Have you ever tried to grow your own vegetables in a backyard garden? With the growing trend to become self-sustaining and lead a “greener” lifestyle, many people have found ways to provide their own vegetables, fruit and eggs, right from their own backyard efforts. Living off the land is not as difficult as you think, it just takes a little bit of knowledge, some space and a couple of seed packets to get started.
Before you begin to plant your garden you will need to check the soil. For a small fee, a soil analysis can be obtained – based on that report – the soil can be properly enriched to support a vibrant garden. Many offices of Cooperative Extension will do a soil analysis, and it is important to know how to improve soil so that all crops can grow in it.
If you do not want to expose your family to harmful pesticides in your garden, consider using organic pesticides. Organic pesticides do not have the harmful chemicals commonly found in ordinary pesticides. Fragrant herbs like rosemary, basil, and mint are often disliked by pests, and they are good choices to plant around your garden to ward off pests.
If you need the extra ammunition to rage war on weeds, consider planting your plants closer together even if it means planting them closer than what is recommended. Dense plantings will ensure that no seeds from unwanted weeds will sprout and grow in your beautiful landscape design. If weeds begin to sprout near the edge of the foliage, consider adding heavy mulch to drown out the pesky weeds.
Buy Diatomaceous earth as an alternative to toxic pesticides or adding predatory insects to your garden. Diatomaceous earth is natural, organic, and non-toxic as well as inexpensive and easy to find. It is a green way to keep pests under control. Sprinkle over the surface of soil and water as normal.
Start a compost bin, and enjoy nutrient-rich fertilizer that you can use for your vegetable plants, herbs, flowers and more. Food scraps and peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, newspaper, paperboard, yard waste and other organic matter are perfect additions to your compost bin. Keep a small bucket or bag in your freezer as an odor-free way to collect kitchen waste, and empty the container into the outdoor bin when it is full.
Use water efficiently as possible. One of the most precious resources in the world today is fresh water. It just cannot be wasted, so the use of mulch and soaker hoses are an efficient way to minimize the impact of the garden on the water supply. Consider having a rain barrel near the garden to capture and save rainwater for a minimal impact garden.
If you are growing tomatoes, be sure to pick an airy spot that gets plenty of light. Tomatoes require at least ten hours of sunlight during an average summer day in order to grow to their peak flavor levels. Good air circulation between and around the plants is also vital to their survival.
Deciduous shrubs and young trees need to be protected. Fragile shrubs, that are planted in pots, should be covered to protect them during the cold season. Tie these canes at the top, and place a blanket over it. You will protect your shrubs from the cold without having to cover them in plastic, which can cause rot.
Pay attention to the temperatures in your garden. When it is early, or late, in the season there is a chance that your plants could be exposed to frost. Freezing temperatures will cause many plants to die, and some that live will not produce at the level they would have otherwise.
To create nutrient rich soil for your garden in advance, gather unused fish parts and bury them in the soil. Leave the fish parts untouched in the soil for as long as you can before planting over it. For best results, be sure to bury the fish parts at least 8 inches in the ground.
Even if you think you will remember which plants are which later, tag your plants properly from the beginning. Plants can look very different after just a few weeks. Write plant names on flat rocks with a permanent marker in a decorative way, and lay them next to each plant so that you can save yourself from confusion down the road.
To help your tomato plants grow strong stems, blow a fan on them for 15 minutes a day. Exposure to wind is essential to a stem’s development, and giving the plant some extra time to blow in the breeze will only make it stronger. Try using a small, portable fan on a low or medium setting.
Just think of the beautiful harvest you can add to your dining table from your garden. Not to mention the environmentally friendly impact of growing your own food. Maintaining a personal vegetable garden can provide food at low cost to your family — and wait until you savor the amazing taste of vegetables, picked straight from the plant. Store-bought produce never tasted this good!