How to Start an Urban Garden Outside Your Home

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How To Start An Urban Garden Outside Your Home

Considerations to Make Before Starting Your Garden Outside

Having a garden outside of your home offers you and your family a lot of benefits. Gardening is a great hobby for all ages and has been scientifically proven to reduce stress. If you have young children this can be a good learning experience for everyone, and who doesn’t love homegrown produce?

If you are looking to start growing your own vegetables or want a beautiful flower garden in your backyard, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before getting started.

Location, Location, Location

Just like the housing market, location is one of the most important factors you need to consider when you are planning your home’s outdoor garden. Most vegetables, fruits, and other plants need a considerable amount of sunlight to survive, but before choosing your location you need to choose your plants.

Make a list of all of the things you want to plant in your garden, then do some research into how much sunlight versus shade each plant needs. Once you have this list, you’ll have a better understanding of how much sunlight your entire garden needs.

Certain plants need different amounts of sunlight, so it is best to choose plants that need a similar amount. If you have to have something, but it needs more shade than the other plants in your garden, you can try to find a place that also has a shaded portion for most of the day and put that plant in that section of the garden.

In addition to proper sunlight, you want the location of your garden to be convenient. It’s best to put your garden in a spot that you will pass often, or can easily see out of a window. This way, if anything needs tending to, like wilting leaves or a pest issue, you will notice it easily. You should also consider how much wind the area is going to get. Especially with more delicate plants, you want a location that is relatively protected from the wind so that your plants do not get damaged.

Lastly, you want the location to have healthy soil. This can be the most confusing, and least obvious factor to check before you start your garden because it is difficult to see whether the soil is fertile or not. You can test the soil yourself, or by measuring the pH of a sample. Testing soil yourself can be pretty easy, especially if you look for worms. If there are 10 or more worms in a sample of your soil, it is an easy indicator that you have fertile soil with a thriving ecosystem.

Which Plants?

How To Water Garden Plants

Although it might seem obvious, choosing the right plants for your garden is an important beginning step. You want to pick plants that are going to survive well in the climate you live in. For example, if you live in a tropical or subtropical climate, you want plants that are going to thrive in humid, warm weather. If you live somewhere that receives a lot of rainfall, make sure to take this into consideration.

If you have a lot of rain, you need plants that aren’t going to get overwatered easily. If you live in an area where it doesn’t rain often, choose plants that can survive in a dryer climate, or make sure you have a way to water your plants enough. Planting a garden in a colder environment, like the northeast, means you need plants that will withstand frost and cold temperatures, or be willing to accept they’re going to die when the cold arrives.

You also want to plan for how big the plants are going to get. If you want to plant a lot of different things in a smaller space, you can’t have one plant that is going to grow to fill the entire space. When you are mapping out your garden and choosing your plants make sure you research how large each one is going to get so you do not run out of space when everything starts growing.

Water Source

Even if you live in a climate that sees a lot of rain, you want to make sure you are going to be able to water your plants easily. If you’re planning a larger garden, filling a watering can at your kitchen sink and hauling it outside several times is going to be extremely time-consuming. Even for a smaller garden, a watering can may take forever. If you don’t already have a hose hooked up to the outside of your house this can make a huge difference.

For larger outdoor garden projects you might want to look into installing some kind of irrigation system.  Depending on how much water your plants need, you have about 3 main kinds of irrigation systems to choose from. Some irrigation systems slowly drip water into the soil keeping your plants in moisture most of the time. Others come on here and there to fully soak the plants, like sprinklers or mist sprayers.

Installing a water system can be confusing, especially if you are a gardener, not a plumber. Hiring a professional can be a good idea if you have never worked with an irrigation system before.

Pest Prevention

When you are building an outdoor garden, another important thing to consider is what kind of pests are going to be attracted to your garden. As with most things about your garden, the area you live in is ultimately going to determine what kind of pests may be after your vegetables and flowers.

An easy way to keep larger animals like deer and rabbits from eating your harvest before you do is to build a fence around your garden. You want it to be tall enough so that no one can jump over it, and also secure enough that bunnies and other small animals cannot slip in through the cracks.

Bugs, unfortunately, are a whole other beast. You can’t exactly keep bugs out with a fence, and a greenhouse is probably way more than you signed up for when you decided to start a garden. Aside from spraying pesticides, which can be bad for your health and the environment, there are a few things you can do to keep insects from making a meal out of your garden.

Firstly, make sure your plants aren’t too snugly packed next to each other. Air circulation and room enough for a breeze will make bugs less attracted to your garden. Insects enjoy an environment that is sheltered from predators and the heat, so a jungle-like garden is exactly what they’re looking for.

With this in mind, you can also bring the predators to them, as long as the predators have something to eat besides your plants. Hanging a bird feeder in your garden can be a great way to keep the number of insects low, and it will give you something to watch from your window.

While watering your plants in the morning may not work well with your schedule, it can definitely help you keep bugs out. When you water at night or even in the afternoon, your plants are likely to stay damp throughout the night, creating the perfect environment for slugs, snails, earwigs, and more. You can also give your garden a good watering a few times a week instead of every day, to reduce the amount of time the leaves spend wet, and it will probably be easier on your schedule

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