Joshua Manocherian: Starting Your Own Backyard Garden? Here’s How!Hello, everyone! I’m Joshua Manocherian. I was a professional photographer before going into the restaurant business. While I’ve always loved eating, most of what I ate came from either a can or a box. When I met my wife, though, she introduced me to fresh produce and organic cuisine. We settled into a little house with a pretty large backyard and we tried planting random seeds, hoping that something would sprout out of the soil.
To make a long story short, we failed miserably. Weeds soon took over the garden and choked the life out of our plants, and those that survived were undernourished. The following planting season, we got advice from a friend of ours who was into organic farming. Here are some things we learned from him that you could use, too:
1. Start slow and small. Backyard gardening takes time and effort, and if you have a full-time job, it’s tough enough to take care of one raised bed, let alone a whole garden of raised beds. Speaking of raised beds, you need to construct them – raised beds are basically plots of loose, uncompressed soil that serve as physical barriers between your crops and the rest of the garden.
2. Start early. If your backyard has a lawn, till it up and rake out the sod. The sod can be very useful later. Once you’re done tilling, build raised beds with the tilled soil. I suggest doing it before winter so that it’s ready when spring comes around.
3. It’s never too early to enrich the soil. You can find a source of compost or aged mushroom soil easily. When enriching the soil, use a 50/50 mix of the compost and the soil that you have right now. Next, cover it with two inches of mulch – shredded fallen leaves are good for this purpose. Mulch will keep the soil moist and help keep weed seeds from being blown into the ground.
Also, while you might want to grow plants straight out of the seed packet right away, I’ve found out that it’s not a good idea for a first-time backyard farmer. Instead, use seedlings from a reputable gardener. Rake off the mulch, plant the seedlings, then rake the mulch back on, leaving just enough space to let the seedlings grow. Once you are able to nurture seedlings to maturity, then you can go on to planting straight from seeds.
While backyard gardening is hard work, remember to have fun. Set aside enough time to take care of your plants, and if something fails, learn something from it it. Backyard gardening is perfect if you like learning about plants, soil, and water. Who knows, you might learn a thing or two about yourself too. After all, planting a garden takes a lot of patience and love.
I will write more about organic backyard gardening in future posts so do check back for updates. This is Joshua Manocherian, and I hope you had fun reading my blog as much as I had fun writing it.