Believe it or not, getting started with gardening isn’t as daunting as you may think. But you do need to make some decisions early on! Gardening is completely scalable to your budget and space. And I can’t think of many hobbies that are better for the body and soul than gardening! It’s also the perfect activity to do with your kids. They’ll love watching how tiny little seeds grow into plants and then become fruits and vegetables that they can eat!
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The prime time to make your decisions on gardening is now, though. Today’s post is the first in a series about gardening and I’m going over the basics of what you need to know.
Why You Should Consider Gardening
2020 was a record year for people gardening. Whether it was spurned by fear of not being able to find food, needing a distraction from the pandemic, or just having more downtime, people across the country got their hands dirty in the garden. This year is proving not to slow down. And I think that’s a great thing. As I’ve said before, the best tasting tomato is the one you’ve grown yourself. I definitely say that about the San Marzano’s I grew last summer. Check out how gorgeous these are!
Once you start growing your own vegetables and possibly fruits, too, you’ll easily be able to tell the difference in the taste and look of what you grow vs. what you purchase. In addition, gardening gives your body great low-impact exercise since you’re bending, carrying, and moving a good bit in general.
Obstacles to Getting Started with Gardening
Many people think gardening takes a lot of time, but that’s up to you and your decisions. However, wishing for a beautiful garden and having a beautiful garden are completely different things. If you’re a really busy person with many commitments, you need to think about how much of your time you are willing to spend to make your gardening efforts worthwhile. When Matt and I were first getting started with gardening, we were too ambitious with too little time and attempted to plant a huge space. All we grew that first year was beautiful weeds! After spending all that money on seeds, we were disappointed, but we didn’t quit. It was a hard lesson to learn, but we now have a garden size that’s manageable for two people working full time outside of the home. Still interested in getting started with gardening? Let’s move on to some action items.
Deciding Where to Grow Your Garden
We have a few garden spaces at Sunny Side Up. There’s a small garden in front of our chicken coop and the larger garden is near our compost bins. Don’t despair if you don’t have a lot of space and don’t want to dig up a lot of dirt, though. I have a vertical planter that I absolutely love that’s perfect for a patio that gets a lot of sun.
You can check it out here. It’s made in the USA from food-safe plastic and you can grab a discount by using the code SUNNY10 at checkout. I primarily grow artisan lettuce in it but I also get vegetables that should be direct sown, like sweet corn, off to a good start in it first before transplanting them into our larger garden. You can grow a decent amount of veggies in this vertical planter too. Standalone pots are another option for small spaces. To give you more inspiration, there’s even a local bike shop near us that grows tomato plants along the sidewalk near the front of their store. With gardening, if there’s a will, there’s a way! If you do have a little space to play around with, great! We’ll go over preparation in a future post.
Deciding What to Grow and How Much
It’s January and I already bought my seeds. The catalog companies got a late start on their mailings, but man, do I love leafing and dreaming my way through them. They’re like wish books to me. Here are a few of my favorite seed sources:
If you don’t want to buy seeds online, it’s possible to find options at your local farm and feed store, like Tractor Supply or Rural King, but they are limited. When it comes to deciding what to grow, my advice to you is to plant what you like to eat, not what looks pretty. If you love beets but the rest of your family turns up their nose, buy them in a store or farmer’s market instead. Love squash? Take it from me, just a few plants will provide more than enough. Cue the photo of last year’s Delicata squash plant.
Watch My Getting Started with Gardening Video!
Your budget may also help you make some decisions. Growing from seeds is the cheapest, but you may want to buy some plants instead. For example, I buy herbs and onion sets instead of seeds. It’s just my preference after having a few years of misses on those two items.
Armed with this information on getting started with gardening, you can now place those seed orders or get out there and buy some. Next week, I’ll be sharing the next things you need to do to make that gardening dream a reality. Here’s to your gardening adventure!