Grow Your Own Groceries | A Beginner’s Guide
You can save a lot of money by growing your own groceries in your outdoor living space. Anything from a large garden to a small patio space is enough area to grow something that you would normally purchase at the store. Check out this guide for how to start growing your own groceries just steps from your back door.
Step #1: Find a Space
As any indoor or outdoor garden, you want to make sure you choose the right placement for your harvest. Gardens can be small or large and your first step to growing your own groceries is determining what kind of outdoor space that you have available to you. If you only have a balcony or patio to work with consider starting with a few potted plants to see how they do. Larger backyards can hold larger gardens but be careful not to overdo it. It can be very easy to get excited at the beginning but then get overwhelmed with the amount of work a large garden will require. Consider the sunlight exposure of your garden space as well to make sure that your plants will get enough sunlight to grow well.
Step #2: Choose Your Plants
Looking through a seed catalog can get overwhelming very quickly. There are hundreds of different plant varieties available online or even in the garden store. Before you pick out any seeds to plant, consider looking at what groceries you normally purchase. If you are always picking up strawberries or lettuce these are items that you will want to grow in your garden.
Make sure to think about what amount of area is needed to produce the fruits and vegetables that you normally consume. Apples and watermelons probably won’t be on your first list of crops to grow due to the amount of space and time they require to produce fruit. Bananas also won’t be something that you grow in the garden as they are a tropical fruit. Good beginner options would be lettuce, cucumbers, squash, berries, onions, potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.
Some gardeners like to use seeds for all of their varieties but most will get a mix of seeds and starter plants. Items like lettuce, cucumbers, and squash are all easily started from seed. Potatoes, onions, and strawberries require starts that you plant directly in the ground. Peppers and tomatoes take a longer amount of time to mature so usually purchasing small plants from a garden center is a good idea for those varieties.
Step #3: Make a Plan
Once you know what kind of groceries you want to grow in your garden make sure to know how much space you will need for each variety. Sketch out a quick picture of your garden plan and check the back of the seed packets to plan out where each plant will go. Many plants require at least 1-2 feet for the mature plant as well as spacing in between each plant. Make sure to have enough space ready for the amount of plants that you purchased.
Step #4: Plant
Planting the seeds and varieties that you have chosen is the next step in producing food in your outdoor living space. Use quality soil or potting soil for potted plants and make sure to give plants plenty of water right after planting. Keep the garden area free from weeds and check up on your plants regularly to make sure that they aren’t getting eaten by insects or other pests.
Step #5: Harvest
Pulling something that you have grown out of your very own garden is easily the best part of the process. Make sure to consult the seed packets for how long it takes a plant to mature. Harvest vegetables and give them a thorough wash before serving them on the table. Some plant varieties can mature quickly so make sure to check the plants often in order to harvest at the peak of freshness.
Growing your own groceries in a garden is a great way to save money while also knowing where your food is coming from. Follow these steps in order to produce quality groceries that have grown just steps from your back door!
Peter Goldberg is a gardening and landscaping writer, and outdoor extraordinaire. He likes to fire up the grill and cook barbeque for family and friends, as well as using his organically grown garden produce to create mouth watering meals.