A Beginners Introduction To Growing Your Own Fruit & Vegetables
In a day of high turnover consumerism, and companies bending over backwards to provide what consumers want, there is a huge disconnect between the food we consume and where it has come from. This is a bad thing when it comes to fruit and vegetables for many different reasons. In terms of the environment, there are lots of negative impacts to buying fruit and vegetables from the shop. The plastic they are often wrapped in is used to prevent them ripening too quickly, but of course, plastic ends up in landfill and can seep into the oceans and rivers, like in this shocking video of a diver swimming through a sea of plastic in Bali. There are also lots of air miles and transport pollution involved in getting certain fruits and vegetables into the country. Then there are pesticides and other chemicals used to treat non-organic produce. The list goes on.
While we will likely always have to buy some items from the supermarket, even going completely off-grid, we can all go some way to growing our own at home for delicious, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables that cost nothing but beginner seeds and a bit of hard work. There have also been developments in the world of horticulture recently that can make the process even easier, for example, you can now grow plants without soil by simply adding the nutrients it offers, to water. Take a look at the Hydro Blossom website for more information. There’s something so magical about growing your own fruits and vegetables, picking them and then consuming them. Picking fruit for a fruit salad than eating it within the hour you have picked it, is a wonderful, and mouth-watering experience you will want to repeat.
If you’re planning on growing some produce yourself, it will be deeply rewarding, but you will need to prepare. Take a look at this easy beginners guide to growing your own, for an easy start to your ‘grow your own’ journey:
Gardening safety should always be your top priority and gardening can be very dangerous, although it might not seem that way! Gardening has contributed to occupational deaths in several countries, and the risks involved in gardening as a job can easily translate to domestic gardening.
Whenever you’re in the garden, you will want to ensure you are as protected as possible. So sturdy, thick footwear, material covering as much skin as possible, and gardening gloves are all important. You might also need goggles and more extensive protective gear depending on what you are doing. A sun hat and sun lotion are essential in warm climates, and avoiding the sun at its hottest is a good idea. It is also important to remember when you are dealing with manure, straw, compost or any other dusty product or anything that could omit debris, to wear a facemask. If you’re planning on growing in pots on a deck, make sure that deck is safe and sturdy. Mold can make the hardiest of woods falter over time, and you don’t want to risk breaking your ankle or worse because the family deck finally succumbs to its age. Consider replacing it if needs be, and don’t underestimate the durability of composite decking as an option when you do. Lastly, but certainly not least, take care to check there are no underground pipes or wires running in the ground you want to grow on. A shovel into an electric wire or water pipe could be disastrous.
Locating & Placing Your Vegetable Garden
Where your vegetable garden goes on your land will have a lot to do with how successful you are in your growing. A lot of people think about the way the garden will look ahead to how successful it could be in different parts of the garden. So try not to just pop it against a fence, and instead look at where your fruits and vegetables will thrive. The sunniest and open part of your garden will be the best for your growing site. Observe an area for a whole day to see how much sunlight it actually gets as the sun moves across the sky. It might also be a good idea to considering it’ll affect your lawn, if you have one, lawncare.net (https://www.lawncare.net/service-areas/south-carolina/) can give you some more information about this.
You should also try to ensure your garden is:
? Located away from trees
? Protected from the wind
? Close to your kitchen
? Close to your water supply
? Placed on ground that is level
If you want to get a little deeper into how your garden is positioned, you’ll need to think about climates and the direction that things grow. In a sub-tropical environment, there should be less direct sunlight for vegetables than in a more moderate climate where vegetables can be exposed to six hours or more of sunlight. When you decide what you are growing, you can research the best growing conditions for your plants. Alternatively, if you lack an outdoor space, you can always consider indoor growing alternatives. These are becoming increasingly popular, especially in urban environments where space is often a premium. You might want to consider something similar to the gavita led system if you are interested in setting up a hydroponic indoor vertical growing area.
You will, of course, need tools for your vegetable growing adventure. You should always try to buy the best you can afford, and if possible see what neighbors have got to sell or swap if you live in an area with lots of farms and smallholdings. You should also try to avoid buying everything at the same time, so you get an idea of things you need and don’t need. Having somewhere to store all the tools is also a good idea, for security and easy access. Unsure which tools you will need? Take a look at this basic list of tool ideas:
A Handheld Garden Fork
A garden fork is used to turn the soil and help you with digging in your garden.
A Garden Rake
A garden rake is used for soil preparation and for leveling out soil. You will also use it to drag manure and fertilizers over the soil.
A trowel is a small garden spade you hold in your hand, used for digging, planting and dealing with soil.
For fruit trees, you will need bush cutters which are stronger than regular pruning sheers and are able to go through tougher stalks.
Pruning shears are important for trimming your plants as they grow, and for harvesting fruits and vegetables eventually.
Garden gloves protect your hands from getting sore when you garden, and from nasty pricks and scratches from thorny or stinging plants.
A Wheelbarrow & Air Compressor
A wheelbarrow is essential to help you move rubble, manure, compost, plants, produce and other things easily. In a larger area of land, you may want a small trailer or even a pickup depending on how far you have to travel. In all instances, having an air compressor for tools with tires will be a godsend.
Your plants will need water and how you get that to them is down to your personal circumstances. In small gardens, a watering can will do, and you might need to use a watering can in areas with water restrictions. Alternatively, you will need a hose pipe and a spray connection to vary how the water comes out ~ You can find a good selection of water hose nozzels here. Water butts and water collectors are a good idea if you want to try and be as eco-friendly as possible.
Which Vegetables To Grow
Which fruit and vegetables you should grow comes down to a lot of factors. It depends on the climate of where you are, the land you have, the time you want to put in, and also what you want to grow. There is a range of extensive guides available online to show you what you can grow in different seasons, as well as growing in the different climates. Growing your own is an extremely rewarding experience. It is worth putting a lot of time into planning because it is a lot easier to adapt to different weather or pests than it is to move an entire vegetable bed. Once you’ve got all the information you need, it won’t be long before you’re picking the crops you have raised and enjoying the very real and delicious fruits of your labor.