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Spring time is near. That means it’s time to start planning for garden season! Taking the first step to becoming a Gardener can feel exciting, yet challenging.
Here we’ll cover the basics for how to start a garden. This is how we started a successful garden from scratch.
How to Choose a Garden Spot
First, we chose a location in the yard that has at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Another important factor is drainage. We live on a ridge, so that was no problem for us. When you map out your garden spot, make sure the area doesn’t hold water after a heavy rain. This will drown your plants.
Avoid placing it too close to the road as well. The runoff could put toxins in your food.
Garden Styles- Start a Garden
To prepare our garden plot, we flattened cardboard boxes and covered the area to smother grass. This is a great technique when you have a good 2 months to let it sit. Ideally, start prep in the Fall for the Spring garden. If you find yourself too close to your planting date, we’ve been there too.
Here’s how we did our first garden. Moving in at the end of May put us in a time crunch. We don’t have a tractor, so we used garden tools. Mainly a shovel. We dug a row of grass, flipping it upside down in it’s spot. Then, we planted seeds in that dirt. An awesome neighbor blessed us with several transplants. To plant these in the ground we dug a hole and filled in with top soil that we purchased from a local box store.
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Our next year we branched out to a raised bed. We had to keep the cost low, so we used landscape garden stones that were being used elsewhere on the property. To fill, we went hügelkultur style. We filled the bottom 2 feet with aged limbs and wood and then filled in with top soil. As the years pass the wood continually decays, feeding the soil and in turn producing healthy plants. Each year we add a few inches of top soil to the bed. The picture below was taken of our raised bed. Here we’re growing beans on a trellis.
In America right now, the price of wood has skyrocketed. Using a landscape stone may be your best option.
There are also raised garden bed kits that you can purchase and put together. You can also use free wood pallets to build a raised bed. Make sure the wood is not toxic. There will be letters on the wood which indicates if it has been treated. Avoid pallets stamped “MB.” This means treated with methyl bromide, which is a potent pesticide. Pallets stamped “IPPC” means it’s safe to use.
I would add, mulching is a tremendous help in the garden. It cuts down on the need to water and fertilizes as it breaks down. We found a source of hay that had not been sprayed or fertilized.
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When choosing seeds, we always plant heirloom NON-GMO. Heirloom, because we want to save seeds. You can plant hybrid, but note that you will not be able to save their seeds. Hybrid seeds will not come back true to type. We choose NON-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) because frankly, the verdict is still out as to the health risks from using GMO’s.
A few solid seed companies we trust are below.
seedsforgenerations.com – a family owned seed company located in Virginia. They sell quality heirloom NON-GMO seeds.
sowtrueseed.com – Located in North Carolina, they host a collection of over 500 types of GMO free vegetable, herb and flower seeds.
MIgardener.com – based in Michigan, this seed company offers heirloom NON-GMO seeds.
Finally, check on your plants daily if possible. If they are dry, water at the base of the plant and not over the leaves. Watering leaves can cause disease on your plant. Keeping mulch around the base will help cut down on the need for water.
If you have any questions leave us a comment below. We hope you have a wonderful gardening season. You can do it!