Other than supplying you with vegetables and flowers, a garden also makes your surroundings look beautiful. However, you may be wondering what steps you can take to start a garden. It may not be an easy task, but with proper planning and commitment, you can create the garden of your dreams.
The first thing is to envision the garden. Visualize the big picture of what you would like the garden to look like. This way, you can know what plants to include such as whether to mix flowers and vegetables or whether to plant only flowers or vegetables. Then you need to take the following steps to actualize your vision.
- Choose the site of the garden: The site of the garden should have good soil, exposure to sun and availability of water. This is because most plants require adequate sun so that they can perform well. For instance, vegetables need at least 8 hours of exposure to the sun while flowers have differing needs. Study your site and find out how much light it gets during the day. With this, you will know the appropriate plants to plant in your garden. Note that the plants will also need watering in case it is not raining. Make sure the site you choose is where the garden will thrive. It is also at this point that you should decide whether to plant in the garden, to use raised beds or to plant in containers.
- Decide the plants to grow. This can be a challenging step due to the many plants from which to choose. You may have plants that you desire to grow and that you like. However, the final decision should be based on the soil type, hardiness zone and the time you have for caring for the plants. You can also plant vegetables that you use most or those that you like but are not available on the market. Also, plant flowers that you like and use. You may also choose plants that are easy to care for and are low maintenance, especially if you do not have adequate time to care for them. There are also plants that are drought resistant if you are in a dry place, as well as shade and deer resistant plants. The bottom line is to choose plants that are compatible with you and your area. You can use the services of local extension providers to find out which plants do well in your area and when it is the right time to plant.
- Make a design for the garden. Now that you know what to plant and where, the next step is to design the garden. For instance, you can use a plot of four by four to plant vegetables or use it as a place for flowerbeds. Determine which plants to place where and you can group them based on color, height or whichever criteria you choose. This will enhance the look of your garden make it look organized. However, even if there are design rules, they are not enforced and you can get creative. In most cases, the design changes with time because the garden may have different plants such as perennials, shrubs, annuals and trees which grow and change with time.
To ensure that your garden remains evergreen, create a schedule of what to plant and when. For instance, if one plant is seasonal and dies after a while, you should also have perennial plants to keep the garden green.
- Determine if you need a fence. In some cases, you may need to fence the garden area to deter animals such as deer, raccoons and rabbits from accessing your vegetables. The fencing should be done before planting.
- Assess the soil. Determine what the soil is like so that you know how much you will need to make it fertile. Soil assessment can be done at an agricultural research center or a local gardening center. This ensures that the plants remain healthy because you will provide the soil with nutrients that they require.
- Determine the garden tools you will need. The type of your garden you keep will determine the tools you need. Do not buy all the garden tools that you can find —wait and determine what you need first. A few tools are needed in most gardens such as pruners, a hoe, garden fork and a trowel. However, most garden tools are optional. Make sure that you get high quality tools that you can use comfortably and can give you many years of service.
- Preparing the garden. You now need to actualize your plan for the garden by preparing and planting. Make sure that you prepare the garden depending on the requirements of what you are planting. For instance, you should space the plants accordingly and plant them depending on your design.
- Maintaining the garden. Plants need constant care and therefore you will find that you always have something to do. If it is not planting, then there is weeding, staking, cutting, thinning, among other activities. You need to tend to the plants in order to yield a good crop. Although some plants need more care than others, it is important to garden regularly. This way, you will know problems as they arise and note the changes taking place in the garden. It is during maintenance that you can determine plants that are performing well and those that are performing poorly and need to be removed. The essence of gardening is in the maintenance.
The desire to grow your own vegetables and flowers can help you overcome any challenges that you may face as you start your garden. What you need is a good plan, the right plants and the right tools to make your garden happen. However, for the garden to be a success, it needs your time, attention, and energy.