Last year’s gardening experience was an exciting ride with so many learning curves! I’m pumped to get started with planning my 2024 garden, so let’s get into it!
There’s a lot that goes into building, prepping, growing, and maintaining a home garden. But don’t let that overwhelm you. Anyone can create a beautiful and thriving garden! All it takes is some time and financial investment to make it happen.
First off, you need to decide where you’re going to put this garden. You might already have a location in mind, so here’s some specifics to consider:
Location may be the golden child, but that with gardens that includes a plan for irrigation!
For smaller gardens, like single or a few boxes, your hose and your hands are plenty. But if you plan to really spread out, you might consider looking into creative irrigation methods. Amazon has some DIY irrigation kits that hook up to your host spout, so you can make sure your plants are watered with or without you. I tried one of the kits but our nearest hose spout would’ve required me to leave a hose running across our primary patio at all times and I didn’t love that. We also only have one spigot in our backyard and I wanted to still be able to use my hose like normal, so I opted to invest in having irrigation run to each box and is tied into our sprinkler system.
This required a much higher monetary investment–but I know myself too well to try and convince myself that I wouldn’t kill every single plant come the heat of mid-July. I have had many small gardens in the past, and every year without fail, I am consistent as heck until I’m 2+ months in and the heat is beating down. I’ll put one watering off and then another, until next thing I know every plant I tediously tended to for weeks is now cooked to a crisp. With how large of a garden I was planning on, I knew I needed to take the time consuming watering effort off my plate entirely. I’m so glad that I did! I’ll break down how our irrigation is set up later.
Just be prepared, your plants will need to be watered pretty much every single day.
Picking seeds is so much fun! There’s so many options and variations and man, you can get swept away in all of the pretty plants and flowers out there. Be careful not to over-indulge and end up with way more seeds than you can feasibly plant in the ground.
Also, be prepared that seed starting is a long, sometimes slow process. I find that (especially under light & a heat lamp) sprouts will come up shockingly fast! But from there, you’ll have to find patience in tending to them daily, “hardening” them, and potting them up before they’ll finally be ready to plant out.
So just buckle down and enjoy the process! There’s nothing that makes me happier in the cold months than running out to the garage in my PJ’s to check on my seedlings every morning. It’s a great way to start the day that is sure to leave you feeling fulfilled and grounded.
I would argue the planting out is the worst waiting game ever. Your seedlings are finally strong enough and mother nature is cooperative, so you take your babies and plant them in the ground one by one! It’s the best. But then what? Then… you wait. And you water. And you weed. And you wait.
The progress is so cool to see, but keep in mind during this phase, you are literally watching grass grow.
So just be patient (like Buena here…), you’ll be so glad you put all this effort in come the summer months!
I strongly, strongly, recommend you do a ton of research on weed suppression methods and pest control. Are you going to have an organic pest control approach or are you going straight for the pesticides? Do some research on the danger of pesticides to children, pets, beneficial bugs, and the quality of your soil before you make any quick conclusions. I personally opted for an organic approach, which was wayyy more work but I just knew it’s what I wanted. Also, we have a bee hive at our house (on-site pollinators, woohoo!!) and any use of pesticides would’ve put that entire hive at risk. We’ve been co-habitating in peace for years now, I wasn’t about to mess that up.
As for weeds, I would strongly recommend the usage of weed paper. Just bare in mind, if you get the professional, heavy-duty stuff, you HAVE to burn the holes for plants into them. You can’t cut it or it will unravel. And plan out your placements in the weed paper so you can reuse it every year. If you toss it every year, you’re sending that paper to sit in a landfill for a terrifying long time before it ever starts to break down.. we’re talking decades. So, just plan ahead a little bit and it will save you time and money and unnecessary waste.
Anywhere you don’t use weed paper, (and in some areas even when you do) there will be a lot of manual weeding in your future. So bear that in mind when making your weed suppression plans.
Are you going to contain your plants? And if so, in what? There’s a million directions you can take it–from as simple as an indoor window-sill planter to as complex as as hugelkultur (pronounced: hu-gul-culture). Look it up, it’s actually pretty cool and something Mason and I would like to try eventually.
I have tried it all, I love planters for accent flowers around the backyard, but for the primary growing–I personally prefer raised beds.
We built all of ours. In years past I built smaller 3’x3′ square boxes, then last year when we really went all-out, Mason built me my huge boxes. More on this in another post. But making the boxes is the best way to go if you have specific size needs, want an economical option, or if you want to create your own aesthetic.
And maybe it’s a mix of both! I love having plants all over the patio & fire pit as well as in our garden area.
That’s just about everything when it comes to knowing exactly what to be prepared for! If it felt like a lot, don’t be overwhelmed–just tackle one thing at a time, you’ll very quickly get a feel for it. And part of the fun is the learning process! What’s the worst that can happen? You kill a plant? Everyone I know can’t keep one alive to begin with so you’re already way ahead of the game if that happens!
As always, thanks for being here. Talk more soon!