Garden Creation: Starting with the basics
A garden should be a thing of pleasure and not a chore. You can start a small garden in almost any living situation. It doesn't have to be large and elaborate, it can be small and simple too.
Today and tomorrow we'll explore some basics that you will need to briefly think about before getting a small garden started. It is a condensed version of some useful tips from this wonderful site.
Choose a site
Location Places the garden where you will see it often.
This may vary depending on how you live your life. If you cook a lot, a simple flower bed outside the kitchen window can brighten your mood. If you're keen on driving, an ornate garden bed lining the driveway will give you the procession when you return home from a busy day. No matter what your lifestyle, small additions such as these can heighten your living environment.
What's the site like?
Now that you have chosen a spot, it's a good idea to see if it is suitable for the plants you want to grow. Desirable growing conditions for various plants are easily gleaned from the net, or at your local nursery. As a rough idea, most vegetables, as well as flowers, will require 6 hours of sunlight a day. There is more flexibility in flowers, for those of you who have a shaded site. Also, generally speaking, morning sun is better than the afternoon sun, which can be drying, and damaging.
Preparing the soil
This is quite important, and it is easy to get over-complicated about the soil for your garden. At a minimum, it is probably a good idea to test the pH level of your soil. Most plants dig a range somewhere between 6.2-6.8, and some are very picky. When you buy plants from a nursery, they will have tags that outline ideal pH levels.
Also, check the texture of the soil. If there is too much clay, or sand, or rock, the soil can be improved by the addition of compost.
Preparing the garden bed.
First, you must clear the existing vegetation, whether it be weeds or grass. If you don't they will simply come back and smother your garden. This can be done with a sharp, flat-edged spade, and make sure you remove the weeds completely. If the soil is poor (like for many city-dwellers) then you will need to remove some of it a till in amendments.
Preparing the garden bed in this manner ensures you won't need any fertilizers in the future. A little work now will save you money, time, and the environment the stress of chemicals.
What do you want to Grow?
Native plants look great, I think. If you're choosing flowers, go by colors, and have a look around your local area for what is growing well. Walking around a nursery is also a good way to glean what looks nice, and what grows locally.
Don't overdo it though, sticking to a select few is often better than crowding in too many species.
OK, we're halfway there. The next article will look at planting your chosen ones, mulching, garden maintenance, and the best bit of all-enjoying your creation!