How to Grow Your Own Food: A Step-by-Step Guide
Got a big enough garden or by any chance a fruit tree farm? Great, you are fortunate enough to grow your own, healthy food. Growing food yourself is pretty enjoyable. It helps you spend some time in nature and saves a lot of bucks on daily fruit vegetable shopping.
Having your own place allows you to grow seasonal fruits and believe me when I say, there’s nothing better than eating flavor rich seasonal fruits. Now, if you think it’s quite challenging to start growing your own food, it’s not the case. In fact, with the right guide in hand, your first produce can be really wonderful.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you grow your own food:
1. Pick Your Garden Space
Fruit tree farms and urban tree farms are usually in soil-rich areas that get a lot of sunlight every day. However, if you are planning to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs in your backyard, you need to choose the right garden space.
Make sure it receives direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours everyday, has a nutrient rich soil and offers enough space. Before starting out, it is best to do a soil test. It gives you a good idea of the fertility and suitability of your space.
2. Plan Your Produce
Next, you need to plan what you will be growing and where. In order to do so, you can take help from the local experts. U.S. residents can look into USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to figure out which plants and trees will thrive in a specific area.
Also, it is better to pick seeds that are easy to grow, especially if it is your first gardening attempt. Going with seasonal fruits and vegetables never disappoints!
Some vegetables that make great produce include onions, garlic, potatoes, salad leaves, ladyfinger, peppers, chilies, and celery.
Some fruits that grow really well in home gardens and fruit tree farms are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, oranges, limes, pears, plums and tomatoes.
3. Prepare Your Soil
Before you go out seed shopping, it is important to prepare your soil. After testing out your soil, you will get a good estimate of how much fertilizer you need. However, if you are going with compost, adding a generous layer over the soil provides great results.
4. Buy Your Seeds
Once you have chosen your seeds and prepared your soil, it is time to go for seed shopping. When buying seeds, remember to buy fruity seeds and not flowery.
You can pick seeds from a local gardener or look into your state’s seed resource directory to get the best seed sources. This way, you can rest assured that you bought organic and non-GMO seeds.
5. Sow Your Seeds
In order to sow the seeds rightly, you need to follow a proper planting method. Some seeds just need to be sowed into the ground and watered every day. On the other hand, some seeds require initial sowing into seed trays, harden there for a few days and then transplanted into the soil.
Usually, seeds come with particular sowing directions. If not, you can ask a local guide. Make sure you follow the correct planting method.
If you are just beginning, you are good to get plug plants. These are partially grown plants and all you need to do is transplant them in the right spot in your space. Then, fulfill their water and sunlight requirements as you watch them turn into bigger plants and eventually, trees.
6. Stick to a Water Regime
No water means no photosynthesis and if plants are unable to produce their food, they won’t grow. So, watering is essential to seed growth.
While some plants need water every day, others go well without water for a day or two. You can simply know so by studying the properties of your seeds.
Also, it is crucial to establish and stick to a water regime. Formulate a weekly plan so that you know which plant to water once or twice a day. The schedule might require a change according to weather conditions.
A lot of people ask what time you should water your plants. Well, the best time to water your seeds and plants is early in the morning or in the afternoon when there is no direct sunlight. If you water your plants at noon, say around 12 p.m., the sun is going to suck all the water, leaving your little plants dehydrated.
7. Cover Your Plants, When Needed
Some plants are more prone to pests and more vulnerable to changing weather than others. So if you are growing plants that need to be protected from frost, pests and insects, it is best to arrange a cover beforehand.
A polyethylene sheet works best. It keeps pests and insects out while retaining the heat. You will learn as you go so do not worry!
8. Harvest on the Right Time
Now that your fruits are ripe, it is time for harvesting. Some crops like to live on the plant for a little more while before they are ready to be eaten while others taste great if they are harvested as soon as they ripe.
As it varies from fruit to fruit and vegetable to vegetable, picking a fruit and vegetable and tasting it is always a good idea. You know right away if the crop is ready for harvest or needs more time.
Verdict – Eat Healthy, Live Healthy!
Your own little fruit tree farm will make eating and living more fun and exciting. As you get better on growing your own food, you can add more variety to your space. Cooking vegetables picked just out of the soil are full of nutrients and rich in flavor. You will notice a great deal of difference between your garden fruits and vegetables and the ones that you buy from local vendors or grocery shops.
So what are you waiting for? Clear up your space, prepare your soil and go ahead with your first batch!