If you love to cook then learning to grow your own produce has got to be a dream, but a dream that can come true!
When you grow your own, you’re getting fruits and vegetables as fresh as they can possibly be. There’s nothing better than picking a cherry tomato and popping it into your mouth right there…. Out in the garden.
Planting Your Garden
What do you want to grow?
Take a mental note, or make a list of your most used recipes. What vegetables, fruits or herbs are you using consistently? Do you make spaghetti every week? Then perhaps you want to plant a LOT of tomatoes for making tomato based meals… and don’t forget the Italian herbs! What about stuffed peppers? Yummm…
What fruit or veggie would you purchase if the price wasn’t sky high? You might want to start an asparagus bed…. Or a patch of watermelons!
You should always plant at least ONE new variety of fruit or vegetable. What better way to expand your food horizons?
Do you have little kids? You might want to create a small space in the garden just for the kids. Plant fast growing seeds so they don’t get bored. It might be time to create a string bean teepee!
Order or pick up seeds or seedlings from your local nursery and get started.
Where Will You Plant?
Location is important. Most municipalities won’t let you plant an obvious vegetable garden in your front yard so hopefully you have a sunny spot in your back or side yard. You’ll want a spot that has at least six hours of sun a day. You also need easy access to water. Most city lots will have a water spigot in the back and most any garden hose will reach around your yard.
Country folk on the other hand have to think a bit more about water. How many water hoses would you have to connect to each other to reach that nice sunny spot down the hill? (I once planted flowers at the gate…. that’s six water hoses….) How much would it cost in time and money to actually run a water line that far?
In all reality, the closer your garden is to the house, the more time you’ll spend tending and enjoying your garden and all that’s in it.
Create Your Rows or Beds
When actually making the garden keep in mind the orientation of the sun. You’ll want your rows running north and south. This way you ensure that each plant receives enough sunshine. You see if you plant a small veggie like a radish next to a tall row like corn that you’ll end up shading the radishes once the sun reaches past it’s peak over the corn. This works however if you’re purposely trying to reduce sun onto a tender plant but can play havoc if you weren’t thinking about sun placement when planting.
To make the initial bed you might
(1) Hire sometime to till the area with a tractor
(2) Hire/purchase a mechanical tiller and till the area
(3) Double dig (a whole lotta work)
(4) Layering (the lasagna method)
I’ve personally tried burning off the area. (Not advised in the city… or during burn bans…) I’ve also used black rubber to kill off grasses in a new bed but my favorite and easiest method of creating a new garden bed is layering.
Layering is simple. Just lay cardboard or a thick layer of newspapers over the future planting area. Wet these down so they don’t blow away (this is OKLAHOMA you know….) and then layer potting soil, top soil, aged manure and the like on top.
I’ve also planted flower beds with only old catalogs and magazines and a layer of bagged mulch. I wouldn’t advice using magazines in a bed of food plants as there may be chemicals in the coloring of the pages of the magazines. Won’t hurt your flowers though. I soak these in, cover with mulch and wait a couple days. Once the magazines are softened up you can just poke a sharp planter into the bed, make a hole and plant your seedling. Keeps the weeds out. I love a flower bed that I don’t have to tend.
It’s time to plant!
You can sow some seeds direct into the ground. Some seeds you might want to start indoors OR purchase seedlings from your local plant nursery.
I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and my garden cart filled with bounty. What will you plant this season?