It’s exciting to be able to grow your own food! There’s nothing like the taste of a freshly picked tomato or cucumber; most people agree that freshly picked tastes nothing like what they buy in the supermarket. And imagine being able to walk out your door and gathering the ingredients for your next meal right out of your own garden! You control what is used on your vegetables so you know exactly what you are eating… and then there’s that taste. Nothing like it!
So when you first start out, there are a few things that you need to consider. You have to pick an appropriate site for your garden. You have to select seeds and decide what you want to grow (and, perhaps more importantly, what can grow in your area of the country, your climate, and your specific milieu). You’ll need to learn how to start those seeds growing, and how to transplant them once they’ve begun to grow from their pots into the garden. And then there’s the care of the garden: mulching, watering, and a whole lot more.
You’ll need a straight-edged spade for working around the edges of your garden, as you’ll have to lift sod in order to create a bed, or to work on your edges. Then you’ll also want a fork spade, good for loosening and aerating soil, and for working with compost, or for getting under plants if you need to get them out of the garden. The long-handled spade or shovel is what you’ll want for actually moving dirt around and for shoveling your finished compost. And then you’ll need a hoe for weeding and cultivating around your plants. A good option is the stirrup hoe; it actually gets under the soil an inch or two and wiggles its way around the garden with its nice long handle.
A small weeding tool that’s held in your hand is good for getting around plants in tight spaces, cultivating around them without hurting them. A small hand trowel is exactly what you’ll need for making small holes in the garden; you want to do this when you’re transplanting your seedlings.
Gardening isn’t a spectator sport: it can involve some heavy lifting and grubbing about, so save your hands and buy yourself a good sturdy pair of gardening gloves. And take care of yourself in other ways: use sunblock and wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off your face. The point of a garden is to get as much sunlight as possible, so you won’t be doing all this work in the shade!
Vegetable gardens aren’t just for rural farmers anymore! You can plant vegetables anywhere flowers or other plants might grow. Many people keep them in urban settings, either in their own yards or in community gardens and allotments. Some people even grow vegetables in pots, just as you might flowers, that are on decks and porches. As long as you care properly for your garden, you’re really only limited by your imagination. People have been growing their own food for about 10,000 years, and it wasn’t until recently in our history that we’ve come to rely on a specialized industrial system that provides our food to us, traveling 15,000 miles to get to our plates. So there’s a whole movement of people who want to grow their own food. Why not join them?