For about 10 years, I have been growing my own fruit, vegetables, and herbs right in my own backyard to cut down on cost and add some healthier options to my diet. Gardening is a rewarding experience when done right and can benefit you in a variety of ways. These days you have a ton of different options, such as whether you want to use pesticide or go organic, grow fruits or veggies, or maybe even start your own small fresh produce business at your local farmer’s or flea markets. Here are 10 tips that will help you along your way to a successful gardening career.
1. Control Your Flow– One of the biggest lessons I learned while gardening was to pay attention to the amount of water your plants are getting. If you are planting a variety of plants you need to know which ones require more or less water and try to group them together. Both over and under watering could be detrimental to sustaining your plants.
2. Don’t Over Fertilize– Many people think that when it comes to feeding your plants nutrients and minerals that more is always better. Actually, plants can easily be burned and have stunted growth if too much fertilizer is used. Follow the package directions for the correct amount and don’t expect to see a sudden change overnight.
3. Start Early, Harvest Early– If you want to get a jump on other gardeners try planting near the end of frost season and just use a cover layer or insulator dome to make sure the cold doesn’t affect the growth of plants. Most will hold up fine with a small layer of cover and will be ready for you to collect much earlier in the growing season.
4. Choose High Yielders– If growing fruits or vegetables do some research and choose varieties that have a high yield rate per square foot of space. If you’re going to take the time to grow your own food you might as well get as much product for your time as you can. These plants are often fast growing, high yielding, and disease resistant, making them easy to care for and highly profitable.
5. Add Variety– If you’re growing your plants on a decent sized piece of land change up the variety of plants you grow. Growing too much of one thing is a waste of your time, space, and more often than not will leave the extra rotting into the ground once you reach your storage limits.
6. Vertical Gardening– If you lack a large amount of space to grow your plants in, you may want to try different types of vertical gardening. Plants are living organisms and you can often train them to grow in a certain direction or way. Adding a trellis to your garden for beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, or berries can give you much needed space for other vegetation.
7. Harvest Early– Picking fruit or vegetables a small bit premature will allow the base plant to stay in reproductive mode longer, allowing you to get more harvests in a single season. In some varieties of plants I have found that harvesting more often can almost double the total amount of product you will gather by the end of the year.
8. Weed Often– When you first start to see weeds pop up around your plants get rid of them as fast and complete as possible. Weeding four to five times a year seems reasonably effective and will let your plants grow to their full potential. Weeds steal water and nutrients from your other plants and their roots can entangle and disrupt established systems if left too long before removing.
9. Store in Small Amounts– When storing the fruits of your labor you will want to package and freeze them in smaller portions that would be either single serving or the amount you would need for a family meal. Doing this prevents any extra from going to waste and lowers the chance of a bad vegetable ruining the whole bunch. For another storage option try picking vegetables that go well together and storing them in the same bag. This way you have the right amount and variety of food you need right out of the freezer.
10. Network and Trade– Many places online and in farmers markets you can find people who are willing to give away extra produce, tools, and fertilizer that they don’t have any use for themselves. If you need a particular item find someone that has it and offer to trade with them to get what you need. You’d be surprised at the generosity of those that garden.
Follow these tips when planting your own garden for amazing plants all year long from Spring to Fall. Gardening is great to do as a side project or with family to supply yourselves with the best tasting and most fresh produce around. Happy gardening!
10 Years Personal Gardening Experience
25 Years Agricultural Training and Work
For more great plant and gardening information from this author, check out:
How to Perfectly Mulch a Flower Bed The First Time
Important Lessons I learned While Installing a Sprinkler System
How to Identify & Treat Poison Oak, Ivy, and Sumac