No one starts out a garden guru, so here are our top 5 steps for planning a new garden!
1. Put the kettle on
That’s right! Get yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea, grab a chair and take a seat in your backyard. Planning is everything, and now’s the time to think about where you want your greens to grow, considering both ease of access and visual appeal.
Whether you’re working with a whole yard or just a windowsill, the best thing you can do is choose a spot for your garden that feels right. It should be something that you love, so it’s best to take your time!
2. Keep things sunny
When picking the spot for your garden, keep sunlight in mind. Veggies love full sun, and (with a few exceptions) you’ll want your garden to get a minimum of six hours in full sun a day.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend the whole day tracking the sun in your backyard. There are websites and apps you can get on your phone that help you calculate the amount of sun certain areas in your garden will get. This great article from Milkwood runs you through how to use the Suncalc calculator.
3. Work with your weather
A big mistake when starting out is choosing crops that aren’t right for your climate. As much as you love chillies, if you live in the Alps, you might have a hard time growing them!
Sprouting seeds indoors or in a greenhouse can help you grow crops that are a little fragile for your weather, but for first-time growers, we suggest sticking to veggies that are a good fit for your region. If you look up your areas’ microclimate or ‘garden-zone’ there will be lists of suitable veggies to choose from, and great tips on growing them.
4. Grow what you love
There’s something flirtatious about the seed section of a garden store, especially for first-time growers. It’s easy to get caught up in romantic ideas about finally starting to eat zucchini – even though you hate it!
We love zucchini (it’s a fast-growing and space-efficient crop), but if you don’t, then it’s going to be bittersweet when all your hard work pays off. Grow the things that you eat a lot of now; it’ll save you money at the grocery store and make your hard work feel rewarding. There’s always room to experiment down the line!
5. Scribble and scribble
Want to know the best-kept secret to growing a great garden? Planning. If you’ve researched your region’s climate, selected a sunny spot in your backyard and have an idea of the veggies you want to grow, all you need to do is bring everything together.
Draw up sketches of what your garden will look like! Will it have raised beds, or will you plant directly into the ground? Above-ground gardens can be more expensive to set up, but they’ll save your back down the line by needing less weeding and minimal tilling. What time of the year in your area is the start of the growing season? Will you need to sprout your seeds indoors before planting them? Ask these questions early and make a plan in a little notebook. You will love yourself for it.
Gardening is a labour of love. It brings us closer to nature, and back down to earth (especially in an age of screens and deadlines). Freshly grown fruits and vegetables taste the best, and they feed more than just your belly – so what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on and pull out a bit of paper; it’s time to get started!