I am sure there are many of you out there who, like me, would like to start a home garden in order to save a little bit of change each month or perhaps just to have the peace of mind of knowing exactly where your produce comes from and what goes into it. We have visions of clearing out that one corner of our garden and then sewing rows and rows of seeds and then hopefully, if all goes well, be able to take walk into your garden and harvest what you need for your meal each and every day. However, those who have tried and failed have realised that it is not as simple as putting a seed in the ground and hoping an orchard will grow. It takes proper preparation and planning. I will be going through 3 of main factors to keep in mind when getting your project started, being soil preparation, knowing when to plant and what to plant.
Making sure your soil is properly prepared is the cornerstone of ensuring that your garden project is a success. If there aren’t any nutrients or even any moisture, chances are that you will have a garden full of seeds, have spent hours and having used loads of resources only to have nothing to show for it. Soil preparation begins with preparing the area that you wish to utilize for your garden by clearing it, then preparing your flower beds and then finally testing the soil to establish if the PH levels are suitable for what you wish to plant.
Preparing the plant beds – The best time to start preparing is either in spring or in autumn when the soil is workable and not too dry and obviously, not too wet. A quick trick to see if you have the correct amount of moisture in your soil is to grab a handful of soil, form a ball and drop it from chest height. It should break apart as soon as it hits the ground, if the ball breaks apart before it hits the ground, then the soil is too dry and if it does not break apart at all, then the soil is too wet. Make sure you clear all debris and weeds from the patch that you are looking to work on. Once you have a clear patch of soil to work with, dig out soil to the depth of roughly 40cm and mix that soil with compost and rake until even. The best way to arrange your flower beds is in rows arranged from north to south in order to maximise the exposure to the sun’s path.
Soil test – There are number of ways of testing your soil to see if it is ready for you to start planting your seeds. Some are quite pricey, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get the correct results from a more cost effective one too. Most people prefer using a simple soil test kit as it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and it is fairly easy to use. Once you have tested your soil, you know what adjustments need to be made to ensure your soil is ready. It is vital to keep in mind that not all plants thrive in the same environment, which means it is advised to check what condition the soil needs to be in for a particular seed.
When to plant
Just like people, plants also have their preferences. Certain plants excell in the heat of the summer while others prefer the cold winter. To get the best results from your plants, you have to plant them at the correct time of the year. Read more for some more information on when to plant.
What to plant
It is very easy to fall into the trap of buying a whole lot of seeds, doing all of the preparations needed to get your garden going, planting all of those seeds only to then realise that it is not the ideal time for that said plant to grow. As a result, you end up using a whole lot of resources with no real return on your investment. That being said, there are some plants that would require for you to have some kind of gardening experience before attempting tackle them regardless of your timing. For the more novice farmers, like I wish to be soon, the easiest crops to grow are those that only require water and sun to survive. Here are 10 easy to grow vegetables.
Whatever you decide to plant eventually, just remember it is better to start small and then look to expand your garden, rather than to take on a monstrous task that becomes too difficult to maintain. All the best!