Grow Your Own: Finding room to grow

Hi there!

I wanted to start off this series by saying that I am no expert in gardening, or anything else (except Harry Potter and 311.) I just love growing food for myself and my family and I am hoping this might help some people like me that are true beginners discover the pleasure of doing that, too!

Step one
Finding space for your garden

The basic things a vegetable garden will need are:

Sun
Water
Soil

This may seem like a pretty easy list but it can get a bit complicated depending on your situation.

First, if you are in a condo or apartment with no yard, you can still garden in containers. I will do another post on that someday soon

Okay, so assuming you have a little yard, the first thing you want to look for is the path of the sun. Wait for a nice early spring day and sit outside. Watch the sun at 10 AM, 2 PM and 4 PM. Take note of areas of your yard that stay mostly sunny. You can’t have a garden in an area that is shaded for any large position of the day. You can grow shade tolerant plants but that is more like Gardening 201.

So once you’ve found that sunny spot, you’ll want to consider a few logistics. First, what’s currently there? Is it a patio or deck, is it a paved area, or is it part of your lawn?

If it is a patio, deck, or otherwise covered area (no soil) then you will have to work with container. Fear not! Containers are an excellent way to grow food and they offer many advantages for a beginner.

Second logistical item is, do you have access to water? Ideally the garden should be very close to your kitchen. You’ll be more likely to use it, I promise. You will want access to water if you are growing more than a few containers of vegetables. Buy a longer hose if you have to. You will not want to drag the watering can over 1,110 times in the hot summer.

Now that you have chosen your location, you will need to prep the soil. In containers, this means buying potting soil. For a more traditional garden, I recommend borrowing or renting a rotatiller to pull up the grass that is there now. You can do this in mid to late April.

One last thing to consider is the pest issues you have. If you have a lot of rabbits, deer, etc, you may want to consider a raised bed and/or a fence. Your local hardware store can guide you on what to buy.

Next time, I will be discussing what to put on your shopping list, and what’s a waste of money.

Happy gardening!
AM

Grow Your Own: Gardening for Beginners

When I started gardening, I was so ignorant that it wasn’t even funny. I literally did not know how or why you would repot a house plant, didn’t even know what potting soil was. The many, many websites out there are really geared more toward experienced gardeners. Lots of amazing tutorials, but simple questions were left unanswered. So I thought it would be fun to do a Gardening Basics series for beginners. I will post on this topic periodically through the spring and summer as we start our garden.

Topics I will cover include:

Finding your garden space
What to grow & a shopping list for your beginner garden
Weeding and ways around it
Watering- how often?
How to know when things are ripe (a big issue for me at first)
Basic food preservation techniques
Compost and fertilizer- why and how?

Are there any other beginner gardeners out there? Any other topics I can help with? I am hoping this can be a place where us newbies/reformed black thumbs can feel comfortable asking questions and learning together!

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