A garden is one of those endeavors that is so simple and pleasurable, that you will wonder how you ever lived without one. From a flower garden to a vegetable garden, the relaxing calm of nurturing your plants is a wonderful experience. If you enjoy cooking, a garden is a perfect accompaniment to your lifestyle. Using fresh herbs and vegetables is not only very nutritional, it is also delicious. The satisfaction of cooking with and eating your produce is also very economical. Starting a garden is not expensive compared to the price of herbs and vegetables at the store. Plus they will taste better.
To start a garden the first thing you need to think about is space. You can grow a garden as large as your yard space allows. To keep things simple for beginners, start small. One of the most labor intensive parts of gardening is breaking up the soil. Water heavily one day before and then remove the weeds. Use a shovel or spading fork to break up the ground. Add organic compost and mix it into the soil. Before planting, water again to make the soil moist and easy to work with. You can plant either seeds or starter plants. Some plants are can easily grow from seeds while others are more challenging and grow better from starter plants. Good seed plants include carrots, lettuce, beans and corn. More difficult plants like cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes or eggplant are much easier to grow from starter plants. Check your seed packets or starter plant information spike to see how far apart you should plant. Some plants like lettuce can be packed together while others like tomatoes enjoy space. Water the ground after planting. Do not bother to add fertilizer until after you notice new growth.
Once all the hard work is done, you must remain vigilant over your garden. There are many pests and not all are insects. Depending upon where you live, cats, rabbits, squirrels, birds and people can cause havoc in your garden. Some gardeners put chicken wire around their fence to help keep out larger pests. You can also buy spray that encourages animals to keep away. Some gardeners use pinwheels to keep birds away hoping the motion and sound scares them off. One of the more inventive solutions to keep birds away was to use the tape from old cassette tapes. Cut some streamers and tie them around your plants. The wind does the rest. For insects, there is a variety of insecticides available depending upon what is eating your crops. Before you run out to the store though, the first thing you should try is dishwasher soap and water. Add one tablespoon of soap to one gallon and spray both sides of the leaves. Some people add crushed garlic or pepper flakes as well.
A garden can be a rewarding experience for anyone. Children, especially love to help. Playing with dirt comes naturally to them and it is a great educational process as well. After all the hard work is done, teach them what a weed looks like and have them help remove new ones. They can also help watering. If you always water around the same time they will come to expect it and volunteer to help. Plants like sunflower seeds can make great additions to your garden. You can measure them against you child’s height to show them how fast the plant is growing. Take plenty of pictures to also demonstrate growth. Teaching kids to grow their own food is also a simple way to get them interested in vegetables. For example, you can plant some tomatoes, garlic, basil and oregano. After you harvest your produce, take them into the kitchen and teach them how to make either spaghetti or pizza sauce.
Take good care of your garden and it will take good care of you. The health benefits of fresh vegetables and herbs is just as satisfying as watching your garden grow. When you get more enthusiastic about gardening you can start to make your own compost pile. Recycle your green waste and kitchen scraps from your vegetable garden to make some nice organic soil conditioner. If you one of your plants thrived or you simply enjoyed the taste, remember to save some seeds for next year’s garden.