How to Grow Your Food at Home
For many, growing your food at home seems out of reach. The idea of sprouting seeds, composting, and understanding soils and ideal conditions for certain foods to grow is almost overwhelming. And while the knowledge of gardening for food is endless, with innovations developing constantly, the task of growing your food at home is a dream that can be realized in many ways.
Some of the best and easiest ways to get started with your own home food garden can be simple projects like a windowsill herb garden, small pots of quickly grown plants like tomatoes and strawberries, or a raised bed using the square foot method.
We’ve made a list of things to do to make the process easier, no matter where you are in the process.
Assess and Understand Your Space
First, you’ll have to know what is possible based on your advantages and limitations. Understanding your space is vital to growing a successful garden. Does your area have the room required to produce the food you want? Are these small vegetables or an extensive fruit tree?
Some other things to consider are the requirements for sunlight and water. Some foods need more and less of these two things to grow well, so considering these factors beforehand is essential to having a successful crop.
Then you want to think about some other basics, like soil quality. Testing the soil for nutrient quality is always a good idea. Knowing before you invest time and money into a garden is much better. There is always a chance the soil has contaminants as well.
Come up with a plan
Vegetables and fruits to consider:
It’s best to grow things you’ll actually like to eat, so start there. Things like tomatoes and corn often proliferate without much maintenance.
Another thing to take into account is grocery costs. With the rise in food costs at the store, think about growing foods that will save you money. Consider peppers; they can be expensive and are easy to grow. Also, think about starting some berry plants—they take a little while to start but are worth it in the end.
If you’re considering fruit trees, these will take the most time. Start this with something easy like citrus (depending on the climate). These can start yielding within the first couple of years.
Choose the seeds
We could spend all day with this one. But a few things to think about right off the bat are these:
What grows well where you live? If you buy locally, this will help simplify the process; you’ll have the right seeds for your region and support local growers.
Get a variety of things to plant! Don’t go all one way, have a few things to grow; that way, you can figure out what works for you and make whole dishes that come directly from the garden. Often you’ll find that foods that go well together grow well together.
Methods to consider:
If you don’t have enough space to grow, consider growing up! The vertical method uses less surface space to produce a hardy harvest. Vining plants are the easiest to grow using this method. This includes veggies like cucumbers and zucchini.
Square-foot gardening is the practice of dividing your garden into different square-foot sections to create a variety of intensely planted veggies. This method is grown in raised beds so that it can be used just about anywhere. It is also sometimes used in tandem with vertical gardening.
Pest Control and Maintenance
Ideally, these won’t be issues, but it’s good to be prepared.
There are many natural methods for pest prevention. A popular one is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth over the soil and plants. Diatoms are sharp little particles that can harm small insects and slugs. Let’s just say they really don’t like them. The best part is that this isn’t a chemical result, so it’s safe.
And as far as weeds go, if you want to keep it natural, turning the soil around your fruits and veggies will make it difficult for the invasive weeds to come in. It takes a little bit of work, but it is worth it to keep things organic.
The list of things to do to be fully prepared for your own food garden could go on and on, but these are a few pro tips to get you started. And whether you’re starting your food garden in spring or fall, it’s always a good time to get things growing.