In this post, we intend to make a simple guide to understand how to set up a home garden step by step, with which you can start in the world of home gardening.
Cultivating at home is within everyone’s reach, we need to have some basic concepts clear and gradually learn from experience.
We understand the home garden as an exercise in sustainability, which makes us citizens more committed to the environment and more responsible in our consumption.
Do you know what you need to set up a home garden step by step?
Most of the population lives in very urban environments without any contact with the natural and rural environment. This means that every day, more people feel the need to introduce a little “green” in their lives.
Having a small orchard in our home is going to be an escape route from asphalt, cement, noise, pollution and also from stress and worries.
It will allow us to know the life cycle of vegetables and the relationships between different living beings, enhancing our capacity for observation and offering us a valuable educational resource for our children.
It will be a place of continuous learning through the experience we acquire in the cultivation of our vegetables.
It will provide us with healthy, nutritious, and tasty food that will make us think about the origin of food, making us more responsible and demanding consumers in matters such as food security and sovereignty.
For all of these reasons, and for many other purposes, it is worth having a vegetable garden at home. Shall we start?
A place with direct sunlight
We can create an urban garden practically anywhere, a small garden, a patio, a terrace, a balcony, or even a window will allow us to cultivate our vegetables. But there is an indispensable question, which is to have a place with direct sunlight.
Vegetables, like other plants, need sunlight to obtain energy through photosynthesis.
In principle, the best orientation will be that which allows us a right amount of direct light hours, usually south or southeast orientation, although we will also have to take into account the obstacles we may have, and that can create shadows (buildings, etc.).
In the majority of occasions, we cannot choose between several locations for the orchard, and we have to adapt to the available space.
In any case, it will be essential to assess the availability of sunlight that we have at different times of the year and evaluate what type of crop we are going to do.
It may be that our space only allows cultivation in spring-summer, during which time the trajectory of the Sun is higher, having sufficient light, while in winter receives no light at all.
However, some spaces have sufficient light throughout the year, being able to cultivate in each season the seasonal crops.
Therefore, depending on the sunshine we have, we will choose the vegetables we will grow.
If we have many hours of sunshine in summer, we will resort to demanding crops such as aubergines, tomatoes or peppers, while if we receive fewer hours of sun, we will opt for less demanding vegetables such as lettuce, onions, radishes, strawberries.
Containers and substrates
In a single-family house with a small plot of land, we can set aside an area for our vegetable garden, delimiting the space and providing the soil with organic fertilizers that improve its physical-chemical conditions and fertility.
But if we do not have soil, we can create our orchard using culture containers and organic substrates.
We will always choose those that allow us a higher volume of substrate, depending on the available space that we have, is more critical the total volume that can lodge that not the depth of the container.
There are containers of all sizes and all materials, being better one option or another according to the space and the type of crops that we want to develop.
One of the most interesting is the cultivation table, with different lengths, widths, and heights can adapt very well to the available space allowing us to grow in a comfortable position.
We can also use planters, giving better results in wood for its insulating capacity of the substrate against heat or cold outside.
Other options are geotextile containers or textile pots that have as a great advantage their lightness or vertical gardens that adapt very well to the smallest spaces.
It is best to use organic substrates, which should.
- They should be light so that we can handle them quickly and not overload our terraces or balconies.
- To have an adequate porosity, that allows proper aeration (circulation of the air that helps the breathing of the roots) and water retention (that provides that a water reserve is created in the substratum at the disposal of the sources).
- Retain critical nutrients.
These three requirements are met by composted organic substrates, such as vermicompost (organic waste digested by the California earthworm), which will also act as fertilizer by providing all the nutrients the plant needs.
Another substrate that does not provide many nutrients but has some of the properties mentioned (lightness, aeration, water retention, and nutrient retention) is coconut fiber.
Therefore it may be interesting to compose our substrate by combining one that provides right structural conditions (coconut fiber) and another that acts as a fertilizer containing the nutrients and properties of organic matter (vermicompost).
The appropriate proportion could be 60% coconut fiber and 40% vermicompost.
Each time we finish a crop cycle and remove the plants, it is convenient to remove the substrate to avoid the compaction that it suffers over time, to improve porosity and avoid the formation of cracks, in addition to making a new contribution of compost or vermicompost, to replace the nutrients that have been consumed or washed.