Thinking of what to do to make use of your backyard space in a relevant and fruitful way? If you do, then start creating a garden. Aside from landscaping, gardening is also one of the most efficient ways to transform your empty space into a high-yielding outdoor area and make the most out of it. Starting your own garden in Fayetteville, Arkansas would be a great idea and you should take the time to consider the climate in your district, as well as the soil type in your garden and the required amount of sunlight each type of plant requires. Most native soils in Arkansas are acidic and require to be amended with lime to raise the soil pH in order to make it slightly acidic which is preferable for vegetable gardens.
The common struggle here though is that many of us don’t want to take the time and energy to dig up a vegetable garden plot and amend the existing soil. Not only that, a lot of us thinks that we were not gifted with “green thumb”, although, even without it, you can do it. You just have to possess that positive can-do attitude and a load of patience. Furthermore, you just need knowledge about the proper methods or practices to use in order to build a successful and prolific garden just like the ones observed by professionals.
Before you begin, you should already have a plan which includes site selection, the area you’ll cover, the vegetables to be used, and the type of gardening to build. Hence, make sure to take the time to do the following procedures to guarantee a successful and high-yielding garden:
• Site Selection
– The first thing that you have to do in gardening is to choose the best location for your garden. Vegetables should receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight during the day. Given this, you have to select a spot where your crops could get optimum exposure from sunlight in order for them to flourish. You should also consider existing roots of trees that could compete with other vegetables for nutrients and moisture.
• Choosing Vegetables For Season
– In Arkansas, vegetables flourish depending on the season. Hence, it’s important that you determine the planting dates for fall vegetable production and of course, the planting dates for spring and summer vegetable production.
– Decide what vegetables you wish to plant considering the space available. If your space is limited, plant only vegetables that are liked by your family, but keep nutrition in mind. Might as well draw a garden diagram to find out if you have enough space to grow needed quantities.
– When you choose your vegetables, select a variety well adapted to Arkansas, specifically in Fayetteville.
• Soil Test
– Soil tests are important to determine the pH level and the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium in the garden’s soil. By doing so, you can adjust the pH of the soil can to make sure that soil nutrients are available. It will also help you determine the amendments your soil require to allow plants to flourish. Since most soils in Arkansas is acidic, your soil may need to be amended with lime to raise the soil pH.
• Prepare Your Soil
– One of the easiest ways to prepare your soil for planting is by using a spade, shovel or spading fork to turn the soil for about six to seven inches deep. After that, you have to remove or cover all litter. Smoothen the area by raking or harrowing as soon as possible after turning.
• Amend With Compost
– Apply composted organic matter and organic mulching materials freely each year since organic matter content is difficult to maintain. Use as much as 2,000 lbs. of rotted compost for each 1,000 square feet of area (approximately six inches or more).
• Add Fertilizer
– Adding fertilizer can provide supplements to your soil and for this, you can choose whether to use organic or commercial fertilizers. The combination of or the amount of fertilizer will depend on the result of the soil test and you must read the label for proper application. Make broadcast fertilizer applications on the garden soil after spading or plowing, then work into the soil as the ground is raked and leveled.
Once you’ve done the basic preparations for your garden, you can now learn the easy options in starting a vegetable garden. If you have a small space garden, you can still maximize the impact by contemplating on the three most common types of gardening.
Gardening Raised Beds
A raised bed is a convenient way to garden where the soil is limited and there is poor drainage. It can be turned into a covered cold frame to extend the growing season of crops.
- First, dig up space, making sure to leave enough room for you to get to the center.
- Then, simply decide on the length of your raised bed and build a frame that is no more than 4 feet wide (to allow planting but avoiding soil compaction) and is 12 inches high (give you plenty of space for most vegetables’ root systems). Do not make the beds any wider than you can reach the middle of the bed.
- After that, loosen the lower soil using a pitch fork. Don’t forget to place your raised bed on top of an area with drainage.
- Last, you’ll just mix the layer that you pulled out with better soil or fertilizer, and then you’re ready to plant your vegetable garden.
Vertical gardening is often referred to as green walls, are an essentially self-sufficient type of gardening which is good for aesthetics, energy savings, and conserving water. Vertical gardening is a great way to garden in a small space using a trellis, teepee or any structure that will support a vining plant. Aside from that, you can also use existing walls for vertical gardening.
- Start by making a frame for the plants especially if you want to have a container-style vertical garden. For this option, potted plants are attached to a wall or displayed in rows, or planters are stacked which is why you have to make the frame first.
- Then, place the garden according to the type of sun exposure the plants will need.
- After that, choose the plants that you want to grow such as herbs, vegetables, trailing varieties like philodendron, and native perennials.
- Then, choose an efficient water system, (drip irrigation is preferable) in order to maintain and promote your plants’ growth. These living walls are more compact and therefore have less soil, so they may need to be watered more often.
Building planter boxes are great to use in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Containers allow the gardener to grow plants anywhere there is the sunshine and it’s perfect for small spaces. A lot of plants actually do well in containers and you just have to choose wisely.
- First, you have to select the perfect pot or container for your garden. You can also consider window boxes for this type of gardening. For example, the perfect container for tomatoes, peppers, okra, and basil is the 5-gallon bucket.
- Next, drill holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. Or if you’re using pots, no need to drill.
- Then, add 1 cubic foot of a soil-less potting mix (should be light and fluffy). Amend the soil as needed with lime, Epsom salt, and fertilizer. Remember, plants often have different requirements for moisture and fertilizer.
- Lastly, consider companion planting or inter-planting. You can group plants according to their compatibility and mix plants that grow well together and often repel pesky insects yet attract beneficial ones.
Gardening isn’t only for those with green thumb – everybody can learn how to do it. Your knowledge is the greatest weapon you could use and don’t hesitate to ask help from gardening experts, local nurseries, and suppliers, whenever you need one. It may consume a lot of your time, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Imagine yourself growing various organic crops like potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, and a whole lot more. Dreamy, eh? You no longer have to take trips to the grocery stores or fresh markets just to buy ingredients for home-cooked dishes, you just have to walk around your garden and pick fresh harvests.