If you’re trying to make your home more sustainable and eco-friendly, a garden is a great way to go. Home gardens offer many benefits, both for your own physical health, and the environment too. Some health benefits of gardening are:
- It helps to boost your immune system. Exposure to Vitamin D is a major aspect of improving your immune system!
- It lowers stress levels. Since you are focusing time and energy on something, it gives you a goal and a task. It can help reduce symptoms of depression.
- It burns a lot of calories (you can burn around 330 calories during light gardening and yard work).
- It can boost your self-esteem. Creating and maintaining a garden is a major accomplishment!
- One of the most important things, gardening can help you eat healthier. If you’re growing you’re own food, you’re creating fresh food that hasn’t been treated by pesticides.
Environmental Benefits of Gardening
While there are many health benefits, having your own garden is immensely helpful for the environment too. It can help the environment in several ways:
- Growing your own food can reduce carbon footprints. You save energy and time by growing your food at home.
- Plants naturally clean the air. Since gardening decreases carbon dioxide emissions, it increases oxygen, which is beneficial for the environment.
- It can support beneficial insects and birds.
- You can help reduce the usage of harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
- Certain plants can help prevent soil erosion. The roots from plants can help hold soil together.
How to Start a Home Garden
Now that we’ve established that there are a lot of benefits of gardens, how do you start one? There are several steps you can take to create one. Prior to creating a garden, it’s a great idea to start composting first. Composting is the natural process of recycling organic material such as leaves and vegetable scraps and turning them into rich soil (If you’re looking for an introduction to composting, we have you covered in How to Start Composting!).
Once you’ve gotten some compost ready, here are steps to get started on your home garden:
- Make sure you’re working with healthy soil. Before you proceed, make sure the soil you already have is healthy. It’s important to check aspects such as pH, texture, porosity, and the amount of lead in the soil. If your soil isn’t up to par, you’ll have to work on improving it.
- Decide what you are going to grow in your garden. Before you being planting and building, what are you going to grow in your garden? You can choose to grow herbs, flowers, vegetables, and a mixture of all three!
- Choose a great spot. Your garden should be near a water source, where you store equipment, and an area that has the best sunlight. There are also other factors such as making sure you’re away from children’s play areas and also make sure your garden is in line with local standards (For guides to the Long Beach area, you can find information on Long Beach Sustainability.)
- Plan out your gardening beds. Make clear plans for the layout of your garden ahead of time! It will make things a lot easier for you when you start building. Map everything out on a piece of paper. You don’t have to be an architect!
- Start your seeds indoors. A step that will save you a lot of time and frustration down the road is to start your seedlings indoors. It’s also a lot cheaper than buying seedlings from nurseries. You can also control the quality of the plants as they grow.
- Invest in great tools! Regardless of your budget, it’s important to invest in great tools. Some things not to skimp on are essential items such as gloves, pruning shears, loppers, garden forks, rakes, hoes, spades, and garden hoses with adjustable nozzles are a few examples.
- Make your garden bed. After you’ve chosen what kind of garden beds you’d like, it’s time to make them! For home gardens, it’s better to use raised beds. They allow you to use the soil of your choice and can also help with keeping your garden organized and neat.
- Get to planting! Once you have your beds ready, your tools, and your seeds, it’s time to get planting!
- Maintain and nurture your garden.
If you’re looking for more in-depth guides on how to start a garden, here are some resources:
- 25 Tips for Starting a Small Vegetable Garden
- How to Build a Raised Garden Bed
- Gardening for Beginners: How to Care for Your Garden
Some Other Tips for Your Garden
- Soak seeds before planting.
- You can always study more about gardening! There’s always something to learn!
- Use raised beds instead of rows.
- If you’re in the Long Beach/Southern California area, choose plants that can handle drought circumstances.
- Pull weeds regularly.
- Get to using mulch!
- Water plants early in the morning when it’s cooler so you don’t lose as much water due to evaporation.
- Remember that soil quality is more important than fertilizer when it comes to plant quality.
- Avoid digging or planting in wet soil.
- Make sure your plants have space!
Earthwise Hauling is supportive of local gardening efforts! If you’re looking to clean out your home and backyard, we’re here to help. Thinking about starting your own garden, it’s crucial to have a clean and clear space.