Gardening! How I love you! I’ve had a long love for gardening but am still learning so much every year. Starting a backyard or balcony garden is easier than you’d think and the rewards are well worth the small effort!
Reward #1: Let’s start with the obvious – you’ll have your own produce come harvest. Not only that, but I think you’ll find that the taste of your produce will surpass even market food. Don’t ask me why – homegrown food always tastes better.
Reward #2: No GMOs, no pesticides, no big corporations. Just clean, honest, good food that came straight from the dirt.
Reward #3: Connect with your land. You’ll learn about your space, spend more time outside, and reap the benefits of nature connection, even if you’re just out on your balcony.
There are honestly probably hundreds of rewards for growing your own food (exercise, saving money, education to name a few more), but let’s dive in and get started…
If you’re new to gardening, my first recommendation is to start small and grow each season. I would also recommend to start with container gardening. Growing in boxes rather than in the ground directly is easier because you have control over the soil and you’ll have less weeds to worry about.
Next, I would suggest researching what food will grow well based on our location and the amount of sunlight you have available. Different plants require more or less sunlight and will need more or less space to grow, so find something suited to the space you have. This site shows which region you should plant for but is pretty technical. If you’re a beginner, I’d actually recommend using an app to help plan your garden and chart your growing season. A great app that I’ve used before is Smart Gardener. You can test it out to see how it works here before making the investment. It helps plan your garden based on the space you have available, tells you when to start your seeds, how long things will take to grow, and even gives you a to-do list as you go through your gardening season. GrowVeg’s Garden Planner is another similar app that helps you plan your garden and also has a garden tutor for support.
Finally, if you’re starting your first garden, I’d recommend having a backup plan if you are starting from seed. Growing your own seeds is really fun (I like growing mine in egg cartons!) but I usually end up purchasing some plants from local gardeners as well. Our local farmers’ market usually has seedlings available in the spring and I always find that some of my own seeds don’t grow as strong as I would have hoped and don’t do well after being transplanted.
Here are some resources for starting your own seeds:
- https://www.almanac.com/content/starting-seeds-indoors (video version: https://www.almanac.com/video/top-tips-starting-seeds-indoors)