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A produce garden is the kind of garden everyone really wants. Not only does it look good, and you want to spend time in it, but it’s also a place where you can grow your own food. And that helps with the budget, and makes your home and lifestyle a lot more sustainable on top. But putting a produce garden together can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.
So, if you want your garden to work for you, we’re here to tell you that you’ve got to set it up right! You need it to produce as the seasons go on, entirely naturally, and that means you’ve got some real legwork to do right now. But don’t worry – you won’t have to take this task on alone. We’ve got all the tips you need for this right here, so make sure you keep them in mind when the time comes to take on the garden!
Start Small and Work Up
You can’t take on the whole garden just yet. You’ve got a lot of prep work to do, and if you try to conquer the entire backyard, you’ll just get overwhelmed. Plus you don’t even know where is good to plant yet! So start small and work upwards when you feel ready to. Find a small patch of ground and assess it for suitability, whether you want to use the ground itself to grow your plants or you’re a fan of using raised beds.
Once you’ve carved out a small space, it’s time to check your soil type. If you know what soil you’re working with, you’ll be able to pick the right plants much better, which will see you making a return on all this effort much faster! Of course, you can use soil you’ve bought elsewhere, especially if you’re planting in a bed, but it’s always good to know what ground you’re trying to break into.
Build Your Own Beds
Building raised plants beds has a lot of benefits for a produce garden. For one they’re good at taking care of the soil; a raised bed is much better at retaining water, meaning plants can survive in dry seasons for longer, and they’re also great at keeping the temperature in the soil constant as well. Both of these factors are incredibly important for keeping your garden turning over all year long.
And building your own beds doesn’t have to be difficult. A bit of wood, a saw to cut them with, and plenty of nails to hammer it all together and you’ve got exactly the frame you need! You can get a jump start on sourcing the materials and tools you need by reading this article, but even if you’ve got some old wood lying around, you could turn it into the frame you need for your produce garden.
Or if you don’t want to build raised beds at all, you can still use materials like Railway Sleepers to help separate out your garden. Thanks to their weight, they settle into the soil quite well and act as a handy barrier to stop roots from getting through too easily and taking up space from other plants. This is especially useful if you’re growing typically invasive plants, or you’ve had quite a few weed problems in recent times.
Come up with a Layout
If you’re going to have a working garden by the end of all this work, you’re going to need a proper layout to work with. Whether you’re coming up with one by yourself, or you want to use a pre-prepared template, a layout is essential for bringing an element of cohesiveness to your garden space. It’ll also make actually gardening out there a lot easier, as you won’t have to go back and forth to take care of everything!
One of the best layouts for a produce garden is rows, with plant beds in order and separately spaced. If you lay out the beds from north to south, you’ll ensure each bed gets enough sun throughout the day, and you can grow any plants in order of size. You can put the taller and/or creeping plants toward the north end, and then plant ground vegetables like lettuces and carrots towards the south end.
So think about your garden’s size, and what orientation it’s already in, and then work from there. Take your time with a few different layouts, and don’t be afraid to mix and match templates if you like more than one. Your garden needs to work specifically for you.
Only Grow What You’ll Use
Then comes the time to choose the right plants. Once you’ve gotten everything else out of the way, you have the chance to kick back and relax with a gardening magazine and pick out all the plants you’d absolutely love to grow out there. Once you’ve done that, try to cut back a little, and think about which of these plants you’re actually going to use. For example, if you don’t like cucumbers, just don’t grow them!
You’ve got the chance to build a proper produce garden here, and you don’t want to have to cut down on the number of plants you have by half in the second year. So moral of the story: don’t go too crazy here. You’ve just started out with your produce garden, and you don’t want to have too many plants to look after at once! Take your time, get some experience, and then think about adding more and more varieties to your plant beds.
A produce garden can be difficult to get started but mostly tends to look after itself once you get going. So make sure you layout the place properly, think about the kind of plants you’re going to grow and put some time and effort in to really get the results you want. You never know, this time next year, you could have an entire plate of homegrown food for every meal!