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Gardening In Even The Smallest Of Spaces

Gardening in small spaces

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the cost of food has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. It seems that every time you go into the store that the cost of at least one thing on your list cost a bit more than the time before. So what’s a person to do? Grow some of your own food, that’s what!

Growing your own food isn’t as difficult as you might think, and it doesn’t necessarily take as much space as you might think either. Those images of huge vegetable gardens at grandma’s house are often the norm in rural areas, but growing your own food can be done on a much smaller scale with success and to the extent that it makes a difference in both your nutritional health and your grocery budget.

The first thing you will need to do is decide how extensive you want your garden to be. While your yard (or lack thereof) may help you make this decision, it is important to know that there are ways to enlarge your growing area.

You can…

The next thing you need to think about is preparing your site. When deciding on the placement of your garden, make sure it is in a location that gets as much afternoon sun as possible and will be easily reached by a garden hose.

Once all that is done, you are ready to clear your garden spot. To do this, you will remove the sod/grass from the entire planned garden area. After that, you can then either work loamy soil into the ground to promote healthier plants or construct raised beds.

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If you are clearing your garden spot, it is important to do a thorough job initially if you want to save yourself a lot of time on your knees pulling weeds later. To clear the sod, you’ll need a sharpshooter shovel (spade) and a wheelbarrow or garden cart. “Cutting” along the perimeter, dig down four to six inches. After you’ve cut the perimeter, cut across in twelve-to-fourteen-inch squares and carefully lift the sod squares out. You can load them into the garden cart and use them in other areas of your yard to fill in bare spots or build up low spots that hold water. To plant the sod squares, press them into the areas you wish to cover and water well. Returning to you garden spot, you’ll need to use a garden shovel and rake to work peat moss and/or loamy garden soil into the existing soil. Loamy soil is soil that contains sand, soil, and decaying organic materials such as dried manure. Once this is done, you’ll be ready to plant.

If you are building raised beds, you will need landscape timbers or stones/blocks, soil, peat moss, a garden shovel, and a rake. Once you’ve decided the size of the perimeter of your garden space, remove the sod using the same method used for ground plots. If you wish, you can put landscape cloth over it as added protection against re-growth.

After you’ve taken care of the grass, you will need to construct a box using the timbers or stones/blocks, making it eighteen-to-twenty-four-inches tall. Fill the box level with a good mixture of garden soil, peat moss, and loamy soil that has a high organic material content. Allow the dirt to settle for two or three days and then add enough to make it level with the top of the box.

Now it’s time to decide what to plant. And if you are like most people, your biggest problem with planting will be choosing what to plant—you’ll want to plant way more than you have room for! But choices have to be made, so here are a few tips to help you decide what to grow in your garden….

Once you’ve made your choices and all danger of frost is past in your region, it is time to plant your garden. Rows should be spaced twelve to eighteen inches apart for small gardens that will be tended by hand. If you are fortunate to have a larger garden and will be using a tiller to keep your garden weed-free and the soil worked up between the rows, you’ll need to have two to three feet between rows.

So if you are ready… let’s plant!

Other vegetables that are fairly easy to grow include eggplant (purchase plants, lettuce, carrots, sweet potatoes, and radishes. Plants that are easy to grow but need more room include watermelon and pumpkins.

Once you’ve planted your garden, you will need to make sure you give it the proper care. This includes regular watering (if rain is in short supply), keeping your garden weed free, keeping the soil worked up to allow for optimal growing conditions, keeping the garden pests out of your garden, and harvesting your vegetables.

Water: Your garden should never have water standing in it, and the soil should always be loose to allow for proper drainage.

Weeds: Checking your garden daily or every other day for weeds and pulling every one you see will keep weeds from getting out of hand.

Pests: Garden pests can be deterred and destroyed by planting marigolds around the perimeter of the garden or by spraying a mixture of water and dish soap on your plants (one teaspoon of soap to one quart of water).

Harvesting is the yummy and easy part. Plants and seed packets will provide you with the necessary information on maturation times for the varieties of plants you select. Enjoy your harvest!

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