These days with the constantly rising price of produce at the local greengrocer, supermarket or corner shop has escalated to the point where it makes a lot of sense to start growing your own at home. The trick to creating simple a home-based organic garden is daily care and attention, in small amounts, rather than thinking it is going to be an enormous undertaking.
Couple this with teaching the children about the cost of produce and the process it normally goes through before it reaches your home will also be hugely beneficial.
The first think to do is to get the whole family involved in the project, especially the children. If they get involved you will be again creating some legacy-like behaviours for them to carry through the generations.
My father and mother taught me how and I have taught my children the benefits of having their own garden and in knowing what and how to set one up, care for it and reap the benefits once the season commences.
The other benefit is that crops can be grown in all four seasons, some in all seasons and some in their own preferred season. A trip to the local garden centre will demonstrate this to a huge extent with all of their rotational crop projects.
The benefits for the children also is in teaching the ‘value’ of home grown produce, in how saving a $$ here and there can make a huge difference to the household budget and can also act as a huge educational exercise.
So, you want to first of all think about the ‘size’ of the plot you want to design. Initially I built a box approximately 2m x 2m square and approximately 0.3m deep. But this would be a huge task for most. If you want to you can purchase some relatively inexpensive pots and create your herb or vege garden in these instead, this I have also done in the past, especially for herbs and the like.
I would recommend going for the ‘largest’ plot you think you can afford and maintain as this way you are, in my opinion, achieving a couple of things, 1. The large crop area to grow a greater range of produce and 2. The benefit of taking away ground that would otherwise need a certain level of maintaining anyhow. Alternatively a bunch of smaller pots will also work, it all really depends upon what space you have available or wish to allocate to your project.
When you have determined what size you want or can manage the next step in the process is to simply look for some suitable soil, in our case we created a composting system over time that eventually yields good wormy soil, this compost we created from mostly household scraps and from the leaves off the trees as they fall. Our system has taken around 2 years however to yield a good quality soil but you can go quicker if you wish or alternatively you can purchase some very suitable composting soils from the garden centres in your area.
If you are going for the smaller ‘pot’ version crop project then I would suggest the use of a good potting mix to create the beds you need.
What to plant and when comes next? There are a plethora of on-line calendars to help with this and anyone can give you the best planting and harvesting times you can use. The most important question really though is ‘what is it YOU want to have in your garden?’
A great place to start is to think about all of those herbs you purchase in small packets from the supermarket, the parsley, thyme, basil etc, You can look to replace some or all of these plants in your own garden. It will be both rewarding for the children and it will be so much fresher than those we generally purchase.
The other big benefit is being able to get the family involved and gain a huge sense of satisfaction from growing your own plants.
My suggestion again is just to simply take a visit to the local plant shop and see what is available in the pre-propogated plant section, you will see a wonderful array, the trick is thinking about the size of the plot you have to plant versus getting too carried away with loads of plants that take up too much space and therefore overgrow to the extent that all the plants end up suffocating the rest of the plants.
Why not give it a go, get some pots or a box, there are plenty around, put some soil in and throw in some plants, water them regularly and reap the wonderful satisfying benefits of having your own herbs and vegetables from your own handiwork.
Here is a step by step process that will help you go from nothing to a reasonable set up.
- Decide first of all you want to set up your own garden.
- Find a suitable spot in the garden to build a plant box or to place your plant pots.
- Fill them with suitable compost or potting mix.
- Select some suitable plants from the local plant shop.
- Water regularly