Growing your own plants is not only a cost-effective way of getting your groceries but also gives you the opportunity to serve as your own quality-control over the food you take. Nonetheless, maintaining a year-round garden is no easy task as it requires knowledge and skill. The following article will look at nine of the best tips for maintaining a garden that enables you to grow and harvest tasty crops all-year-long.
1. Have a Year-Round Plan
Vegetable gardens are not just meant for summer and spring as fall and winter could also provide you with fresh harvest when it is not readily available. This means that you should also have a winter garden.
Nonetheless, a lot of gardeners do not know how to grow during the colder months thus failing to take advantage of winter crops. A winter garden consists of two major elements: cold-resistant plants and protection against extreme weather. When preparing your garden for winter, plant most of these cold-tolerant vegetables, such as hardy greens, kale, carrots, and chard between June and October.
2. Grow Where You Can
You do not always need a backyard so as to have a garden. You can utilize community allotment gardens if you do not have space. The bonus is that you get the chance to exchange seeds and ideas with your neighbours. If you live in urban areas, you can utilize containers or hydroponic gardening kits you place on balconies, rooftops, patios, walkway borders, curbside meridians, and other spaces to grow your plants. Learn more about how to maximize your space here.
3. Start with Healthy Soil then Amend it Naturally
The key to a year-round garden that is productive is healthy soil. Start with the basics by finding out what kind of earth you have used simple DIY soil tests. You may also read your weeds to give you a better understanding of the soil type you are dealing with. In fact, composted weeds may actually help boost your soil’s fertility.
Knowing whether you have acidic, alkaline, sandy, or compacted soil will help you know what kinds of adjustments to make in order to ensure that your year-round garden flourishes. You can make for your garden’s deficiencies using natural amendments such as compost, eggshells, coffee grounds, and so on.
4. Grow Things That You Love
Gardening all-year-round is easier when you are growing foods that you love eating. As such, ensure you start with your favourite staples. A lot of gardeners start with basic veggies such as lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, and zucchini.
Additionally, ensure that you also grow staple foods that are non-perishable so they can sustain you through winter. These may include grains such as amaranth and quinoa, root veggies, potatoes, dried beans, and winter squash.
5. Experiment With Something New Every Season
One of the most rewarding aspects of gardening all-year-round is that it allows you to grow the best vegetables and fruits which you cannot get elsewhere. Produce found in grocery stores is usually not the most amazing as it has been bred for longevity, and not taste.
Personal gardening allows you to choose from numerous unique and tasty heirloom varieties that have been passed down for generations. Moreover, personal gardening gives you the chance to grow foods that are not typically cultivated in your area. For instance, you can choose to grow warm-weather plants in indoor containers or Mediterranean foods that are not typical to your climate zone.
6. Utilize Natural Pest Control
Aim to have a garden that can maintain itself using natural pest control. This can be made possible by utilizing wildlife-attracting flowers, plants, and herbs to bring natural balancing to your garden.
As such, you will need to avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This is because these chemicals tend to also eliminate insects that are beneficial in helping your garden thrive.
Additionally, you can forget about planting in tidy rows as popularly depicted in a lot of garden magazines. Instead, aim to interplant your crops in combinations that include plants which attract beneficial insects. For instance, wildflowers and companion herbs attract insects such as flower-flies, lacewings, and ladybugs that eat crop-damaging mites and vegetables. Gardening next to a water source such as a pond helps attract birds and frogs which eat slugs.
In time, your year-round garden will eventually become an ecosystem that can support various types of interconnected life, so much so that you will find that you will not have to intervene for pest-control to take place.
7. Attract Pollinators
Year-round gardening depends on the presence of pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and flower flies for you to get fruit. As such, be sure to include flowers that attract pollinators to your garden. Native herbs and wildflowers are some of the most powerful attractants and thus are good companions for your crops. In the same light, ensure that you make your garden comfortable for bees by providing a dish of fresh water as well as places of habitat such as hollow stems where the bees can rest.
8. Safeguarding against Weather Extremes
Extremes such as rain, wind, cold, heat, and drought are some of the most challenging aspects of year-round gardening. However, by creating your own microclimate, you will be able to reduce the stress that your crops face during these extremes. This can be achieved by constructing sun traps, raised beds, wind buffers, mulch, terraces, and other simple constructions that moderate weather conditions to help protect your plants.
9. Save Your Seeds
Saving seeds is one of the best things that one can do for their garden and the world in general. When saving seeds, ensure that you take from the most healthy and flavorful crops in the garden. Preserving the best of each season ensures that you will be able to grow crops that have adapted to your growing conditions and location.
Gardening is one of the most rewarding hobbies that one could assume. It not only makes your space beautiful but also ensures that you have fresh produce at all times. Year-round gardening, however, needs a significant amount of your dedication in addition to knowledge and skill for you to realize productive harvests consistently.