Why First-Time Gardeners Need to Start Small

Building healthy soil is the key to growing healthy food.

Many first-time gardeners get so excited about the potential to grow all of their own food and create ambitious plans to do so. I love the excitement and am all for people growing there own food and gardening is not always a magical process where you plant a seed and a vegetable or flower grows. There are many factors that lead to a seed growing into a productive plant and first-time gardeners need to learn how to create the conditions for 5 healthy onions to grow before they attempt to grow 50 healthy onions.

Starting with ambitious garden goals gives you direction, clear actions to take and excitement to getting your harden up and running and having a huge garden goal when you have never had a garden before is like applying to CEO jobs when you’re fresh out of college and have never worked a full-time job before. Yes you can eventually be a CEO and there are you a lot to things to learn before you can become the CEO of a company. It’s the same thing with gardening – before you can grow 50 healthy peppers you need to learn how to grow 5 healthy peppers consistently because there are a lot of factors that go into growing food.

One of the most important factors that goes into growing food is healthy soil. I am all for growing your own food in your yard and supplying 100% of your food needs from your gardens. In fact I believe that growing food is the way to build resilient, sustainable communities and cities and successful gardening comes down to more than just planting a handful of seeds and seeing if things grow. Successful gardening comes from healthy soil and healthy soil is created over time.

There are so many gardening books that can teach you how to plan a garden that will allow you to grow 250 pounds of vegetables per year on a quarter-acre of land and feed your family and your community. Yes this can be accomplished and the key to accomplishing this is experience as no matter how great the plan that the book has given you is, your potato crops may get overrun with Colorado potato beetles that will kill your potato plants before you even get a chance to harvest them or some other issue that you did not know how to deal with can cause a huge mold buildup in your garden and completely halt production.

Garden issues or challenges can be brought on by a number of factors and they typically happen because the bacterial and fungal life in your soil has been depleted due to use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, choosing not to rotate your crops and not restoring the health of your soil over the course of a few seasons. Yet this great book that you bought that gives you the formula to grow 500 pounds of produce on a quarter-acre did not tell you any of these things.

It’s not the fault of the author and growing food is more complex than just planting seeds and having things grow. Yes it is magical when peppers, tomatoes and cilantro start growing in your yard and growing food is also not magical, in fact it is scientific in nature. The science of growing food comes down to the health of your soil as there are millions of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, microbes, organic matter and more organisms in just a few ounces of soil. Bug life such as worms, spiders, ants, mites, lady bugs and other insects are also key markers of soil health. It is the organisms in your soil that gives your soil life and we must replenish the life in the soil in order for our soil to continue to have life and continue to grow food.

When you think of soil think of it like you would think about your body. Iron is a key mineral that your body relies on for a variety of functions including producing red blood cells. Iron is also one of the key components that help you produce new red blood cells. Your body naturally has built up stores of iron and you can survive for a while solely on the iron that your body has stored and if you do not replenish the iron in your body over time your iron stores will get low and your body will not be able to produce red blood cells at the frequency that it needs to. Red blood cells carry nutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as oxygen to your cells and if you are not producing enough red blood cells due to having depleted our iron stores you will experience fatigue, lethargy and an inability to produce the amount of energy that you are used to producing.

Soil works the exact same way. If you have moved to a new home where nothing but grass has grown in the backyard for the last 20 years then there should be decently strong mineral and nutrient stores in your soil. So yes if you remove the grass from your yard and start planting vegetables the vegetables should grow for the most part (certain vegetables need to be pollinated by bees, bugs, birds or other creatures to grow and some vegetables need really specific pH levels and nutrient levels to grow) and you may end up with some tomatoes at the end of the year, which is fantastic! You may be able to plant tomatoes for a few more years and get the same yield and eventually the soil will become deficient in the minerals and nutrients that are needed to grow tomatoes and your yields will decline. This is very common in gardens and then people turn to chemical fertilizers to get your vegetables to grow, chemical fertilizers are so harsh that they also kill soil life and eventually over time your soil will become infertile because you did not replenish the vitamins and minerals that your soil needs in order to sustain life.

So the first thing that a gardener needs to learn is how to restore the health of their soil and this is why you need an experienced professional who knows how to do this. I am your experienced professional, my strength is in restoring the heath of the soil and constantly providing the soil with what it needs to be able to thrive. I have taken dead soil and turned it into productive soil in just a few months. I know how to create proper crop rotations to ward off Colorado potato beetles, aphids, mites and other creatures that will come and significantly impact your yields for the season and I can get you to the place where you can be a master in restoring the health of your soil and grow all of the onions that you want to grow, grow all of the peppers that you want to grow and grow all of the tomatoes that you want to grow for as long as you want to grow them.

If you want to master your soil and ultimately create the garden of your dreams then please schedule an initial consultation with me where we can discuss what the garden of your dreams looks like and supply you with the education that you need to make it happen. Click here to schedule a consultation now!