It’s no secret that gardening is wonderful for your health. You can help reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides and get to eat wonderfully nutritious fruits and vegetables. If you’ve never gardened, getting started may seem a little daunting. But with some research, patience and hard work, your garden will thrive!
What to Plant?
First decide what types of plants, vegetables and/or flowers you want to grow. Do some research on what will grow the best where you live based on climate and the season you will begin planting. Each plant is unique and may require special conditions to flourish. Some plants need a lot of space or sunlight, while others may need less.
If you’re thinking about produce, consider varieties that you enjoy eating or that would be cheaper to grow yourself. To help both the environment and your garden, choose plants that attract bees and butterflies (some of which may be on the endangered species list). Pollination will help your garden flourish, and it supports the ecosystem. Many crops require pollination to produce edible and nutritious fruits and vegetables.
Where to Plant?
Decide how you want to arrange your plants according to which sections of your garden will get the most sunlight or shade. From your research, you’ll know which plants need more sun or shade to grow. To maximize your space, be aware of whether your plants are known to climb vertically or to roam.
Want to have something to harvest throughout the season? After one crop is harvested, another can be planted in the same space based on growing season and climate.
Caring for Your Garden
After you’ve planted the seeds for your garden, make sure each plant gets the proper amount of water. Plants that need more moisture should be planted in parts of your garden that are slightly lower because they will retain more water. You can make sure your plants are getting the proper nutrients by using natural fertilizer or compost.
Instead of using chemical pesticides to ward off pests, you can plant insectary plants, which attract pest-controlling insects like ladybugs and hoverflies. Or you can include plants that do attract pests in your garden. This is known as “trap cropping,” and it’s used to divert harmful insects away from your main crops to the “decoy” plant.
When it comes to planning your garden, there are no hard-and-fast rules. You can experiment to find the perfect formula for you. For more help planning your garden, you can even download layouts, designs, and planning worksheets like these from vegetable-gardening-online.com.