Having a garden is a splendid idea, especially if you have a backyard you don’t know what to do with. In recent years, urban farming has become quite popular around the world, especially in the US and Australia. A nice flower garden never goes out of fashion, either, no matter where you live.
Still, being a gardener is easier said than done. It’s more than putting the seeds in the ground, nourishing them, and waiting for them to grow. But don’t worry, we got you covered! Stick to these tips for starting a backyard garden and you’ll do just fine.
1. Make the room
Never start a garden without clearing the space first. It’s crucial to know what you are dealing with and how much room you have for planting. Declutter every inch of your yard and mow the lawn, but make sure to leave grass clippings, branches, and foliage for the compost.
Once you have a clear space before you, it’s simpler to visualize your garden and maybe even do some landscaping. Leaving a spot for a cozy seating area is a wonderful way to marvel at your garden from up close and enjoy the healing vibes of nature.
2. Draft a plan of your backyard garden
Having a plan in place will prevent you from planting too many plants, something novice gardeners like to do out of enthusiasm. Pay attention to shade and sunlight, as well as whether you want to use the backyard for something else besides the garden. If you are up for it, make a drawing of order and design you’d like to have to see how feasible it is.
Landscaping can cost you from barely anything to a lot, so knowing what you want can help you plan the budget. Unforeseen expenses are highly possible to show up and knowing where you stand financially can help you get the garden you envisioned.
3. Prepare the soil
Knowing the soil you have in your garden is the key to successfully grow whatever you want. Start by taking a sample to a competent institution for testing so you would know its acidity, pH levels, any type. Pollution in your area can affect the soil and professional analysis will tell you what you can do to improve its characteristics.
Plants love well-drained and deep soil full of organic matter, especially if you want to grow your own food. Compost and mulch are wonderful combinations to improve the state of your soil, as well as to stick to eco-friendly practices and sustainable gardening.
4. Decide what plants to grow
You can start big and risk failing with some of the crops, or make it safe and go for varieties that will 100% successful. The latter is a better option if you don’t have any gardening experience or the will to work on a trial and error basis. Plants, like sunflowers, potatoes, spinach, basil, pansies, mint, and tomatoes are among the easiest ones to grow and are recommended for first-time gardeners.
Weather in your area can contribute to this decision as well. Although plants need sun for growth, some don’t like to be directly exposed to its rays. Giving it a shade by planting trees and shrubbery will also make your garden more comfortable to sit in during summer.
5. Consider using raised beds
Raised beds are all gardening websites talk about, and for a good reason. They bring order to the garden and are good for those who have trouble with their back and knees. Moreover, if you have unfavorable soil in your backyard, raised beds allow you to have the garden you want.
You can buy them or build them, then fill them with store-bought soil in the fall, fertilize it, and let it sit until the planting season in the early spring. Choose an appropriate depth and size from the start through planning the right spacing and plants to grow in them.
6. Get the right tools
Every type of garden has its special set of tools that help you cultivate different varieties of plants. The general things you need are gloves, hoe, trowel, and hose, but trimming scissors and rake should also be on the list. The quality of your tools will define the way you feel about growing your own vegetables, fruits, and flowers.
Since most of the things are available online by now, visit websites of reputable stores to find the perfect tools. Retractable hose reel from Hoselink US is one of the favorites among gardeners since you can keep the garden tidy and move around freely while watering your plants. We also recommend getting a garden cart so you can transport fertilizers, soil, and other heavy stuff without putting strain on your back.
7. Start composting early on
Composting is not only good for the garden but also the environment and health of your family. Instead of throwing away certain food leftovers, put them inside a compost bin with organic debris from your garden, like dried leaves. Banana peels, eggshells, tea bags, used coffee grounds, and cardboard is some of the waste you can add there as well.
Using compost can improve moisture retention, pH, and nutrient levels, and give better soil structure. You can use it as mulch, brew it as a tea for easier absorption by root systems, spread it on new lawns, and feed to perennials in the fall. Melons, cucumbers, squash, and other nitrogen-loving plants will thrive better with a compost boost a few times in the growing season.
8. Harvest rainwater for irrigation
You have several options to water your plants, from doing it with a hose to installing an automatized irrigation system. If you leave in a region with heavy rainfall during spring, you can also start getting your water elsewhere. All the rage among gardeners these days is the rainwater catchment — collecting rain from the roof in big barrels and using it later to water your plants.
Buy barrels with taps so you can install a pump and connect hoses to them for efficient and easy irrigation. This is an excellent way to preserve water during summer and drought periods when rain is scarce.
9. Make your own herbicides
Homemade herbicides are eco-friendly and better for you if you spend time in your garden and eat the produce. Check your kitchen for ingredients, like soap and vegetable oil, to make healthy protection against mites, beetles, and other hungry insects.
Neem oil is efficient against insects that feed on leaves, but also other parts of the plants in your garden. One of the favorite recipes for homemade insecticide is a mixture of garlic and onion puree, cayenne pepper, and put in water to steep. After straining, add liquid soap and pour it all into a spray bottle for easier application.
10. Know when it’s time to harvest
Starting harvest in time allows plants to continue to give fruit after one picking. Ripe fruits steal away nourishment from plants, preventing them from bearing more. You won’t harvest all the plants at the same time, so this process might take a while, but you will always have fresh food on the plate.
If you have too much product on your hands, you can sell it on the farmer’s market or preserve it by drying, canning, fermenting, salting, pickling, and oil packing. This way you will make sure that your food is free of additives and other artificial chemicals that may not be good for you.
Even if you never held a hoe before, you will be able to grow your own food with these tips for starting a backyard garden. It’s also a terrific opportunity to contribute to eco-friendly and sustainable gardening, helping the planet’s environment to recover from years of abuse.