Spring has finally arrived, and warm weather has come with it! This is the perfect time to get outside and play, or even grow some plants! Whether you have a big backyard or don’t have one at all, growing a garden can be easy, healthy, and fun. All you need are the right plants, some good fertilizer, and a little bit of patience.
To start out, you need to consider how much space and light you have in your yard, and make sure you have soil that is healthy and nutritious for plants. According to local horticulturist, Alan Robert, “A great garden starts with great soil. Consider whether your soil is soft, rocky, or dry.” One tip is to be mindful that Connecticut has very acidic soil, so putting limestone down first can make the soil healthier. However, no matter what type of soil you may have, local gardening expert, Lynn Stowe, highly recommends a recipe for the best fertilizer. “You make this soil mixture and you’re going to get great production on your plants.” All it takes is two parts soil, two parts loose compost (leaves, peat moss, etc.), and one part sand.
The next step is to get the perfect plants. Many gardeners and plant experts highly recommend cherry tomatoes as a beginner plantThey are easy to care for, they are quick to grow, and they produce a very high yield. They also do not take up a lot of space, so they can be accommodated to any sized yard. Some other plants that grow well in small spaces are string beans, cucumbers, and herbs. However, some plants to avoid are corn and soybeans since they take up a lot of space but do not have a high yield.
The best way to maximize space if you don’t have a big yard is to use a technique called companion planting, or three sister planting. This technique dates back to ancient indigenous tribes in North and South America who would plant beans, corn, and squash together to compliment the needs of each plant. For example, beans would be planted next to corn stalks to be used as a trellis. The beans pull nitrogen from the air to help the squash, and the squash would shade the ground and provide mulch. When asked about this method, Alan Robert stated, “I would lean more towards not avoiding certain plants growing together, but using companion planting.”