Have you noticed that your store bought produce is wilted or bruised once it comes home from the store? Are you concerned about harmful chemical fertilizers on your produce? Do you worry about upcoming food shortages? Or want more food security? Many of us are taking notice of these concerns and have made the decision to grow our own gardens as a way to produce our own food source.
As rewarding as it is to produce your own food source, it takes practice and work to refine this pertinent skill. For those who have just discovered their green thumbs, take note of some simple advice that can help your garden grow to it’s maximum extent.
To make the most of your new healthy venture, ensure that you purchase non-GMO, heirloom quality seeds so the seeds can be saved for future gardens.
1. Mimic Mother Nature. Growing vegetables and herbs in conditions best suited for them will help them grow faster. For instance, herbs prefer drier soil compared to vegetables. Since the outer perimeter of the garden bed is the driest, many gardeners plant herbs in this area. The herbs are happy there and this gives you more room for vegetables. Further, consider companion planting. By planting different crops in close proximity, they will assist each other in nutrient uptake, pest control, pollination, and other factors necessary to increasing crop productivity. This is like killing two birds with one stone.
2. Don’t be premature. I understand how excited one gets when their seedlings start to emerge, but don’t be hasty in planting them too early. You want to give them ample time to develop their root systems and trunks. I can’t tell you how many seedlings I’ve lost because I was impatient and so excited to plant them. On another note, if they were germinated indoors, give them time to acclimate to their new outdoor environment. If you immediately set them out, the increased sunlight will stress them out. Typically, I set my indoor plantlings in a semi-shady area for a week or two before transferring them to their permanent spot and give them lots of water.
3. Be realistic. If you have never had a garden before, don’t expect to go full out with. Remember, keep in simple and start with the easiest plants to grow and then add more. Listed below are some of the easiest plants to grow for beginners:
- Nut/Fruit Trees – To learn more about essential nut and fruit trees for a survival homestead, click here.
- Vining Berries – blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
4. Practice makes perfect. Gardening is a skill that takes practice, so give yourself time to learn. Trust me, there will be garden failures, but it’s all a part of the learning curve. Talk to fellow gardens or join a gardening group to help you learn the tricks of the trade. There are also plenty of online resources and books that can help you, as well.