Home Gardening Guide| Enhancing Food Security

Home gardening has gained significant popularity as the world population increases. Experts predict that the global population will exceed 9 billion by 2050. Consequently, increasing food production is no longer an option, especially in third-world countries where food scarcity and hunger are more acute. Organic home gardening is among the most effective ways to meet the increasing demand for quality food and avert food insecurity.

Several governments globally have encouraged citizens to establish home gardens to intensify and strengthen local food production. That way, local communities can enhance household food security and improve nutrition. Home gardens are vital in the agricultural landscapes and local food systems the world over. This home gardening guide shares practical tips to help you establish a home garden and enhance your household’s food security and boost nutrition. But first, let’s start with a home gardening definition.

What is Home Gardening?

Home gardening is the cultivation of vegetables, fruits, flowers, or ornamental plants for household or personal use. A homeowner or a tenant can start a home garden. Although you can start gardening as a hobby, you can get surplus produce from your garden and sell it to your neighbors. Overall, establishing a home garden is an excellent way to enhance dietary diversity for your family.

Home Gardening for Beginners

Growing vegetables in your backyard can be fun and rewarding. After all, you only need decent soil, plants, and the necessary resources to get started. However, you need practical tips for home gardening, especially when starting. Ideally, you need reliable home gardening ideas to keep your plants healthy and strong.

Developing a home gardening plan is crucial to help you determine the ideal location and size of your garden. Also, it can help you select the plants or vegetables to grow. Moreover, it will help you know the necessary home gardening supplies and tools to get before starting.

Home Gardening Plan for Beginners

Gardening at home can be rewarding if you take the time to plan it correctly. Here’s a quick home gardening plan to guide you.

Choose Your Garden Spot

Start by selecting your home garden’s area. An ideal place should have rich, loose, and well-drained soil. Please avoid low areas because water may collect there and keep soil wet longer. Most plants grow well in well-drained, rich soil. Additionally, ensure your gardening spot receives sufficient sunlight since most plants require at least six hours of sunlight per day. Also, ensure you have a water supply near the spot to enable you to irrigate your plants during extended dry periods.

Determine the Size of Your Garden

Determining the size of your garden is crucial. If you establish a small garden, you may not get sufficient produce for your household. On the other hand, an expansive garden may require a lot of effort to maintain. Therefore, consider these factors to choose an ideal garden size:

  • Why do you need a garden? – There are many benefits of home gardening. For instance, a home garden can provide an adequate supply of fresh vegetables for your household. Also, gardening can be an excellent way to exercise. So, determine your garden size depending on your goals.
  • Types of plants to grow- Some plants require more space than others. Therefore, your preferred home gardening vegetables will influence the size of your lot.
  • Size of your household: If your household has more family members, you may need a larger space to grow vegetables. Moreover, if you want to garden as a family activity, you can quickly take care of a large space.

Choose the Plants to Grow

This step confuses many people because they need help selecting the right plant for their garden. What to grow in a home garden is as vital as the location. Here are pointers to help you select the correct garden vegetables.

  • Grow different vegetables if you wish to add variety into your family’s diet.
  • Avoid planting watermelons if you have a small home garden because they occupy a larger area. Alternatively, go for other vine crops, such as cantaloupes and cucumbers.
  • If you have a smaller garden, focus on getting high production from every row. Small plants like radish, beet, and turnip yield quickly without requiring much space. On the contrary, bush beans, peppers, and tomatoes require more space while producing over an extended season.
  • Grow the vegetables your family likes.
  • Grow plants that cost more to buy, such as broccoli.

Locate Plants in Your Garden

Arrange vegetables in a manner that lets you utilize your garden space and light efficiently. For instance, you can grow tall plants like corn, okra, and tomatoes on one side to prevent them from shading short-length vegetables, such as bush beans. Also, plant fast-maturing and short vegetables between large ones. Where possible, grow vine crops near the fence.

Decide When to Plant Vegetables in Your Garden

You can divide vegetables in your garden based on their seasons. Cool season is for plants that tolerate low temperatures. Therefore, plant them in spring before soil gets warmer. Also, you can plant them in late summer so that they can yield after the initial fall frost. Warm-season plants are unable to bear frostiness. Hence, they will do bad when soil temperature drops. Therefore, plant them after the last spring frost and sufficiently early so that they can mature before the fall frost.

Keep a Garden Record

Keeping a garden record helps you in the next season. It helps you understand how vegetables grow and their production rate. A garden notebook enables you to identify your gardening successes and failures.

How to Start a Home Garden: A Step-by-Step Guide

Knowing where to start can be challenging for anybody new to gardening. However, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards if you follow these steps to start a home garden.

1.    Decide What to Plant

Do you want a vegetable, garden, a flower garden, or an herb garden? If you want to grow herbs and vegetables for your family, choose the plants your loved ones love eating. If you want to grow flowers for fragrance, color, or flair, decide whether to plant annuals for the summer bloom or perennials for short bloom time. You can also combine these varieties to establish a stunning garden.

2.    Select Your Garden Spot

Most plants, including vegetables and flowers, require 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Therefore, observe the location where you want to establish a garden to determine the most appropriate spot. If the area is mostly shady, plants like tomatoes won’t do well. However, you can grow outdoor ferns and hostas. Additionally, select a relatively flat area because dealing with a sloppy garden is more time-consuming, difficult, and potentially expensive. Also, ensure your home garden has an easy access to a reliable water source.

3.    Prep the Ground

Remove sod and weed from your garden spot. You can use a spade to slice under the sod or cut it into sections to make its removal easier. The level of preparation will largely depend on the current condition of the land and the crop you want to grow.

4.    Test and Work on the Soil

A local agricultural extension office can help you with the soil test. It’ll guide you through the procedure, including the amount of soil you send and the best time and place to collect it. You can get the findings in 2-3 weeks. The results will tell you about the minerals lacking in your soil and ways to fix the issue. Also, you can use a DIY soil test kit, though it will provide minimal details.

5.    Prepare the Planting Beds

Loosen the soil before planting or sowing to help roots grow and access nutrients and water. You can use a mechanical device, such as a rototiller to till the ground or dig by hand. A mechanical device is ideal when mixing more amendments. Nevertheless, you can easily overdo it and damage the soil structure. If you need small beds, digging is the most practical method.

Either way, ensure the soil is slightly moist because digging when it’s too dry is hard work and when it’s too wet will damage the structure. You can use a spading fork or a spade to turn the top inches gently and mix them with organic matter.

6.    Pick Your Garden Plants

Select plants that suit your climate, sunlight, and soil. The internet is a good source of information about the plants you can grow in your area. Here are easy-to-grow garden plants for beginners:

  • Vegetables: Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers.
  • Annuals: Cosmos, calendula, impatiens, geraniums, zinnias, sunflowers, marigolds.
  • Perennials: Daylilies, black-eyed susan, pansies, Russian sage, purple coneflowers, phlox, and pansies.

7.    Start Planting

Choose the plants to grow depending on the season. Some plants, including kale and pansies, tolerate cold. Therefore, you can plant them in late winter or autumn. Most annual flowers and tomatoes do well in warm temperatures. Hence, you should plant them once the frost danger has passed. Mid-autumn and mid spring are ideal for most perennials. Growing most annuals from seeds is relatively easy because you sow them directly in your home garden. Nevertheless, read the instructions on the package to determine the planting depth, spacing, and time.

8.    Water the Plants

Water the plants daily to prevent drying. Frequent watering is particularly vital for transplants until they establish roots. Rainfall, humidity, and soil will influence how often you water the plants. Sandy soil dries faster than clay soil. Hence, clay soil needs frequent watering. Also, soil dries more quickly in sunny and windy conditions than in cloudy, cool weather. Overall, water the soil whenever it feels dry. Also, soak the soil by watering deeply and slowly while avoiding a surface run off. Watering in the morning is ideal for minimizing evaporation.

9.    Mulch to Protect the Garden

Covering the soil with mulch keeps moisture in and weeds out of a home garden. By ensuring direct sunlight doesn’t hit the soil, you avoid watering more often while preventing weed seeds’ germination. However, avoid over-mulching over the seeds you plant because they might also not germinate. Also, choose beneficial mulch, such as river rock, straw, and shredded bark. Organic mulch like compost, cocoa bean shells, and bark will nourish your garden soil while decomposing. For a bed of annuals or a vegetable garden, select a mulch that will decompose within a few months. For perennials, you can use a long-lasting mulch like bark chips.

10. Maintain Your Home Garden Regularly

As the garden develops, keep up with gardening chores to help it attain its full potential. For instance, water the plants frequently to prevent wilting. Also, remove weeds and remove dead, diseased, and dying vegetation. Moreover, eliminate destructive insects by spraying with an appropriate insecticide. Additionally, support tall plants like tomatoes with stakes, trellis, or a tepee. Finally, harvest your vegetables when ready.

Benefits of Home Gardening

Home gardening has unsurprisingly inspired interest among homeowners. Green spaces and plants have numerous benefits which Garden Enterprise knows very well. We help homeowners establish home gardens where they can grow nutritious vegetables and plants. Moreover, we’re passionate about promoting healthy, beautiful, green spaces. Here are the benefits you’ll enjoy once you establish a home garden.

  • Connecting with nature: More people yearn to connect with nature after spending hours in offices. Home gardening is an excellent way to do this, whether it’s a raised bed in the backyard or a balcony flower box. Tending to your vegetables at home enables you to connect with the plant and loved ones, especially when gardening is a family activity.
  • Learning new skills: Home gardening is a fun activity that’s informative and rewarding. You can always learn something about sustainability via home gardening. For example, you can learn about the most effective irrigation methods for conserving water, growing herbs, and attracting pollinators.
  • Enhancing wellness: Home gardening is a hands-on activity that helps with stress relief. Research indicates that people living near to or accessing green spaces have fewer signs of anxiety or depression. Additionally, fresh vegetables, fruits, and flowers from a home garden, local grocery store, or local farmers markets can fuel the body while enhancing a healthy lifestyle.

Home gardening has numerous benefits for families and communities. Whether your garden is full of beautiful flowers, herbs, foods, or a mix of plants, a backyard garden is worth establishing. Please follow this guide on how to start a home garden.

Henry Mugambi

Henry Mugambi

Take a look at this guy. He's almost in his 40s, but he looks like he could be in his 20s. That's because he's a gardener—and a damn good one, too. He's been gardening since he was a little kid, and he loves nothing more than sharing his tips with others. He started blogging a few years ago, and his blog has since become a go-to source for gardening information. His audience trusts him because he knows his stuff, and he always offers sound advice that helps people get the most out of their gardens.

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