Creating a home garden offers endless possibilities for anyone with a little imagination and the time. Our green movement has made it possible for virtually anyone to grow a productive home garden of their very own. The following are some ideas for how to get started. There are literally hundreds of ideas and options available for creating a home garden from scratch.
The first session of our four-part home garden planning process involved in choosing a location. A couple of considerations were made regarding the site and surrounding area: proximity to water, soil type, and wind exposure. A soil analysis by an independent laboratory was completed, and a soil sample was taken for testing. The next technical tip was to choose a specific plant variety for trial planting, as not all varieties will work for all seasons in each zone of the country.
Next on the list was planting layout and planning. Planting position and depth must be carefully considered based on available space, sun exposure, drainage, soil compaction, and planting requirements according to the type of crop to be grown. A technical paper was written to explain these steps further, as well as to provide examples of several plant designs and the installation procedures for each. A final technical session discussed irrigation considerations, and planting plans were drawn up and thoroughly discussed with the planting professional.
Plants were planted according to a plan developed following the planting analysis, with care taking for local conditions including sunlight, moisture, soil compaction, and wind. A gardening calendar was developed with each gardening period illustrated for both a general planting calendar and a seasonal planting calendar. A detailed planting plan was drawn up based on the planting characteristics of each plant variety, planting location, planting space, and future planting needs. A soil testing was performed to determine pH and nutrient levels. An organic soil balance was performed using specific techniques and soil test results were documented. A soil thermometer was used to determine the moisture condition across the entire garden at different times of the year.
The next step in the plan was to decide on what products to use for mulch, the weed barrier, and the irrigation and aeration systems to maintain a healthy garden throughout the year. The technical paper was titled “Plants for Home Gardening” and was written by a certified botanist. This detailed paper covered every aspect of planting a home garden, from planting position, depth of field, and plant selection to mulching and weed barrier. A very complete set of design drawings showing all aspects of the garden’s layout was drawn, and then a field plan was drawn to scale.
The final step was to develop a gardening plan. There are several books that have been written to provide a step-by-step plan for every phase of home garden maintenance. Some of these books are more applicable for landscaping than gardening, but all should provide adequate information for a successful garden. For example, there is an eight-page set of design drawings for a fence that is easily understood and detailed. Other books give detailed descriptions of irrigation systems, soil testing, mulching and weed barrier systems. Each one of these books has great illustrations and clear writing style makes it easy to understand and implement the concepts.