Open Farm and Plant Sale! Saturday, May 15th, 2021 10am-2pm
So you want to grow some plants at home. That’s great! Gardening is a fun way to get outside on your own in the middle of pandemic lockdowns, and with groups of people while celebrating the end of pandemic lockdowns. It’s an activity that connects you to what’s around you and where you live–and it has endless opportunities for growth (pun intended).
Until then, here’s a basic overview of what you’ll need before you get planting!
Planning Your Garden
Doing some observation and planning upfront will save you time and heartache (or backache) in the future. By taking time to evaluate what you already have available in your space, you can more successfully choose plants that will succeed where you live, and set up your garden so that they will thrive.
There are three really important things your plants need to grow:
Sunlight – Different plants have different light requirements. Spend a day or two observing how much light the space you want to use for gardening gets, and use those observations when deciding what to plant.
Water – be sure your gardening area is convenient to get water to. Give some consideration to where a hose can easily reach, or how far you want to schlep a heavy watering can. You can even look into different methods for irrigating your garden. Water deeply less frequently to promote healthy roots.
Good soil – A great way to maintain healthy soil is by adding compost to your soil. Cedar Grove is a good local provider of organic compost, or you can ask someone at your local garden center to help you pick out a good option. Sticking to organic composts and fertilizers promotes healthy soil, whereas synthetic options tend to degrade soil over time.
Figuring out how you can best provide all three of these will help you decide where your garden will be located, and what to grow.
If you have access to a large yard or community garden, raised beds are a great option to consider. Raised beds allow easy control of the soil quality and can be more ergonomic. Plus, they look nice. A good size to start out with is a 10’ by 4’ area. The 4’ width makes it easy to reach plants from both sides of the bed, but you might consider going narrower for an easier reach if the bed is next to a wall or fence.
If you live somewhere with less outdoor space, or are renting, you might consider growing on a balcony or rooftop gardening area. You can build a raised bed frame for balconies, or opt to grow in containers. When growing on a balcony or roof, take into consideration how much all the materials together–the container or frame, soil, water, and full-grown plants–will weigh when choosing what to grow.
And if a whole bed of plants sounds like more than you want to start with, you can even grow plants in small containers inside. Perhaps a kitchen herb garden is the perfect option for you.
There are plenty of different approaches for gardening, so choose one that sounds fun to you and try it out.
One last thing: try keeping a gardening journal!
By compiling your observations into one place, you can maintain a record not only of what you learn about your gardening space, but also what sort of changes you make to it.
Gardening is a process. There are a lot of approaches, and you can get as involved with it or keep it as hands-off as you’d like. Keeping a journal will help you to see the progress you make during the season, and can be a good way to reflect on what you’d like to try the next year.
By starting small, and sticking to the basics (plenty of sun, remembering to water, and having healthy soil), you’ll be able to confidently give gardening a try. And hopefully you’ll like it enough to keep doing it!