If youíre the type of person who strives to minimize the negative effects of modern times and live a healthy life as much as possible, thereís a high probability you know a thing or two about detrimental effects of GMO food. What could be more important in the Ďhealthy lifeí mission than eating high-quality food and knowing where it came from? While buying organic food is the right way to go, it tends to get a little bit pricey in the long run. The cheapest and most reliable solution when it comes to high quality food is to start your own vegetable garden. Yes, it would require a bit of an effort but the rewards are most certainly worthwhile. So, if youíre keen on becoming a self-sufficient gardener, this simple guide will get you right on track.
Hereís a quick list of things you will need in order to become a successful gardener, itís really much less than youíd expect: soil, seeds, compost, a couple of tools, water, some time and a lot of love. Simple, right? A lot of people get scared from the idea of starting their own garden but itís so simple anyone could do it.
Before you start with your project you will need to decide how much food you want to produce. There are two options: if you intend on producing a lot of food it would be wise to plant your garden on a piece of yard soil. The other option is getting dedicated tubs/containers. In this article we will focus on yard soil, but the principle is the same.
If you have absolutely zero experience working with tools it goes without saying that the very first thing you need to do when starting a garden is to get yourself the tools for the job .
Some of the essentials you will need are: shovels, hoes, rakes, weeders, cutters, watering cans/hoses and a wheelbarrow.
With a shovel in your hand and enthusiasm in your heart, your first assignment as a gardener is to turn the ground to prepare it for planting. This is done in order to bring the wet soil and organic matter to the surface. Itís best to do this in the autumn so the soil can settle nicely until spring, but you can also do it in early spring. A good indicator when the ground is ready to be turned is to take a handful and try to squeeze it. If it crumbles nicely and doesnít from a ball of mud, itís ready. You can use a regular shovel or a spade for this task. You donít want to dig too shallow, 6-8 inches into the ground will ensure a proper growth of the plants. After youíve turned the ground you need to even it out with a rake until you get a smooth surface. Hereís a step by step guide on how to turn the ground and apply compost.
Next step, sowing the seeds! You should water the soil prior to sowing but be careful not to overdo it. The soil should be moist but not soggy. There are many sowing techniques you could use but really, it all comes down to putting the seed in the ground, right? How hard could it be?
Most commonly sowing is done in broadcast or in rows. The former means you just scatter the seeds and let them grow freely as they would in nature, and the latter is pretty much self-explanatory. You will also want to acquire a basic knowledge of when particular plants are sown: annuals, hardy perennials, half-hard annuals, they all require a different timing. To keep this article short and to the point, I recommend you consult this fantastic little guide to sowing and all you need to know about it.
Next, caring for your garden. There are essentially three things you need to keep track of: watering, weeding and pests. Making sure your garden is properly watered should be a priority. This will depend on your local climate and how much rainfall you get. A general recommendation is an inch of water per week. In arid climates itís double that. Get your watering cans and hoses ready and never keep your garden thirsty. Hereís a good starting point to learn more about watering.
As for weeding and pest infestation, you will need to get down and dirty to complete this task successfully. Wild weeds will fight your plants for precious nutrients in the ground so you should keep them in check regularly. If you donít know anything about weeding tools, youíd be surprised how many varieties of hoes there are. Pick one to your licking and use it often. A good alternative to hoes is a garden knife. Hori hori is one of the most popular.
Pest control can be difficult if you want to have a pesticide-free garden but itís not impossible. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques and home remedies with which you can avoid using pesticides. You should inspect the plants thoroughly and regularly for caterpillars and aphids, but keep in mind that there are also some beneficial insects like ladybugs and hover-flies which feed on the bad ones.
If you want to keep your garden as chemical-free as possible, this article contains some great info on home remedies and techniques for natural pest control. As for bigger animals like rabbits and deer, you can put up fences around the garden to deter them from chewing on your veggies. You can use row covers to protect your crops which are also useful in preventing damage from light frost. If you spot a plant infected with fungal disease remove it immediately to stop the disease from spreading to other plants.
So there you have it, everything you need to know to get started with your garden project. Even if youíve never held a shovel in your hands before, this guide should get you right on track of producing your own food. Take your time, invest a little love and the benefits will most certainly come.