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Beginner’s Guide To Growing An Edible Garden

Imagine that you don’t have to spend a fortune on fresh produce because all the types of fruits and vegetables you’ll ever need can be picked straight from your garden. When you grow your own food, you’re spending more on quality produce and avoiding chemically treated crops. You’re spending less on food packaging and contributing to conscientious practices. Growing your own food has many benefits, and building an edible garden is much easier than you think!

In this guide, we’re giving you a step-by-step guide on building and growing an edible garden, as well as the kinds of crops to grow:

Why Grow an Edible Garden?

woman holding herb salad background with herb garden

Good for the Environment: If you want to engage in earth-friendly practices at home, you can grow an edible garden. Growing different crops is environmentally friendly because plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. When growing your own food, you are not exposing plants to chemicals that may harm the soil, waterways, and animal habitats. With an edible garden, your carbon footprint is minimized. You’re not using fuel to travel to the supermarket nor use food packaging.

Save Money: Growing fruits and vegetables at home will save you hundreds of dollars every month on fresh produce. Fresh produce, especially organic fruits and vegetables, can be expensive at the local supermarket. You’re also spending money and burning fossil fuel by driving or commuting to the local grocer to shop. With an edible garden, you have access to free food! You can grow many types of fresh produce in the garden and never spend a dime at the supermarket for fruits and veggies.

Better Health: Gardening itself is a terrific workout. It’s not strenuous, so it’s suitable for people of all ages. Just as little as 5 minutes of digging or walking in the garden burns many calories. At the same time, relaxing outdoors gives you a healthy dose of vitamin D! Growing your own food ensures that you’re only eating clean, healthy, fresh vegetables and fruits. The fresher the food you eat, the healthier the body gets!

Beautiful Outdoor Space: What better way to turn a blank, unused outdoor space and help the environment at the same time than building a vegetable patch? At the same time, you provide shelter and food for pollinators like birds, bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Aesthetically, a green oasis bursting with life will enhance the look of your living space. It also adds a touch of coziness to your home.

Encourages Togetherness: Gardening can be enjoyable on its own, but the experience becomes better and more meaningful when you do it with friends and loved ones! Many of us are rediscovering the joys of gardening during the height of the pandemic because we’ve all been disconnected for so long. Gardening enables you to join hands with family, friends, and neighbors to grow and share food while enjoying the fresh air and vitamin D as a community!

Tips to Grow an Edible Garden

vegetables and herbs garden

Want to grow an edible garden but unsure how to get started? Here is a step-by-step guide on how:

Step 1: Plan the Garden Design

Start by choosing the site so you can develop the right design for it. The site doesn’t have to be big; even a tiny blank space will do. Think about the design that fits the site and what kinds of plants to grow. The site must receive 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight with some shade in the afternoon. West-facing sites receive intense afternoon light, while south-facing areas receive strong morning light. East-facing sites receive weak morning light.

As for the design, you can grow fruits and vegetables in-ground or use a structure to maximize the space or organize the crops – like a raised bed or elevated raised bed. If you’ve decided to use such structures, you can create one on your own using non-treated wood or buy online.

Step 2: Prep the Site for Gardening

After deciding on the site and building a garden design, you can start preparing the site for gardening. Start by eliminating weeds in the outdoor space and removing sod with a sod cutter. Till the soil and amend it with organic compost or peat-free, natural fertilizer. If you need to add hardscaping elements, you can add some of these and finish the setup once you’re done planting the crops.

If you are using a raised bed or elevated raised bed, we suggest using a rich potting mix and adding compost several times every year to bring nutrients back into the soil.

Step 3: Plant the Crops

Pick the plants that you want to grow in your edible garden. The best plants to grow will depend on the USDA hardiness zone of your local area, the amount of rainfall in your region as well as the intensity of the summer season. Many crops thrive best in the spring and summer, while some herbs can tolerate drought and neglect.

We highly suggest checking with a professional or doing lots of research to determine the crops that grow natively in your region. By growing endemic plants, maintenance becomes much easier. In addition, native plants will survive the local climate much better than exotics and non-native crops.

Step 4: Add Mulch

Harsh weather conditions can harm fruits and vegetables – especially plants that haven’t been established yet. Adding a layer of mulch helps insulate the soil, prevent water evaporation, and minimize weed growth.

Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch on your garden bed, making sure to maintain at least 2 to 3 inches of space between the plant and the mulch, so you don’t end up suffocating your crops. You can also lay landscape fabric before adding the layer of mulch.

Best Herbs for your Edible Garden

oregano

If you’re new to gardening, we suggest starting your journey with herbs because these plants are fast-growing, low-maintenance, and space-efficient. Some of the best herbs to grow in an edible garden are:

Basil: Requires 6 to 8 hours of sunlight, well-draining soil, regular, deep watering, and pruning. As long as its growing requirements are met, basil will grow quickly and produce fragrant, flavorful leaves.

Oregano: This herb is perfect for growing in regular garden soil because rich soils tend to alter its flavor. Oregano requires at least 6 hours of sunlight every day and weekly watering. It’s one of the easiest herbs to grow.

Mint: This herb grows so quickly that if not pruned regularly, it can turn invasive. Mint requires 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day to thrive and doesn’t require frequent watering. In fact, mint thrives on neglect. Water only when the soil is an inch dry.

Rosemary: Holiday feasts aren’t complete without a dash of rosemary. This herb requires at least 6 hours of sunlight and well-draining soil. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch because this herb hates standing water.

Thyme: Thyme is a sun-loving herb that requires 8 hours of the full sun. It doesn’t do well in dense soils because it cannot stand wetness. Water only when needed because thyme is highly drought-tolerant.

Chives: This herb deters many kinds of garden pests, so it’s a great idea to grow some of it in strategic places in the garden. Chives love the full sun and rich, well-draining soils. This herb can tolerate light shade, but generally, it should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight.

Transform your outdoor space into an edible garden; it’s easier than you think! With these tips, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest of fresh, organically grown fruits and veggies. Of course, don’t forget to stock up on your gardening essentials.