Growing your own garden is an excellent way to obtain food, and it's an enjoyable hobby and a rewarding experience.
Regardless of what you plant, there are several common steps to getting started. One of the first things to do is to find a suitable location for your garden. As you decide upon your location, keep in mind what you intend to grow. In smaller garden areas, foods such as herbs, tomatoes, carrots, squash, and strawberries are often grown instead of fruit trees and other space-consuming produce. Growing smaller vegetables and herbs indoors is also a possibility.
Next, you will need to determine the type of soil you have. Is it clay, rock, sand, or a mixture of these conditions? Some crops can handle poor soil better than others. For example, green beans will grow well even in rocky soil, whereas carrots need a sandier soil.
Now is the time to purchase your seeds and plants. It is a good idea to find out your USDA hardiness zone before doing so.
Once you have the seeds, it is time to prepare your garden for planting. You'll need to till the soil with a rotatiller, plow, or other equipment. For most people, push rotatillers are the simplest solution. They are inexpensive to rent, easy to use, and work great.
Plant your seeds according to the directions on the seed package. Make rows with a hoe, being careful to break up clumps of dirt and remove large rocks. Often it is better to space the seeds more densely than recommended and then thin out the plants when they begin to grow.
Once you've planted, it is important to maintain a regular watering schedule. Water in early mornings or the evenings, so the sun won't burn the plants' delicate leaves. Although sprinklers are cheap, easy to setup, and easy to use, drip irrigation systems are the preferred method. The constant, slow 1 or 2 gph (gallon per hour) drip minimizes runoff water and actually gives the plants' roots more water.
Before long, your plants will be ready to harvest. Every type of plant has a different length of time until harvest, so with a varied garden you will have fresh produce throughout the summer and fall. You will soon find that nothing compares to the vegetables, fruits, and herbs grown in your own garden.
Although this is just a simple getting starting gardening guide, many other resources on gardening are readily available. Check with your local library or bookstore for many excellent books, often about specific types of gardening. You might also be interesting in the many different gardening CD-ROMs. Both garden encyclopedias and easy-to-use 3D landscape programs are available from a variety of manufactures. Check with a local software retailer or online store for more information.
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