April 29, 2021
Growing season is finally in full swing after an especially dark winter. 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 or 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, wood chips, or straw – these materials create a moisture barrier and 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. Paper mulch can also work in your garden, but is best used with another type of mulch.
- 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 a paper weed barrier at the bottom of your flower bed will help control and kill unwanted weeds. We suggest using a biodegradable weed barrier, such as paper. The material will decompose over time, leaving you with nutrient-dense soil to grow in. Have surface protection paper or brown paper leftover from a flooring project? That’s perfect for helping control weed growth and reduce weeding!
- 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 and how much space (sqft) is available. 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 for a flourishing garden area are sunshine/shade, moisture and soil quality (clay/sand/loam).
2. Build your beds
There are easy to build 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.
3. 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. We recommend laying down a weed barrier paper over grass clippings and applying compost to kill the grass and prevent weeds from growing. 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 paper, builder’s paper, X-Paper, or newspaper.
4. Fill with soil
If you are building a raised garden bed, you’ll need a couple bags of soil. Add compost to enrich your soil, and straw or mulching to help keep it moist. You can add any organic matter to your soil to help encourage beneficial bacteria, earthworms, and insects to make a home in your beds.
5. Build a garden!
- 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 or herbicides.
- Don’t forget to include flowers and herbs! Include plants that attract native bees and pollinators.
For more How-Tos and DIYs (like a DIY dust barrier), along with other helpful information like whether you can paint your house in the winter, please visit Trimaco’s blog post page.