Planning, Building and Planting a Backyard Edible Garden
With a bit of ingenuity, preparation, and some construction, you can be growing food at home in no time. An at home herb and vegetable garden may be something you are considering, but you may be wondering where to start and what you need to think about. Think of your garden in three stages: the prep and building stage, the planting stage, and the maintenance stage. Follow our guidelines and suggestions, and your at home garden can be well underway.
Stage 1: Research, Preparation, &Building
Your first step in growing your food at home is determining what kinds of herbs and veggies you want to grow, what to plant during which months in your area, and their specific garden needs including sunlight, watering, and space. It may help to take notes and draw out a plan for your garden before you get started with the heavy lifting. Plan to create a garden that grows easily without compromising the different individual plant types, i.e. choose veggies or herbs that grow well together and have similar needs. Consider the available space ad dimensions of your garden, and how you will protect it from pests, including rabbits or squirrels that may want to taste the fruits (or veggies) of your labor. A trellis system or fencing system may be the perfect solution to keep pests out while providing crawling plants a way to grow up instead of out.
Once you know the requirements of your garden, set out to create a raised planter box, in-ground garden, or utilize large pots, to create your edible garden. If you are worried about pests like gophers, worms, and other invaders from below, a raised and enclosed planter box is a great option. Controlling what enters your garden from all sides will prevent attacks from underground. Utilize materials that you have or pick up some lumber, fencing, mesh, soil and fertilizer from your local hardware store. Remember to plan for drainage if you are planting in raised planter boxes or pots, as the soil will need circulation. Don’t forget stakes to secure the plants as they grow.
Stage 2: Planting
Skip the traditional rows and plant providing space and room as needed but consider what you are growing and if some are going to be low to the while others will grow up, creating a stacked system. This will allow you to maximize the space. Mark your garden with labels of where things are planted and keep records of the requirements of each item and when to expect growth, etc. Adequately water, fertilize and tend to the soil as you would your plants and you will see them slowly come to life. Utilizing a drip system may be your most efficient option, but an old fashioned watering can will work as well. Setting a watering schedule from the start will help you stay on track through the seasons.
Stage 3: Maintenance
Once you’ve built and planted your veggies and herbs, you must wait. Wait patiently. One morning you will wake up and see a tin green seedling popping through, or a new vine sprouting from the seedling plants you planted. Taking care of your garden will involve making sure they are not overwatered, not getting burnt from the sun, and are growing without attack from pests. Once you have an existing garden, you may need to tie climbing plants up as they get bigger, or to create room underneath for things that are sprouting. Tomatoes are especially fast growers, and will need a good amount of maintenance, as they can take over an area fairly quickly.
You will find that there is so much joy in creating, watching, and curating vegetables and herbs on your own, eventually eating a meal based on your garden’s bounty. Not only are vegetables and herbs grown at home (organically) better for you, yo will also be saving money at the grocery store! If you have the room for even the smallest herb garden, give it a try! You may just find a new hobby or passion that feeds your family.