If you are looking for a sustainable way to obtain fruits and vegetables year-round, growing an edible garden in your backyard may be the solution for you. Whether you have a large stretch of yard to devote to the process or you have a small strip available on your patio, growing an edible garden is attainable in all areas. All you will need is to gather the right supplies and begin planting the fruits and vegetables you prefer.
To ensure you find success in this endeavor, it is important to first understand the care needed to maintain an edible garden. You can adjust the selection you choose to grow based upon time constraints within your personal schedule. You can also integrate your garden into a larger home improvement project. Once your garden starts to steadily grow, you and your family and friends will be able to enjoy the benefits for many years to come.
Deciding What to Grow in Your Garden
The first step to learning how to grow an edible garden in your backyard is to decide what you want to spend time growing.
Regardless of the type of fruit or vegetable you choose to grow, you will need to consider how much sunlight and water each varietal needs, as well as the type of soil needed to sustain each plant. You may also need to modify your patio or backyard to ensure that it can handle a garden.
If your backyard receives limited sunlight throughout the day, you will need to select a plant for your garden that does not need extensive sunlight to grow properly. The label for each type of fruit or vegetable you choose will indicate how much sun and water is needed.
If you do not have much experience with gardening, there are several hearty options you can try first to ensure you get results for your efforts. For example, growing greens in your backyard garden is easy, regardless of the kind you choose to grow. You can grow arugula, kale and other greens within the same row of your garden space in your backyard. Purple or green cabbage looks beautiful in a fall or winter planting and can add color to your garden in addition to providing food.
Planting blueberry bushes can also give you a beautiful shrub while offering you delicious berries each season. Additionally, if you do not have a large backyard, you can still grow lettuce and greens easily in a planter or window box. Lettuce and other greens will grow back on their own and will not require replanting after you have taken leaves off to eat with your meals.
Other edible plants you can grow in your garden with relatively low maintenance include:
- Herbs such as thyme, basil, sage and rosemary. Many herbs are considered perennials, and they will also grow back on their own without the requirement of replanting. You can designate an area specifically for herbs within your garden or you can easily grow them side-by-side with other edibles.
- Tomatoes of all varieties — from cherry tomatoes to heirloom tomatoes — can be grown in either a backyard garden or a planter box. You may need to purchase cages or wiring for the vines to grow around, as they can become unruly if left unattended. Some varieties of tomato can have vines reaching close to eight feet, so you will need to choose carefully depending upon the size of space you can devote to your garden.
- Beans are one of the easiest foods you can grow regardless of whether you choose to plant them directly into the ground or into a planting container. Varieties such as Seychelles and Mascotte are good options for beginners who are still learning the art of starting a garden.
- Peppers can be grown in planting containers or gardening beds and are easy to maintain throughout their growing season. You will need to be diligent about watering your peppers, as they require a consistent watering while in the process of growing.
- Berries can be grown when planted directly into the ground or in pots and containers. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries can be grown in your edible backyard garden. Choosing to grow berries yourself will help you to save money on the cost of your food bill each month as they tend to be expensive in stores.
Maintaining Your Edible Garden
The most important aspect of growing an edible garden in your backyard is learning how to maintain your garden properly throughout the year. Depending on the climate you live in, you may need to cover plants or bring them inside to avoid damage during the colder months.
Additionally, some varietals of fruit and vegetables will need to be replanted in the springtime, so you will need to bear this in mind when creating a gardening schedule for yourself. If you do not have time to replant consistently, you may want to select varies of edibles that do not require replanting once they have been harvested.
Typically, fruits and vegetables need extensive amounts of time in the sun, barring a few exceptions. Lettuce and greens can thrive in the shade, but other options will need at least six or more hours of sunlight per day. To ensure you are maintaining this consistent sunlight for your fruits and vegetables, you will need to spend time observing the way the sunlight moves across your backyard or balcony. Placing your garden in the sunniest area of your yard will help you to maintain your edible garden for years to come. You may also find it useful to place your garden or planter boxes within close range of a water source, as you will need to consistently water your plants each day to maintain them properly.
Benefits of Having an Edible Garden in Your Backyard
The primary benefit of having an edible garden in your backyard is the amount of money you will save per grocery bill. Many of the herbs and vegetables you can grow on your own can become costly if you are buying them at the grocery store each time you make a visit. The cost of seeds and supplies to begin a garden is considerably less than what you would spend to purchase these edibles every time you go food shopping.