I loved reading over today’s guest article; just the sort of motivation a not-so-hot gardener like myself needs to keep at it! Because even though I have my gardening mishaps, I’ve still been able to add homegrown food to our table. If I can do it, you certainly can!
Your backyard is the perfect spot to grow food like fruits and herbs to use in your kitchen. Everyday cooking will taste better with herbs from a garden, and fruits can be used in all sorts of natural dessert ideas that are kid-and-health friendly too! Even apartment dwellers can grow strawberries for fresh smoothies, or herbs for spicy dinner plans!
There are a few basic supplies that you might want to gather to be sure you can grow everything listed here:
· Shovel and a small garden spade
· Planter box
· Nutrient rich soil
· Seed packets
· Garden rake (a three pronged hand tool used to loosen up dirt)
· Wiring (strawberries and other plants benefit from wiring or framework where vines can latch onto and grow)
A variety of herbs are easy to cultivate both in and outdoors. Oregano, thyme, and rosemary are especially great herbs for growing indoors if you wish, you just need a simple set up. Simple pots filled with soil is often all you need to start a garden, and February is an excellent time to plant your herb garden.
Experience will teach you how to juggle water and sunlight, as different herbs will have different requirements. Often times a clay pot in a well-lit area will require more water than a plant in a darkened corner. You can construct a simple set of shelves to place your plants, and soapy water will work as a pesticide in most cases.
An apple tree can provide a fairly steady stream of fruit for your garden and provide shade for you and your family for roughly 3-4 years, or as long as 4-5 years depending on the strain of apple. Pollination can be tricky, as most apple trees require more than one to bear fruit in substantial quantity, but you can purchase self-fertilizing apple trees that you can plant in yards with limited space.
The Farmer’s Almanac recommends planting your tree in spring, and it’s best to plant an apple tree in places where winter tends to be mild. Once your tree grows, prune it as often as you can to pick off excess fruit and bend branches to limit how often they break. Harvesting usually occurs from August to October, and apples are ripe when they are no longer green. Try making an apple pie, or using them in a smoothie.
You can find strawberry plants at tree nurseries or local hardware stores, but remember that strawberries need sun, which can be a limiting factor for some growers. You need about 12-14 inches of soil, and would benefit from spacing out your plants in a row. Plants need to be well watered, and June bearing strawberry plants benefit from pruning off old and dead leaves from the plant. Strawberry plants can last up to three years before you need to replace them, but be sure to use or preserve your strawberries as they don’t have a lengthy shelf-life.
A raised garden provides more alternatives for you to explore as you become a better gardener. An apple tree is fairly ambitious, but a simple herb garden is easy to cultivate and grow. Once you’ve developed your gardening sense, tomatoes, carrots, radishes and other veggies can easily grow in a raised garden. The smell of a garden will add character to your backyard and everyone can participate in pruning.
Gardening takes patience and attentiveness. Don’t let a dead plant stop you from developing a garden for yourself. Growing your own food will save you money and you can garden with organic methods to keep food tasting fresh and delicious.