Starting Your First Garden
There’s nothing more satisfying than hauling in fresh produce from the backyard. After all, a trip to the farmer’s market is no replacement for sun-kissed, homegrown fruits, herbs, and veggies. If you want to begin your own backyard vegetable patch, there are a few key steps to take when starting your own garden. In this article, we’ll cover how to start your own garden so you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor (literally).
Know the Zones
The first step to starting a garden is figuring out your climate zone. If you don’t know how to determine the climate zone where you live, there are tools to help you out. According to masterclass.com, the USDA keeps up with a plant hardiness zone map that you can use by searching your ZIP Code. The map separates the United States into 13 zones that are determined by the average annual minimum temperatures. Internationally, most countries and regions have their own hardiness zone maps for this step.
Seeds and Location
Using the number of your hardiness zone, you can then decide what to grow (flowers, vegetables, herbs, etc.) and find plants at your local retailer that are labeled with that number. For those buying seeds, simply find seeds whose "days to maturity" match up with how long the growing season lasts. After you select your plant types and seeds, it’s time to pick the perfect location for your budding garden. Find an area that fits the plants’ requirements for sunlight and shade.
Tools of the Trade
While you’re seed and starter plant shopping, you should also pick up some standard gardening tools such as a sturdy shovel, gardening gloves, a trowel for scooping small amounts of dirt, and hand pruners. You can also use some extra gear such as a cordless drill, kitchen knife, and a hori-hori knife for coarse cutting tasks.
Test the Soil
Now that we’ve got the preliminary steps out of the way, we can get into the gardening. Before you plant anything, you should test your soil for imbalances, proportions of silt, sand, clay, and organic matter. This test will also determine whether your soil’s pH level is imbalanced, along with the nutritional health of the soil. You’ll also want to make sure that the test evaluates toxic substance levels. If toxins are elevated beyond safe thresholds, opt for growing edible plants in wooden raised beds that rest on a barrier at the bottom so the roots don’t venture into the toxic soil.
Time to Plant
As commonsensehome.com shares, the next few steps in the process are fairly easy. Once you’ve done all the hard work to prepare for your garden and collected the necessary tools, you can simply prepare the soil by adding mulch, compost, worm castings, and more organic matter to enrich your soil. Then, plant your seeds or plants in your garden bed. After you’ve planted your vegetables, flowers, herbs, or whatever your green heart desires, nurture your garden by caring for it and enjoy the harvest when the time comes.
Categorised in: Gardening