Since I’ve given you an introduction into why I got started, I suppose my next step would be to explain how to start your own garden (and eventual homestead).
When you’ve made the decision to start a garden, you need to research and decide on a few things.
- What growing zone are you in?
Here in Missouri, I’m in Zone 6, or 6B to be very precise (you really only need to know the zone number). This is important to know what fruits and veggies grow well in a given location. Visit https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/ to find your zone! You’re even able to enter your specific zip code!
- What do you and your family like to eat?
Likely for me, my husband will eat anything, so I can pick what to grow based on my personal preferences! 😁 My recommendation is to start small and add more options and garden space year after year. This year, I started with tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers (jalapenos and Serrano), lettuce, onions, tomatillos, yellow squash, and cabbage. Even this was probably too much to start with, but you live and learn!
- How much space do you have?
I am blessed with a large backyard for living in city limits. However, not everyone has that. Research how much space is needed to grow the plants. Herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce are great options for balcony gardens!
Once you’ve decided what to grow, now you need to decide how you will grow it. There are really three overall options: in ground, raised garden beds, planters/pots/containers. Your methods really come down to space available and personal options.
I, personally, like raised garden beds. I’m able to control the soil content better, ensure the soil drains well, you can get the garden in at an earlier date (instead of waiting for the ground to totally defrost), and it’s more aesthetically pleasing – I’m extra in that way.
I have seen many people with yards larger than mine use containers for all their garden plants. I have seen a variety of planter methods ranging from decorative clay pots to 5 gallon buckets to gutters 😂. As long at the container has a way for water to drain and there’s enough room for the roots to grow, the world is really your oyster.
As for in ground growing, you’ll need the most room for this option. Plants need to be spread out more since the soil inst as packed with nutrients. You will also need to wait until the soil has completely defrosted. In the Midwest, they typically suggest waiting until after Mother’s Day. I am planning to try doing some in ground planting in the next year or two (after I get my chickens 🐔).
Once you’ve decided what you’re planting and how you’ll plant it, you need to determine when to plant everything! I’ve included a helpful graph to tell you when it’s best to plant (Source: http://backyardgardeningtoday.com/organic-gardening-tips-that-can-help-you-out-2/). But also, a quick Google search is how I was able to figure most of this out! 😁
I hope this has been helpful and informative. As always, please don’t hesitate to comment with questions or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! 👩🌾