Creating a Backyard Garden

Green Tomatoes by kpwerker (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Many of us would love to have fresh fruits and vegetables straight from our backyard garden, but we live in urban areas or lack the time necessary to care for a backyard garden. Mel Bartholomew, the author of Square Foot Gardening, has given us not only an easy way to maintain your backyard garden, but a way to do it using minimal space. Using raised beds, loose soil and square foot boxes (1ft x 1ft) you can have fresh fruits and vegetables from your backyard garden all season long.

1. The first step to creating your backyard garden is to pick a spot in your backyard or patio that get’s enough light to sustain all of the plants that you plan on putting in your backyard garden.

Creating a backyard garden
Creating your own backyard garden can be simple! Photo by thelazydba

2. The second step to creating your backyard garden is to construct a raised bed. A 4’X 4’ plot is a good size to start your backyard garden. It’s small enough to keep you from getting overwhelmed by your backyard garden, but big enough to yield a decent harvest. Most lumber comes in 8’ lengths so you will only have to buy 2 boards and have your local hardware store saw them in half. It’s best to use untreated lumber so that chemicals don’t seep into your backyard garden.

Baby backyard garden
Photo by ytang3

3. The third step to creating your backyard garden is putting your raised bed together. We need to put at least 3 screws on each end of the planks to prevent your box from cracking under pressure. Once you have screwed the planks together you will need to fill your box with soil. If you use standard potting soil add a little extra fertilizer so that your backyard garden has plenty of the nutrients it needs to grow.

Cabbage in a backyard garden
Grow cabbage in your backyard garden. Photo by KoryeLogan

4. After you have filled your box with soil it’s time to build your grid. First you will need to measure out and mark 1ft spaces on each side of your box. Next stretch your strings across your box and nail them into place to form the dividers.

Big Backyard Garden
Photo by OakleyOriginals

With your 1ft squares intact you can start planting your backyard garden. You can fill your backyard garden with your choice of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Some flowers like marigolds have natural pesticides in them, so if you want to keep insects and other pests out of your backyard garden, plant some marigolds in your raised bed.

It’s a good idea to plant in a grid of 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants per square foot, depending on how much room your plants need. Before planting, read the seed packaging, so that you know how much room your plants need to grow.

After you harvest crops like lettuce, onions and carrots dig out their squares and add fresh soil and new seeds so that you can enjoy your backyard garden crops all season long.

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