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Knowing how to start a garden from scratch doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree.
I started a garden when I was just six years old. But I had some good mentors in my parents who had been growing gardens all their lives.
I remember starting small. A small patch of ground was allotted to me and the first thing I planted was watermelons seeds.
These were seeds my parents had saved over from last year’s harvest. I was taught to prepare the soil, water it and leave it overnight, plant the seeds, water them when they need it, watch for pests and best of all, watch for the shoots as soon as they start to break ground.
That’s a small crash course in how to start a garden from scratch but while it’s simplistic, don’t let it fool you.
There is no huge secret to growing a successful garden. Anyone can do it whether they have extra space in the yard or want to grow one inside their apartment. Let’s look at the five steps you should follow.
How To Start A Garden From Scratch – Define The Space
You will also need to know what kind of plants you want to grow.
If you plan on growing vegetables, then you may be able to get away with using pots that you buy at the store especially if you live in a condo or apartment.
The size of the space you decide to use depends on many factors. For example, if you live in an urban environment where there aren’t any green spaces available, then you might consider planting a vegetable garden right inside your living room.
You could also choose to go big and start a garden in your backyard. This would make sure that you get a lot of sunlight every day.
When deciding on the size of your garden, you will want to take into consideration the amount of time you can devote to tending to it. If your space is limited, you will probably want to opt for something smaller like a container-based garden.
Bottomline is, define your space relative to the amount of time you can devote to your garden project.
Plan the Layout
This can get a little intricate but here are a couple of suggestions.
A good idea is to lay out the garden based on the sun path. This means that you will want to place your crops along the direction of the sun so that they can get maximum exposure to daylight.
For instance, if you are planning on growing tomatoes, then you will want to position them towards the east-facing side of your home.
This way, they will receive more direct sunlight than other crops that are located on the west side.
In addition, you will want your veggies to be close to each other so that they can share resources.
For inside gardens, make sure you have a window area or sun room that gets a lot of light during the day. But please don’t overthink this. It all depends on the size of your garden and the variety of produce you want to grow.
Order Plants and Supplies
Decided what you want to plant? If you’re stuck then definitely tomatoes and I would suggest watermelons if you are starting your garden outside. Avoid watermelons indoors because they spread like “wildfire”. Not a good idea.
Once you have determined the location and size of your garden, now comes the fun part…ordering supplies.
Make a list of what you need. This includes seeds, tools, fertilizer, watering cans, trowels, etc.
Now, you will need to find a supplier who sells gardening equipment and supplies. There should be more than one garden center in your area. Local nurseries, hardware stores and garden centers will have people who can guide you in getting the proper supplies.
It is recommended that you shop around before making any purchases. This way, you will avoid paying too much money for items that are unnecessary especially if you are working to a budget.
And don’t forget you can get supplies online. While they may be cheaper you won’t get the personal attention of advice of the expert at the garden center.
How To Start A Garden From Scratch – Prepare The Soil
This is going to take some effort if you are starting your garden from scratch outside. If the soil is hard and tough, water it a couple of times until it softens. Leave it for a day or two and then you’re ready to till the soil.
To make the most out of your garden, you should know how to prepare the soil. If you don’t, you could end up with an unproductive or unhealthy garden.
The first step to preparing the soil is by adding organic matter. You can use wood chips, manure, leaves, straw, peat moss or compost.
Next, add nutrients to the soil using organic sources. This includes things like fish emulsion, kelp meal, seaweed extracts, bone meal, rock phosphate, greensand, bat guano, liquid kelp, etc.
After this, you will want to aerate the soil. Aeration helps improve drainage and increases air circulation. You can accomplish this by digging holes in the soil and filling them back up again.
Lastly, apply a layer of topsoil. Topsoil is usually made from decomposed granite. It has many benefits including being rich in minerals and nutrients.
Create a Schedule of Care and Maintenance
This shouldn’t be complicated. Can and maintenance means having a regular watering schedule, weeding schedule and fertilizing schedule.
But don’t worry, you won’t need to go overboard here.
Watering depends on your environment. Is it hot or cool. Limit your watering to early mornings and evenings. Some varieties require more watering than others. Know which these are if you are planting more than one variety of produce.
Weeding shouldn’t be an issue if you stay on top of it. I scan daily and if there are suspicious plants popping up I pull them right away.
And fertilizing is done sparingly. If you get your seeds or seedlings at a local garden center or nursery then get tips from the staff on how much and how often you should fertilize your garden.
Again, this will depend on the individual varieties.
How To Start a Garden From Scratch – Final Thoughts
This is just a simple guide on how to start a garden from scratch.
To be honest, there’s not much more than what I’ve listed here. This article was designed for novices. If you haven’t grown a garden before then this is for you.
The key is to start small. If if you have the space outside and are feeling a little intimidated then buy a large pot of two and growing some tomatoes.
Just get your hands dirty. Get confident in growing stuff. And please leave a comment below and let me know how you did with your garden. Good luck.