If you want to turn your backyard into a garden, here are some step-by-step gardening ideas to follow.
1. Determine your climate zone
When it comes to gardening, having success is all about selecting the appropriate plant for the proper location at a reasonable time. This begins with a solid awareness of the types of crops that thrive in your geographic region and the time of year to grow them. Find your growing zone and become familiar with the kinds of plants that do well there, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. If you cannot figure out the climate of your zone, it is advisable to seek help from professionals such as backyard experts.
Once you have determined the climate zone where you live, the next step is to research the predicted dates of the first and last frosts. This will allow you to calculate the length of your growing season. Now, when you go to the garden center near your home, you can search for plants labeled with the number corresponding to the hardiness zone where you live. When you acquire seeds, check the number of “days to maturity” indicated on the packet and compare it to the amount of time you have for planting and growing.
2. Decide on what you want to grow
When deciding what kinds of plants you want to cultivate, consider the limits imposed by the temperature zone where you live and your tastes. Do you prefer a flower garden, vegetable garden, organic farm, container garden, or a mix of these options, or do you want all of these? Ask yourself what kinds of fruits and veggies you prefer to eat, and then plant those kinds of fruits and vegetables. Consider the room you have available in your home for growing plants. If you have limited space in your garden, it is best to steer clear of planting any vast plants.
3. Choose the most favorable location for your garden
Because most flowers and vegetables need many hours of direct sunshine each day, you should look for a location that gets sufficient full sun for what you intend to cultivate. It will also be simpler to grow plants on level ground next to a building or other structure that offers some protection from the wind.
4. Acquire some essential gardening equipment
When gardening, you should purchase at least a substantial shovel and a pair of gloves. A potting soil scoop makes it easy to fill pots and planters with soil; a regular kitchen knife allows for clean cuts when harvesting vegetables, a cordless drill powered by batteries or a rechargeable power source can be used to drill drainage holes in objects that will be used as planters hand pruners can be used to cut stems and branches up to half an inch in diameter.
5. Test your soil
Before you begin planting a garden, it is essential to have the soil tested. This may be done at your neighborhood USDA cooperative extension service office for a nominal charge. You won’t just find out what percentages of clay, sand, silt, and organic matter are there in your garden’s soil; you’ll also find out whether or not the pH level is incorrect and whether or not there are any nutrient deficits present. In addition to this, you will be given guidance on how to fix any imbalances. Request an analysis that checks for hazardous elements like lead and arsenic, which may be present in trace amounts in the surrounding soil. Do not grow edibles in the ground if the levels of toxins found there are above the safe thresholds. Instead, you should cultivate your food in wooden raised beds equipped with a barrier at the base to prevent the plant’s roots from penetrating the soil.
6. Prepare a garden bed
The first thing that must be done to make room for a garden bed is to remove any existing plants. Weeds can be removed manually by pulling them out. Be sure to get all the roots since this will prevent them from growing back. If you are beginning with an existing lawn, you should consider renting a sod cutter powered by gas to trim the grass. After that, you will need to prepare your space for plating. It is preferable not till the ground until it is necessary to do so because digging can disrupt the life beneath the topsoil, including worms, beetles, and bacteria.
Instead, you should consider no-till gardening: After clearing away the rubbish and the grass, put a substantial layer of compost over the area used for growing things (at least four inches thick). You can also try sheet mulching, the process of using cardboard to decompose weeds while retaining the soil structure. This method should be used if your weeds are very tenacious. It is best if the beds you make are no more than four feet wide. This will allow you to reach into the center of the bed without having to step on the loose soil and cause it to become compacted, which would destroy all of your hard work.
7. Determine whether to plant seeds or seedlings
Seed starting saves money, but it’s a lengthy procedure with hiccups. Some seeds are resistant and take a long time to grow into healthy plants for the outdoors. You can also visit a local nursery to acquire greenhouse-grown plants. Just remember that the most significant plants are frequently “root-bound.” With a thicket of roots below the soil, these seedlings may not do well in the garden.
8. Carefully sow seeds or seedlings
Plant seeds at the depth specified on the seed packet, push the dirt firmly over them and water them whenever the soil dries out.
9. Mulch well
Covering the soil with rocks and organic matter, weeds can’t germinate, and the dirt is kept cold and moist. Mulch feeds worms and other soil animals as it decays, just like compost. Every crop needs a different type of mulch. Wood chips are good for fruit trees, shrubs, perennials, and other big plants. Delicate vegetables prefer straw or leaves as mulch.
During the growing season, watch the plants. If a leaf is yellow or distorted, trim it—a plant falling over needs to be staked. Dense, overgrown vegetation requires meticulous pruning to let in light and air.