So, I'm new to gardening. My mom grew up on a farm, but somehow the cultivation of soil was not passed down. It might just be that we live in the suburbs and are surrounded by concrete.
Also, don't let the title fool you. I've had small successes this year with my garden, but I haven't even made it a whole season, let alone done it twice to prove my tips are worth listening to. How's that for an un-sales pitch.
A couple of years ago I decided the kids and I should try our hand at growing something. We started small, but we stuffed every variety we could into one tiny square. This is not conducive to healthy yields.
Tip #1: Mark out squares (1' x 1') in your box with string to separate crops
The worst part is we put a tomato plant right in the center. I found out from my gardening mentor that tomatoes suck all of the nutrients out of the soil...they're not friendly to plant with anything that you want to keep alive.
Tip #2: Tomatoes like to live alone
Another downside to my first gardening attempt was the location. It was not ideal for two reasons.
1 - It was located under a large tree. While it seemed to have ample sun, as the tree filled out in the summer, the plants just didn't get enough sun to thrive.
Tip #3: Pick a sunny location - preferably southern facing.
2 - It was in the far corner of my yard, nearly impossible to reach with my hose! I thought the sprinkler system would maintain the little box, but what I didn't realize is that grass requires a lot less water than veggies. So hauling out the hose each day was cumbersome.
Tip #4: Make sure it is near a water source
I also always thought that gardens were limited to the ground space available. Since we have a pool in the back, this limited my ideas of where I could grow things. I missed the fact that I have miles of fence, and a simple gutter from the hardware store expanded my garden space beyond what I imagined.
Tip #5: Think outside the box
There is still much to learn, but I'm excited to watch my garden grow.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.