Face it, you’re probably one of the many Americans who eat fast food, or maybe you don’t eat fast food, but you definitely haven’t had have a home grown, home cooked meal since, well probably ever. I want you to know you’re not alone and it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. If you have a yard and 50 bucks, you can probably turn that yard into a garden in no time. Here’s how:
Step one, Location
Find a place in your yard where you won’t be forced to uproot your plants anytime soon. They have lives, too. When doing this, think about the sun. Finding a place where there is too much sunlight can result in your plants getting overwhelmed by the heat. However, having a garden in the shade 24 hours a day is also not ideal. You need to have your garden located in a place where the sun and shade can equally cover your plants in both the winter and the summer. If you don’t have shade, I’ll give you a few hints on how to take care of that later on.
Step two, Soil
The dirt, or soil, is one of the most important aspects when creating your garden, whether it be veggies or flowers, having the wrong soil for the job will turn bad results. Think about it this way, a pony is a horse, but a horse is not a pony. You can race with a horse and win, but the chances of your pony winning that race against other horses are slim to none. So plan out what kind of garden you want to have so you can buy soil accordingly. Some places in the world have dirt, whereas others have soil. Take for instance Arizona, you’re bound to find more dirt in most areas, than nutrient rich soil. This isn’t always bad though. For example, if you are planning on growing something on a vine, well, most of the time that vine will spread like a weed. Having a ground where there are only sections of soil and the rest is dirt can help to maintain the garden and keep plants from spreading to undesirable areas. Also, if you live in an area with good moist soil, you still need to enrich your soil with nutrients. By mixing your soil, or dirt, with a store bought mix of nutrient rich soil, you’ll find the amount of growth can substantially increase.
Step three, Make Your Bed
A few years back, I started my garden with watermelons. This was a fairly easy task and took me no more than a day to make my bed. I suggest following this method for making your garden bed so that you can maintain the health of the garden. First, you want to dig a space, large enough for your desired bed and make it about a foot and a half deep. Next, if you want to be fancy, I suggest you invest in a few wooden blocks to cover the perimeter of the bed. By doing this, you will effectively have a wall keeping the plants in place and the roots from spreading. – You can also use blocks to separate different plant roots from each other by making a ‘Tic-Tac-Toe’-like structure in the bed. After you have completed those steps, it is healthy for the plants to obtain water, but even healthier to have that water flow through the roots and reach the soil beneath your bed which brings me to the next step.Find a thin sheet of plywood to cover the bottom area of the bed and cut multiple holes in it, each hole being about an inch apart and no greater than ½ inch in diameter. By doing this, you’ll effectively allow for excess water to leak through, thus preventing your plants from having too much water, or root rot. I would also like to mention, if you are limited on money, a plastic garbage bag will work just as well for the perimeter and bottom area of the bed, which is what I use. Most people do not do this because they intend on having the same plantation throughout the year and have no desire to uproot their plants at any time, it is not necessary but can be helpful. The reason why I like this is because you can control your roots and if you ever want to uproot that garden, it is as simple as pulling out the wood or garbage bag.
Step Four, Shade
Finally, as I mentioned before, it may be ideal for you to have shade over your garden at times. Most plants have cycles of sunlight, i.e. 12 hours on, 12 hours off. That is why many people get wooden stakes, and chicken-wire. You place the stakes around the perimeter of the bed (you probably only need 4 stakes if you have a small area) and wrap the wire around the sides of the stakes. A good way to do this is to use twist ties, or garden wire. After the chicken wire is placed, you can simply place any cloth of desire on top of it to give that great shade and remove the cloth, leaving the wire in place for future sun. I would like to point out, if you do plan on using this kind of shade, buy stakes which are tall enough. the last thing you want to do is have your plants growing into the chicken-wire.
If all goes accordingly, you can find all of these materials (Soil, Trash Bags, Stakes, Chicken-Wire) at your local Home Depot or Lowes for under $50. That is, as long as you’re not making your entire backyard a garden.