So you want to grow your own food? That's great! And if you're a total beginner then you're in the right place. Here's four steps to take to start your very own garden:
1. What works for your space?
How much space you have to grow, and whether you'll be growing indoors or in your yard will affect which plants you can grow.
Do you have an apartment? That's fine! Even without a patio, you can grow smaller plants that are container-friendly. Find your sunniest window and you can grow herbs, green onions, and so much more with minimal space and effort.
Do you have a yard? Are you okay with putting down garden beds, or digging into your own dirt? Determine how much physical space you can allocate to plants, and make note of how much sunshine these spots get.
(PS. If you're renting, you might not want to dig down. You can stick to big container pots, or use raised garden beds as long as you take them down when you move.)
2. Pick your plants
What to consider while choosing which plants to grow:
• How easy are they to maintain?
• How much space will they need?
• How much sunlight do they need?
• Are they container-friendly? Or do they need to be planted directly in the ground?
• What do you WANT to grow?
• What grows well in your area and season? Here's a full calendar for planting in Georgia. (This is a GREAT reference if you'll be growing outdoors especially.)
Where do you buy seeds? You can always take a trip to the local nursery! But if you're looking for convenience, my personal favorite is Burpee.com. You can see all the details for seeds online, and they have a LOT of gardening resources as well.
3. Start your seedlings
A lot of plants need to start growing indoors in small container with soil. Each plant may be different, but a good rule of thumb is to find a bright window to keep your seedlings on, cover them lightly with soil, and keep the soil moist. Once seedlings emerge, give them at least a few weeks of growth before trying to transplant to bigger pots. If you can, use a spray bottle to water seedlings too, as its gentler on the plants.
You can use a starter kit to make things easy too! They work very well and have everything you need. Here's some examples you can check out.
TIP: Grow more seedlings than you think you'll need. Then, when it comes time to transplant them, choose the ones that seem strongest. Not every seed will grow, and some can get damaged, sick, or eaten by your cat.
4. Prep for your long-term plans
Now that your seedlings are starting, it's time to prep for the season. This step can seem daunting, but don't worry! Those seedlings will take weeks to grow so you've got plenty of time.
Make a checklist or calendar of what you'll need to do and when. Have your plants' information on-hand when you make this. Here's some things to keep in mind:
• Will you need to get larger containers and more soil? When do you need them by?
• Will you need garden beds?
• What does your watering and fertilizing schedule look like? Do you need to buy some fertilizer? Do plants really even need fertilizer? (Yes.)
And there you go! You're on your way to a great garden and enjoying fresh food grown by yourself. Happy growing!
Thanks for checking out Green Jeannine, and you can follow me on Instagram for more @GreenJeannineProjects. Happy growing!
- Green Jeannine