Home Gardening: Your First Steps to Planning Your Garden

If you’re ready to try your hand at home gardening, there are several steps in the planning stages that you will want to give consideration before you start.

Think about what you like to eat. This will be one of the major determining factors in what you should grow. Pay attention to what you buy in the grocery store and the ingredients in your food. Don’t forget the herbs you season your food with. You will also want to consider how much time you can commit to your garden. The inexperienced gardener should start simply with about four to five varieties of plants and add components to the garden as they gain experience and knowledge.

As you consider what you prefer to plant you can begin to investigate which plants coordinate well with each other. Certain vegetation grows well in cooperation when planted together. Other plants compliment each other when planted in succession.

It won’t be enough just to think about what you like and then go put it in the ground. You will have to research what kind of land will be needed for the food you want to grow. Look at your space. Do you have enough light? Most plants will need six to eight hours a day of light. Think about the amount of rainfall you are getting on average in your area. If it is not enough for what you want to grow you will have to think about irrigation.

Consider what grows well in your area. You may have lived there for many years and think that you know the seasons very well. This may be true but this intuitive knowledge is not sufficient for gardening. The USDA provides charts that outline hardiness zones and planting dates for every area in the US. These charts will outline growing seasons, including whether your area has hard winter freezes or extended warm seasons.

Educate yourself about local planning regulation and ordinances for gardening and the appearance of your property. A Michigan woman who recently ran afoul of her city’s ordinances nearly landed jail time for the tomatoes in her front yard. Neighbors who aren’t enthusiastic about how your suburban farm will affect their property values can be appeased with privacy fences. But remember that even high fences don’t stop smells from traveling. Plan your handling and placement of fertilizers and compost in a way that isn’t offensive to neighbors.

Every point here is really only the tip of a very large iceberg. But the points outlined will give the initiate concepts that will get them headed in the right direction.

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