One of the most precious jewels in life is to enjoy the food you’ve grown with your own hands. Growing food is an ancient practice that anyone can do. You don’t need much to get started — the most important thing is a good plan, and the dedication to keep your garden cared for. Before you begin, here are a few starter points to get you started on the path to success! 

  1. Choose your seeds 

This is one of the most important moments of your garden development. You want to choose what exactly you will put in your garden. It is important that first, you enjoy eating what you plant as you will be nourishing the garden, and of course, you want the garden to nourish you back. 

You also need to be realistic about what can grow in the environment you are in. Someone living in a tropical climate will have a different reality than someone living in a temperate climate.

Temperate climate option examples:

In tropical climates, as most food may grow, here is a list of what does not grow:

Of course, you can be mindful of rainy seasons and winters when choosing to do your garden.

Anything that you find already growing within your local ecosystem is likely to grow easily in your garden. Simply harvest the seeds and replant them! If, on the other hand, you choose to order seeds online, you may want to check your plant hardiness zone to make sure that the local temperatures will support your crops. 

  1. Choosing where to grow your garden. 

The location of the garden is very important. First, you want to ensure that it is a location you can access easily. For example, you’ll probably want herbs to be growing nearby your kitchen. That way when you’re cooking, you can just go outside your house to harvest them without walking too far. You’re more likely to use what is merely an arm’s length away instead of what is far.

From another perspective, you want your garden space to be strategically chosen regarding sun patterns. Most fruit and vegetables like direct sunlight for at least 5 hours a day while others can withstand partial shade. Most seed packets will have information about the light requirements of the seeds. Observe, observe, observe! Make sure to understand the conditions where you are planting before building your garden beds. 

Also, be sure that there is proper access to water. Will your garden be watered by rain, or do you need to water it with a hose? The easier it is for you to look after your garden, the more joy you will create for yourself in the process. 

  1. Make garden beds

This is where you can get creative. We often imagine garden beds inside square pieces of earth. As indigenous methods re-emerge in the world, you can find a variety of ways to make your garden beds from spirals to mandalas to any shape that inspires you. Of course, be mindful of what is also going to keep the bed accessible and easy to maintain.

Playing with the elevation of the bed can support aesthetics and accessibility. It will also drain water more quickly. Understand the soil requirements of your plants, such as drainage, as some plants prefer more wet or dry conditions. 

When making your bed, ensure that your soil is healthy, if you don’t know, never be afraid to mix your soil with a bit of quality compost. Dark brown soil is often a sign that it is rich in nutrients, while anything lighter may need some amendments.

  1. Plant

Yes, we’ve arrived at the exciting part of the process. You can now plant your seeds or transplant them. During this process, being aware of your season is very important. If you are experiencing heavy rains, the rainy nights wash off the seeds before they can root themselves in the ground. You could wait for a better moment to plant or start a small nursery (a safe space for seeds to grow at an early stage) before planting your garden. 

Ensure that you leave sufficient space between each seed to give your vegetable/fruit the space to grow. Most seed packets will come with instructions or the seller of your transplant can guide you. 

You generally want to plant 3 times as deep as the diameter of your seed while for transplant you want the same size hole as the pot it came from. What’s important is to give it a try and learn from your experience. Young plants are more fragile than older plants so take extra care of them. 

Depending on your garden size, you might be able to pull it off with very few tools needed, but of course, being prepared is always helpful. This can include: 

  1. Nurture the garden and yourself

Once you have planted the seeds, you need to nurture them, as everything in life. You can create a peaceful habit in the early mornings or sunset times to water your garden and remove weeds. Once your garden gives you yields, be grateful! Allow your garden to nourish you back. 

Nothing tastes better than a fruit or vegetable you’ve grown yourself. Enjoy every moment, share with your loved ones and keep working with your garden. 

As in life, I like to follow what works. Sometimes, some of your attempts will fail for various reasons: it could be the soil, a lack of care, too much sun, pests or an unknown cause. It’s okay, keep working with what works and try new seeds, new techniques or new locations. Ensure that you enjoy your gardening time as if it is only for the yield you garden! Otherwise, you might miss out on much more than just consuming. You and your garden are a symbiosis of nourishing each other. Enjoy!

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