The summer growing season is in full swing, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to grow the garden of your dreams! Gardens are an inexpensive way to add beauty to your home, grow your own food and support your local ecosystem. With a few materials and a little elbow grease, your new garden will be up and running in no time!
There are a few things you’ll need to consider before building your garden. This includes deciding whether you’ll plant in the ground or build raised beds, how much area you have/will need, what type of soil you currently have, and what tools you have available. Keep reading to get started on your dream garden!
What you’ll need:
Garden tools (shovel, rake, etc.) – if you don’t have these on hand, many hardware stores offer tool rental services.
Compost or garden soil – make your own, purchase from a landscaping company or hardware store, or check with your county to see if they offer free compost. Be sure to calculate the soil volume you’ll need for your beds.
Mulch or straw – these materials keep soil moist for longer periods of time. This is crucial in the summer months when drought is a concern. Many landscaping and tree removal companies can provide mulch for free.
Raised bed kit, wood, concrete blocks, or bricks – you’ll need these materials if you’re building a raised garden bed for the perimeter of the bed.
Weed control – placing paper over weeds will help control and kill unwanted weeds. We suggest using a thicker paper that will decompose over time, leaving you with nutrient-dense soil to grow in. Have paper leftover from a flooring project? That’s perfect for helping control weeds!
Rosin paper, builder’s paper, X-Paper (or most of Trimaco’s paper products) can be used to control weeds.
Seeds/plant starts – available online or from your local grocery or hardware store, farmers market, a neighbor, etc.
How to Build Your Flower or Vegetable Garden:
Decide where you want to place your garden. Somewhere with about 5 hours of sunshine would be best if planning to grow vegetables and flowers, but shade gardens are just as beautiful and abundant! Observe your land for a few days to determine which area is best suited for your goals. Things to notice are sunshine/shade, moisture and soil quality (clay/sand/loam).
Build your beds. There are raised garden bed kits available, but an inexpensive alternative is building them yourself or planting straight into the ground. You can easily purchase wood or find it secondhand. We suggest building beds 24 inches deep to allow plant roots adequate room to grow.
Prepare the ground. If you’re interested in planting immediately, you can either do this by pulling up sod or lightly tilling to loosen the soil. You can also place paper over grass and apply compost to kill the grass and weeds. The paper will decompose over the course of a few months and will result in rich soil ready to plant in. We suggest using rosin/builder’s paper, X-Paper, or newspaper.
Add compost to enrich your soil, and straw or mulch to help keep it moist. You can add any organic matter to your soil to help encourage beneficial bacteria and insects to make a home in your beds.
Now for the fun part – planting! Decide whether you’ll start plants from seeds or from plant starts. There are pros and cons to using both – starting from seeds can offer a wider variety of plants to choose from and are typically less expensive, but starts are usually hardier and the beginning work is already done. Want your own at-home botanical garden?
Include a wide variety of texture and color. Bonus points for adding native plants that help support the local ecosystem!
Check a garden planting schedule to determine when the best time to plant specific plants is.
Research your plant hardiness zone and what plants will thrive in your location.
Include plants that deter bugs from the garden. This is a natural and inexpensive alternative to toxic pesticides.
For more How-To blog posts and other helpful information, please visit our blog post page.