Photo found on Flickr, courtesy of Souther Foodways Alliance.
Your neighbors are doing it. People with small patios are doing it. They are starting their own small food garden. You can, too. Now is the time to learn. You can get started quickly and cheaply. Here are the five things you can do right now to get your garden started.
1). Don’t Sweat the Soil, Man!
You might think you need to have expensive, all natural, organic soil to start a garden. You don’t. It’s nice to have, but you don’t need a Corvette to get started down this road of gardening. For this, a Chevette will do just fine! You can build up to the Corvette later.
Just grab some dirt in your yard. You can also grab a cheap bag of potting soil at the local home improvement store. The best planting soil is a mix of yard dirt and potting soil. Make sure it is broken up, loose and slightly moist. Seedlings and most plants thrive in loose soil that is evenly moist.
2). Grow Only What You Buy!
Amazing as it sounds, many people spend wasted hours and dollars trying to grow things they would never eat. Don’t do this. Check your fridge and pantry. See anything in there that can be grown? Check your store receipts. Grow only those items. No need to try to grow rows and rows of corn if you rarely eat it.
3. Conscript Containers for New Careers!
Unless you are blessed with a yard, you will need a container. Now a container is anything you can fill some dirt into. It does not have to be a pot. You can grow food in old cooking pans, old soda bottles, soda cans with the tops cut off. Even an old guitar, stuffed with dirt, will grow food! If it holds dirt, it is ready for the new job. Don’t limit yourself. Now is not the time to worry about your garden looking perfect.
4. Use the Space You Have!
Do you have only a one foot by one foot space? You can grow more plants than you might think in that one square foot! Square foot gardening is a technique that makes the most of small spaces. If a plants instructions call for one plant per six inches, you could fit about nine of those plants in a square foot of space and still have the plants six inches apart from each other. Just picture the nine dot side of a die.
5. Stagger Your Planting Times.
Stagger your plantings or seeds at about two week or one month intervals. Otherwise, at harvest time you might have 20 pounds of strawberries. Try to plant a little more than you would bring home from the store in any two week period of time. This way you have enough to cover yourself in case of loss due to bugs or disease. And you will not have too much at any one given time!
Starting a garden should be simple and quick. You will have plenty of time to make mistakes and learn lessons about soil and the benefit of Ladybugs. What is important right now is to simply get started. Then tomorrow you will be one more day ahead on your journey down this road of gardening.