About 6 or 7 years ago, I helped my parents put their garden in their back yard and when I am back in the spring time, I love to help them rebuild it each year. This year I have found a few really great classes for the home gardener so we all feel a little more confident about our little family garden!
We already had an established area for the garden that has been there for years, it's 12'x12' with a white picket fence and mesh wiring inside the fence to keep bunnies, and other little critters out. In the past we have tilled the garden each spring to prep the soil for planting, thinking it needed a great deal of aeration to prosper. Turns out not so much. Current recommendations say you should only 'disrupt' the top inch or so of soil so that all the microbes and natural systems within the soil don't get destroyed. On top of that you can put a layer of topsoil combined with compost to liven things up and provide great nutrients for your plants. We found this incredible organic 'bumper crop' soil that has kelp, compost, manure, lobster meal and loads of other incredible things in it - all organic of course.
Today, we raked the top layer of our existing soil (as gently as possible), removing rocks and any big weeds that started growing. On top of that we evenly distributed our fresh compost soil, then measured rows for planting and organized what seeds would go where. Because of how the sun hits the garden, we built small plants on the outer edge and large plants towards the back (lettuce to tomatoes).
Some things to think about when starting your own garden: get your pH tested to make sure the soil is not to neutral or acidic, when planting, choose vegetables that are high in both nitrogen or carbon to keep the soil balanced and read directions on the packages for those little seeds to make sure you know the depth and spacing for planting. Also, just a tip, some plants (like tomatoes) are often more successful when started indoors and then planted as budding plants - just helpful for the novice gardeners like me!
Lastly, after planting make sure to water the garden! Very important step. Then watch those seeds grow.
We talk about eating local and lessening our carbon foot print - starting your own little garden, no matter how big or small is such a great contribution to start making a difference! Send me photos of your own gardens and I will share on here to show people how it's done!