As a lover of nature and the outdoors, adventurers are more in touch with what we put in our body for maximum benefits.
Eating healthy and gardening go hand-in-hand. I find keeping it simple and learning about your local growing environment is the best way to grow edible fruits, veggies and flowers.
We have been living in our house together for 5 years in Sweden and each year we learn more about the climate, soil, insects and how to prepare it all. I am by no means an expert, but I find it helpful when others share what they know. This is a culmination of everything I have learned from advice, trial and error.
8 Tips For Easy Gardening
- Choose your space: Depending on your living situation, your space can be adapted for any type of growing.
- Container gardening: If you are in a smaller space, such as an apartment – you may be lacking in direct ground to plant. You are in luck – growing in containers can be a lot easier than a full-size garden. You can use the floor, chair, windows and hanging areas to grow. Try using different types of containers, such as recycled plastic, clay or felt for better moisture and temperature control.
- Raised Beds: Usually made of recycled wood, these are a smart idea for growing vegetable, because they create a better environment for your plants. Think about soil, temperature, and sun or shade, along with what you are planting for the best possible growth.
- Direct gardening: If you have the room to stretch out – you can still control the area with an open style, direct to ground garden. The soil should be prepared well – check the ph of the current soil first and then research how to layer .
- Greenhouse gardening: Growing inside a growhouse is another way of controlling and protecting your plants with great benefits. The focus here is the temperature control should be balanced with an irrigation system.
- Choose what you want to grow: Depending on your space, you can grow almost anything.
- Vegetables: Herbs, greens, tomatoes and peppers grow well in small to medium containers, while beans, squash and root varieties would be better for larger containers and spaces.
- Fruits: Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are great for your home garden in any space and are easy to grow from seed. Fruit trees take longer to sprout fruit, but are beneficial long term, if you own your property and are planning for multiple years of care and maintenance.
- Flowers: These are essential for bees and pollination of your other plants. Check with your local grow house or farm to see which flowers will help your other plants prosper and which ones repel insects and pests.
- Mapping out your ideas: I find the smartest way to plan is a go-to chart or map of what you want to grow, as well as where and how you will do it ahead of time.
- Set your plan ahead of time based on budget, space and amount of time you can devote to the process.
- By now (June) you should have already planted your seeds, but you can still try to add some last minute. With a set budget, you should shop for soil first, plants and then any fertilizer needed.
- Remember to look for organic earth and organic additives. To have a healthy, edible garden, you don’t want to add chemicals.
- The right seeds, plants & soil: Timing is the culprit here…
- Seeds: If you planned ahead – good for you! Follow the seed packets and plants your seeds with the correct depth and space, so they have ample room to grow. Follow your map for a manageble growth and keep them within arm’s reach for easy harvesting.
- Plants: Choose plants that have been grown organically or with hydroponics. Check the soil + fertilizer, as foreign soil can unbalance the ph of your soil. Ask at your local plant nursery – its always best to support your local farmers before buying at commercial stores.
- Soil: Most important – make sure you purchase healthy organically treated soil. You don’t want to purchase cheap soil that has additives or chemicals. Make sure it has a guarantee. You are better off going to a local farm and purchasing some of their rich soil, specific for growing vegetables, fruits and flowers.
- Mark your garden: Create your own system for marking each plant so that you water and prune the right plants at the right time. Laminated cards, or stakes with markers will do the trick. Get creative and you can add a fun visual to identifying what’s growing.
- Feed your growing garden: Watering and fertilizing your plants will give them a boost if you plan right. Based on your growing space there are lots of irrigation options. Check the weather reports to save water and use natural rainfall whenever possible. This will help you avoid over-watering.
- Watering systems: There are tons of options for irrigation systems out there – you may want to research what will work best for your space and budget. I was surprised at how expensive it was to add a system in our greenhouse, so we decided to keep everything in the yard this year, while experimenting with different plants. If you need the hose or set up a watering system, make sure it’s not near any chemical runoff from asphalt or treated wood. If you can handle it all with a watering can, then by all means – go for it!
- When to water: To give your plants the most nutrients, feed your garden early in the morning.
- How to water: Water the roots only. Getting the leaves wet can cause all kinds of problems. It’s okay with occasional rainfall, but excessive moisture can change the entire environment and cause disease or mold.
- Fertilizer: You can purchase various fertilizers or use local manure to feed your plants. There are other plants that you can add to your garden that will provide extra minerals. Check to see what works best for the environment. There are lots of holistic tips on the internet!
- How to maintain a healthy garden: Follow-up is important to keeping your plants healthy. There are a few things you can do to stop any problems before they start.
- Check for bugs. Ants are ok – but aphids, fat worms, beetles and grasshoppers need to be picked off every morning. There are lots of holistic options on the market today. Check with your local nursery to see what they recommend. Neem Oil is one of my favorites, as it is made from tree sap. Try to buy local – it works the best.
- Remove invasive plants. Make sure to cut back any leaves or move any plants that might block the light or water from getting to the soil. Some plants, such as Wisteria or Clematis will take over your garden and keep coming back if you don’t remove them from the roots.
- Check and feed the soil. Make sure the area is absorbing moisture properly and there is no mold, especially after a heavy rain. Watch for discoloration of leaves or a white substance appearing on the top soil.
- Pruning: Every plant has a different growth span. I find that researching further than the packet / plant info. helps with specific tips for that species. For ex: most tomatoes require pinching off the new growth in between the limbs, so that it doesn’t get overgrowth or unbalanced.
- Know when to harvest: Keep a binder or shoebox with all your seed packets, or list them on the back of your map. Be sure to write down the fruit and harvesting details for each variation, as there will be a lot going on, as your garden starts to burst!
It takes time and patience, but you can’t replace the proud feeling you get when you pick your items from your own garden to eat.
Keeping positive vibes in your garden will nurture your plants – greet your new friends each day by sharing happy oxygen. Best wishes to you and
MAY YOUR GARDEN PROSPER!
One of my favorites for growing tips is Epic Gardening on youtube:
Next up: Healthy recipe tips for your camping and kayaking adventures!
See you soon!