It may seem like an elusive dream: a fresh, vibrant, green garden, rich with plump vegetables and fragrant herbs. Gardens get a bad reputation as being difficult to maintain. Many people think they don't have the know-how or the space to bother with starting one. The truth is that anyone can successfully grow a garden regardless of whether they live in a third-floor apartment or a spacious country house.
Why Grow a Garden?
A garden brings a lot of benefits, chief of which is fresh, healthy food. Growing your own food is the first step to becoming self-sustaining, as you can rely less on nearby stores for food. It's also cheaper than buying produce and allows control over where your vegetables come from and how they're grown. But gardening has mental and emotional benefits, too. Tending a garden, especially in sunlight, has been found to reduce stress, promote a healthier immune system, and help ward off depression.
Where Do I Start?
The most basic question to answer is that of which plants to grow. Plants like potatoes and carrots require deeper soil than basil or rosemary, so evaluate what you have room for. It's also important to consider which plants will best be suited to the particular region you live in. If the region is hot, make sure the plants will get some shade during the day. If the region is cool or temperate, try to keep them in the sun. Planting seeds is the cheaper option, but bulbs and sprouts can also be purchased, and these only require watering and occasional fertilizing to maintain.
As you become more comfortable with plants, you may want to expand your garden. This is a great opportunity to practice growing hearty vegetables like potatoes, beans, carrots, or lettuce. Bigger gardens may need raised bed or garden boxes to help keep out weeds and provide drainage for the plants. Raised beds come in many different sizes, so you can pick one that works best for the projected garden.
What if I Don't Have Space?
Many people have more gardening space than they think they do. The trick is to get creative with the arrangement of planters. Small plants, like basil and scallions, need little more than a flowerpot or a glass of water. Even larger plants like carrots can be grown indoors in a pot if your window has enough room. Alternatively, stacking methods can be used to create an artistic and practical indoor garden. The same method can be used outdoors. If land space is sparse, build vertical planters. Plants can be hung, stacked, displayed, and grown upside-down. The only limit is your creativity.
Additional Tips and Resources
Gardening is as varied as the people who practice it, and the best way to know what works for you is to experiment. If you’re brand-new to gardening, try starting off with a sprouting plant. Once you’ve become more comfortable, try growing your own from seeds. We’ve provided some resources on how to get started, so sit down, decide what plants you’d like to cultivate, and bring some sustainable green living into your world.