Consider giving your kids their own garden patch. Nothing tastes better than vegetables you grew yourself, so this is a great way to get kids to eat their veggies.