I love organic produce. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but he’s not as deep into the clean eating movement as I am. He sees two tomatoes that are both red and taste good, one is just more expensive than the other. I get it. Cost is a big deal and I can’t always splurge on all things organic. Do you know what’s even better than organic though and costs less? Home grown! Have any kind of yard? You can have a garden! Today I’m sharing tips and spring garden inspiration!
Gardening is healthy!
First off, if you have a garden you’re going to get more than yummy produce. Gardeners also experience an increased boost in mood, (hello sunshine and vitamin D!) better mental clarity, are more relaxed, and have better health and nutrition. Gardening gets the blood pumping and you are way more likely to be eating extra fruits and veggies since you don’t want your home grown hard work to go to waist!
I’ve been around the block when it comes to gardening. My parents had an epic garden every year growing up, and I’ve had my own for the past seven years. Each year I learn something new, which I love. You don’t ever have it figured out. A new weed or bug pops up, and you have to learn to adapt and deal. It’s challenging but also rewarding.
This is not a 101 on how to start a garden. I’m just sharing a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me out and made it a little more fun!
I won’t lie, I got super distracted last year and my garden was one of the projects that was left in the dust. Or dirt. Or whatever. Point is, I let it go and it was an epic fail.
It always looks tough after winter. That’s what happens when you get bombarded by snow and rain for five months straight. But this is worse than most years.
For a little inspiration, this was my garden a couple years back.
And it will be pretty again! Here are my tips for prepping your garden for spring!
Steps to getting your garden ready for a bountiful season:
Evaluate what worked last year and what didn’t.
Or maybe this is your first year? Woohoo to you! You’ve got this! First off watch how the sun hits the spot you are using as a garden. You want full sun for most produce. Write down what you want to grow and research each one and see what growing conditions they need. Each year I’m always changing something to improve my yield.
This year we are building a new chicken coop in a different area of the garden. It’s simply not working at it’s current spot. Plus we want to add to our flock and the enclosure is too small. It’s also in full sun and while that’s great over winter to help keep the coop warmer. Summers are hot and I spent a lot of days having to constantly water their coop down to keep them cool and ended up hanging a tarp (super classy) to make afternoon shade. Travis is excited for a new project, and so am I. Our first coop was a dog house that we re-purposed and the wire we had was from another project so it was completely free and worked for several years. Now however, it’s upgrade time!
You can find the plans for this coop here.
You need them. I was cheap and didn’t have them for four years and it was horrible, and a waist. You’re constantly losing soil off the sides and the water doesn’t stay put. This means smaller plants and less yield. Invest in raised beds and your crops will be larger.
Make your garden interesting and fun!
I have our old downstairs sink in mine, a huge metal chicken, and a bunch of pretty old windows from when we replaced them in our house a couple years back. What makes you happy? Your garden should be a relaxing place where you can escape the world for a bit. Find pretty things at garage sales or sifting through thrift stores and markets. Make this space your own. It’s fun to see what you can find.
What are you going to do with the produce?
It’s good to know ahead of the time what you want to do with your harvest. Just going to eat it as it ripens? That’s fine! Or maybe you want to try raspberry freezer jam, salsa, or attempt canned tomatoes or green beans? Check out your local library for books on gardening and harvesting. There’s a ton of info out there!
Here are some of my favorites:
This is on my dream list. My parents have an irrigation system for their garden and it saves so much time each summer. If you have a larger garden, watering can take a long time. Soaker system works well. You can easily make your own after a little research or purchase ready-to-go kits. If your budget doesn’t allow for it or you have a smaller garden, there are peek times for watering. Early mornings are great, as well as evening time, around sunset. The ground is cooler and more water is absorbed instead of evaporating from the heat. Plants can also get burned easily if you water from top to bottom. Water intensifies the heat of the sun on the leaves and can injure them. Instead, water below the leaves with low pressure so that you don’t disturb the roots or ground.
Gardening is an adventure so remember whatever happens to have fun! Enjoy the process and take pride in your work and harvest. Share with family and friends and take what you learn and use it to make an even better one next year. Let me know how yours goes! I can’t wait to hear!