At home gardens are becoming more and more popular. Why should you start an at home garden?
- Cost effective, fresh, healthy produce right in your backyard
- Great activity to get kids involved with
- Save money on herbs and spices
- Provides physical exercise
If you are thinking about starting one keep reading for some tips and tricks!
- Assess how much sunlight your outdoor space gets. Many plants can grow in partly shaded areas as long as they get up to 3 hours of sunlight per day.
- Salad Greens, such as leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, and cress.
- Brussels Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
- Leafy Greens, such as collards, mustard greens, spinach, and kale
- Other plants do require more access to full sunlight such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, and corn.
- Assess how much space you have. If you are limited on space that does not mean you are limited on your gardening options you may just need to look into container gardening. This is great if you do not have a big yard because you can grow your plants in pots on a deck, patio, etc.
4. Think about water. You need to keep in mind how often you are going to need to water your garden and how easy your access is to a hose. Depending on the size of your garden you may be okay by just using a watering can. You’ll want to water your garden around 2 times a week depending on how much rain you get. Different plants have different water needs so you will want to research your specific crops to know just how much water is ideal for them to grow.
5. Soil is key! Soil is one of the most important factors if not the most important factor when it comes to starting a garden. A mixture of compost and organic matter is going to be the most suitable soil for vegetable plants.
Gardening in the Philadelphia Area
The greater Philadelphia area has three growing seasons; cool spring, hot summer, and cool fall. Try growing these vegetables during each of the seasons!
Spring: Chinese cabbage, lettuce, and peas
Summer: eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes
Fall: broccoli, kale, cabbage, and brussel sprouts.
Herbs and spices are a great way to add new flavors into your dishes. Growing fresh herbs and spices can be easy to do from the comfort of your own home!
Sage: plant it in a sunny spot with fertile, well-drained soil
Parsley: give the seeds a head start by sowing them indoors on a sunny windowsill
Oregano: thrive in warm, sunny spots and like light soils
Mint: plant in pots to contain the roots, keep it in full sun or partial shade and pinch out any flower buds to encourage more leaf growth
Coriander: grows well in the ground or containers
Rosemary: loves sun or shade and will grow in any soil as long as it’s not overwatered
Basil: prefers full sun and a sheltered spot
Chives: plant into the ground in March and April, grows best in a sunny spot with rich well watered soil
Quin Kelly, Penn State Intern