Growing your own is not only for survivalists, it’s for anyone that wants to save some money at the grocery store! There are also other benefits to growing your own food such as knowing what going into the soil, you get more food for your money, and you can feel good about yourself because you helped something grow. Even if you don’t know the first thing about growing your own food, we have a basic list below to help you get started.
Decide what to grow
The first step in this process is to decide what you want to grow. You may love to get lettuce from the grocery, but it may be worth considering trying to grow your own instead. Once you decide what vegetables you want to grow, you will need to find out a little more information online:
• Does the food prefer acidic or basic soil? Acidic soil is just that: soil that naturally has more acid in it, while basic soil does not have acid in it. Foods like tomatoes love a more naturally acidic soil and putting in soil that doesn’t have natural acids in it will likely invite a poor harvest, if any harvest at all! As a side note, most vegetables tend to grow better in acidic soil, so when it doubt, try more acidic soil.
• What sort of care does the food need? Some vegetable require vastly different things for caring for them. Some vegetables require more upkeep, water intake, and sunlight, than others while other vegetables are fairly hands-off. Consider how much work you want to put into growing a specific food and let that determine what foods you may to invest growing.
• How much space do you need? Some foods only need a small section of your yard to grow while others need an exorbitant amount to have a full harvest. Foods such as corn and watermelon have to have a lot of space to grow, while other foods such as lettuce and carrots only need a garden box, so look into how much yard space you ca devote to growing food.
Prepare your garden area
Now that you have all the information you need, the next step is to start making your garden. Create garden boxes, find the perfect spot in your yard, and plant the seeds or shoots you have for the veggies to start growing.
Plan for pests
Whenever you grow food, you need to recognize that you are not the only one who wants it. Small animals and bugs may also want to taste your food before you get to harvest. Be sure to do some research into what pests like the food you are growing and popular ways to keep pests away. Sometimes it’s as simple as a kind of spray while others may require wire netting, but keep in mind that keeping pests away will give you more food when it’s ready for picking. Fun fact: most pests hate the smell of marigold flowers, so consider planting them close to your garden!
Tend to your food
The next step in this process is to be patient and wait for your food to grow as you help it along the way. Every vegetable has a different harvesting period and different needs in helping it grow to its fullest, so be sure to look into that online to see when how you can help it grow and when you can start picking the food.
Clean the food thoroughly
Even if you didn’t use a spray for keeping things away, you will still want to properly clean your food before eating it. It’s usually as simple as washing it with warm water to get the dirt; you won’t need soap nice water is usually enough. However, you may want to look online and see if there are other necessities for cleaning your specific food.
Prepare the food
How you prepare the food can be wildly different from veggie to veggie. For example, lettuce just needs picked, cleaned, and then you can put it into a salad and eat it. However, some plants require much more preparation.
Research how to store extras
Normally, this is as easy as just putting leftovers in the refrigerator, but it’s also important to know how long you can keep it in there before it starts to go bad. It’s important to only grab what you need for meals so you can continue to grow food in your yard and so you don’t accidentally waste any if there are leftover you don’t get to in time. You can freeze foods, but some veggies may not heat up well after being frozen.
Continue to pick foods
Some veggies continue to grow for many weeks until late summer and fall, so continue to tend your plants and to ensure they keep providing you food. If you decided to try and grow some berry bushes, its easy enough to pluck off berries until the season is over.
Research if they will come back
There will come a time when you can’t pick that food anymore because its season will be over and winter will be coming through. Perennial vegetables will grow back the next season and then you can start the process over again. If you want to move the plant, however, be sure to transplant it properly by digging it up, leaving extra soil around it, and moving it to another location that will allow it to have a good or even better harvest than the year before.
The Work is Worth it
Even though growing food can be a challenge, you won’t find many people that do mind the work they put into it. They get a sense of accomplishment from growing their own food, save money in the long run at the grocery, and provides experience of growing food that you may need if you branch out and try to grow some different foods.
If it doesn’t really work the first time, that okay! Being able to grow food like an expert takes time, but once you master the art, you will be proud that you took the first step.