I am an organic food lover, so whenever I get the chance I go around the to the back and start working on my home garden. There are a lot of reasons to choose home gardening over the retail supermarket food. Taste comes to the top of my mind. Homegrown fruits and vegetables are just better than processed and packaged. And there are no recalls to worry about because of some new disease imported from lands of unknown soil.
What I will talk about here are the basics of home gardening. I will let you know upfront that there is work involved; maybe more work than you are comfortable with. What I can say on the positive side is that the rewards, both to your health and to your enjoyment of food, far outweigh the effort you put in.
The first step in creating a home garden is to section off a specific area. The size does not matter. Just be sure it is large enough for what you are planning to grow. Check the quality of the soil. It must be soil, not dirt. It may be necessary to buy some topsoil to get you started, especially if you live in the city where pollutants and the general environment can turn soil into dust.
If you have good soil, the next step is to de-weed the plot. The last thing you want to happen is to have all your hard work destroyed by parasitic plants. A weed takes everything and returns nothing when it comes to your home garden. Weeding can take its toll on your back, so pace yourself. Also, avoid the use of chemicals since they will get absorbed into your food.
Now that the ground is prepared, you can choose to seed the ground or buy plants that have a good start to them. If you choose the latter, become knowledgeable about what to look for – how to decide which plants are healthy. You will also need to know how long it will take for your plants or seeds to grow to maturity. But whatever you do, avoid taking shortcuts if you are just starting off. Put the work in now, and as you make planting your garden an annual event you will learn more and get better.
If you are an organic farmer like myself, you will seriously want to consider composting. Keeping it simple, composting is taking natural growth material such as tree leaves and letting it decompose over time. The result will be a nutrient rich soil that is great for your home garden and will produce healthier and better tasting fruits and vegetables. I prefer it over store bought topsoil or fertilizer. Why? It’s free!
I should mention a bit more about additives such as fertilizer to your garden. Obviously, compost is my preferred material but some people may not have enough material to work with. If you have to feed your soil nutrients, avoid going cheap. Remember, you will be eating what you grow, and the idea is to eat healthier and cheaper. But preparing the soil, especially in the early stages, is critical.
The longer you are a home gardener, the more you will know. Talking to other home gardeners will get you a ton of knowledge and experience. Not everything everyone tells you will work for you. Just keep in mind that we as home growers have the same goal in mind – to eat healthier, save money, and be able to enjoy our food as nature intended.