Starting a Garden

There are numerous things to consider when starting a garden. This page will be updated as new blogs with related content are posted.

SPACE: How much space do you have for a garden? We started our garden with recycled deck boards to make an eight foot by four foot box. We expanded the garden at least another ten feet on one side of the box. Since 2009, we’ve created several large raised beds that span over 25 feet wide by about 75 feet long. We have a very large yard that receives full sun and gets plenty of water (sometimes too much). If you don’t have a yard, you can easily start a garden in pots–small enough to fit in a window sill or large enough to keep on a patio or deck.

TIME: How much time do you have? I live in a quiet community in the suburbs where people commonly walk or jog. When I’m working in my garden, besides compliments, the most common thing I hear is “that must be a lot of work.” Yes, it requires work, but it gets easier over time. Personally, I choose to break up the work into small less time consuming tasks versus devoting full days or weekends to doing nothing but gardening. Also, I’m really careful about what I plant and when I plant it because it takes time to harvest fruit and vegetables. Unlike buying produce in the store, there is a lot of extra cleaning, cutting, sorting, and preparation required. You will commonly see references in my blogs related to time management. I work full time, and for two years, I also went to school full time and was still able to manage a beautiful garden (with the help of my husband and daughter, of course!)

WASTE: There is significant waste from fruit, vegetable, plant, and flower gardens. It’s important to understand the volume of waste that will be generated by your choices and what to do with it. In general, I compost produce and either bury or discard any other plant waste. Weeds are always disposed via the trash to prevent invasive growth.

VOLUME: It’s important to have an understanding what your produce garden will yield. Do you simply want fresh fruit and vegetables for immediate use? Do you want to preserve food via dehydration, freezing, or canning? Do you want to give food away or trade food with other gardeners? All of these questions should be considered along with previously listed items.

There are several ways to learn–by watching, by doing, or by touching the electric fence. I’m the latter. I jumped into gardening with a vision, a willing heart, a strong work ethic, and a desire to balance my life with something really enjoyable. Some people prefer to learn from others before starting something new, and for those people, I hope this blog is a way to learn from my experiences.

©Tonya R. Hartman, July 2016