One of the best ways to practice green living is to have a garden! Even you don’t have a large yard or yard at all, there are many opportunities to get your hands into the dirt and grow edible things – even if it’s just herbs.
First you need a spot on your patio or in your yard that get at least 8 hours of sunlight a day. This will facilitate in larger vegetables and stronger plants. Plan on the orientation of your garden. Do you want your vegetables in pots, raised garden beds for example? If you are planting them in rows, it is ideal to arrange the rows to run North – South for best sun exposure and growth.
Next consider the soil condition. If you are planting in pots or in a raised garden bed you are completely controlling the soil elements and nutrients. If you are planting in the ground you will want to supplement the soil and enrich it to make sure the plants have the nutrients they need to grow and fruit. You will want the soil to be well-drained and rich in nutrients. I love adding steer manure to my garden and do it religiously at the beginning of each new growing season. Compost is amazing for your soil as well. I like to use organic matter in my garden. Your local nursery can guide you in the products they have. Also, be sure that you supplement your soil at least 2 weeks prior to planting. This ensures time for the soil to stew in all those wonderful nutrients and rest prior to going to work – feeding your plants.
There are many different elevations in Southern Utah. I have a garden in Leeds, UT and the gardening season starts a little later in the year. Whereas, in the greater St George area, the gardening season can start as early as January. To know when’s a good time to plant your veggies, visit your local nursery. They will have guides on planting time.
What to plant? Plant vegetables you like to eat! And try new things. Every year I experiment with a different vegetable or fruit. I like to get starters at the nursery if they interest me or I will look online on seed catalogues and play around with heirloom veggies and fruits. One year, we grew a mysterious melon that tasted fabulous!
Don’t forget to set up a watering system. You can set up a drip line that’s attached to your automatic sprinkler system or you have a system set up on a hose that you turn on and off. I like to have mine on an automatic drip system so even when I am out of town, my plants ware being watered. Your local nursery or hardware store will have the necessary supplies.
There’s so many more details I could get into but these are the basics to get your started thinking and planning your next garden. It’s best to start off small and then add to your garden so you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s addicting and you may find yourself adding a new pot or gardening bed to your yard. Get your kids involved also! Some of our best memories are out in the garden enjoying the fruits of our labor.