Today I will give you tips on how you could start growing your own food!
Gardening doesn’t have to be so complicated. People always say “everything I grow dies” or “I don’t have a green thumb” but neither of these mean that you cannot learn from your mistakes. If I gave up every time something went wrong in my garden, then nothing would get done.
So here are some tips for gardening in soil and gardening in pots.
Gardening In Soil
Get To Know Your Soil!
Soil is made up by 3 components (sand, clay and silt) so before you start planting anything you must know what type of soil you have and its characteristics. By knowing your soil type it gives you an idea of how you should tend your garden. There are a few ways to find this information out but the easiest way is just to look it up yourself online (link). This soil survey will tell you everything about your soil. If you need any help with the link just let me know. Also If your soil isn’t the best for gardening then raised beds filled with a mixture of compost and topsoil could be an option.
Picking The Location
The location of the garden doesn’t have to be perfect. You just need to make sure that the space you pick gets at least the minimum amount of sunlight per day required to grow the vegetables you plan to grow.
Sizing The Garden
Since you’re just starting the garden, it doesn’t have to be huge. I started with a 4ft X 4ft space that I grew tomatoes in. You can always expand the space if you want to in the future.
Clearing The Space
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to dig, till or even spray herbicides to kill grass. The way I do this without destroying the soil in the process is pretty simple:
You will need to cut the grass then rake the fresh grass on to your gardening spot. After you do that, cover the grass with either black plastic/landscape fabric or with cardboard. Make sure to weigh it down to prevent it from blowing away. The time it takes depends on the time of the year you do it.
Compost Compost Compost
Cover soil with a layer of compost at least 2 inches thick. Let the compost rest on top of the soil for at least two weeks before planting. Compost enriches the soil by doing the following:
- Retaining moisture
- Encouraging beneficial microorganisms
- Adds organic matter to soil
- Improves soil structure
- Improves cation exchange capacity (CEC)
- Suppresses plant diseases and pest
- Adds vital nutrients back to soil
One rule to remember about compost is that all compost isn’t made equally so do a little research before you apply it to your garden.
Gardening In Pots
This way is more convenient for people that lack space or just want to start small. Gardening in pots only have 3 requirements.
Choosing The Right Pots
If you’re growing plants that have vigorous root systems you want to have pots that will support them so for example plants such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, squash and peas should be grown in pots 5 gallons or more. For leafy greens and shallow rooted vegetables, deeper pots aren’t required.
Potting soil is either sold bagged or you could make your own mix.
Bagged potting soil is just like compost, it’s not all made the same. There is high quality potting soil and there is low quality. Always look for OMRI and CDFA listed products. Also make sure it is formulated for what you’re planting.
Making your own potting soil is pretty simple. Mixtures can be made up of ingredients such as compost, coco coir (shredded coconut husk), worm castings, Mycorrhizae, organic fertilizer of your choice, pumice, and perlite.
Location For The Pots
The location for the pots go by the same guidelines as if you were gardening in soil. You still want at least the minimum amount of sunlight required to grow whatever you choose to grow.
Part 2 will be about selecting the right seeds and germination. Thank you for reading, let me know what you think!