Wouldn’t it be nice to just go outside and pick a tomato, and serve it in your salad? Well, who says you can’t do that? If you have a little bit of space, even a patio or balcony, you may be interested in starting your own edible garden.
Create a Plan for Your Garden
Before you head out to buy any seeds or start planting, it’s important to have a plan in mind. Creating a plan will prevent you from buying too much or too little of certain items. You’ll also be able to better use all the space you have available, ensuring you get the most out of your backyard. These are the essentials you should include in your plan:
First you want to observe the sun and understand where you get the most sunlight on your property. Most crops but not all appreciate a significant amount of sunlight. Tomatoes, eggplants, corn, sunflowers, cucumbers all appreciate 6-8 hours of sunlight.
Then decide how much area you want to devote to your garden. Do you have a side yard, a patio? Look at the backyard and front yard and observe the sunlight in these areas. We like to build walk ways into the garden space so you have easy access and walking areas designated ahead of time.
Next how much time do you want to spend in the garden, some will be for watering and maintaining your garden. Other times will be for just enjoying the space I hope. Then you can decide what crops would fit in with the amount of sun you get and the area you have available for the garden.
I also encourage people to make a list of what everyone in the house likes to eat and that should be about 80% of what you grow. No point in growing cucumbers if nobody at home wants to eat them!
Start with One Area at a Time
Depending on the size of your backyard, it can be tempting to just go out and buy everything you need for your garden. If you do that, you’ll probably end up with a lot of leftover supplies that you don’t know what to do with. And this may also mean spending a great deal of money.
I always encourage people to start small and expand from there!
Get Good Soil
If I had to pick one ingredient for a successful garden it would be the soil. Buy the best soil you possibly can and be sure to include organic matter as part of the mix. It should have good drainage and be as natural and organic as possible. Ask lots of questions when buying your soil. We have our own special soil blend for our local clients so reach out if you have any questions.
There are several ways to improve your soil. If you have clay soil, add organic materials like compost that has been well rotted and is finished.
Also collecting leaves in fall and working those into your soil is a great way to add nutrients back into the soil and you can cover it with some compost to hold it in place. If you can collect the leaves and run the lawn mower over it a couple times to make it more fine and it will be easier to incorporate.
While it’s tempting to purchase a lot of seeds and start planting in the spring, it’s better to take your time and create a plan. If you create a plan, you’ll be able to use your space much more effectively and efficiently. You’ll also spend less money and have a bigger and more successful garden.
Get fresh produce from your own garden with the help of Culinary Gardens. We provide edible gardening services in Illinois and are on a mission to help everyone have a little or big spot in their yard to grow some of their own food. We are here to help you every step of the way and remove the overwhelm and confusion so you can be enjoying and harvesting in short order. Book a garden consult today!