Building a garden can be extremely overwhelming. There is a ton of work to do; planning, clearing, building, planting, care taking, harvesting and amending…. Just to name a few things. While the work is hard and long, sweaty and frustrating, the garden can be an oasis in times of frustration, sickness, fear, and disappointment. Today, I want to talk to you about how you can build a garden the way YOU want it.
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Building A Garden
I love building gardens. Getting a new space cleared out, set up and planted is up there with a trip to the bookstore, hanging with the goats and and harvesting from the garden. There is so much joy that I get from setting up the new space that I will probably always be “tearing out” and rebuilding my gardens.
This year, we are completely redoing our big garden because we have had a lot of struggles with soil erosion, “failing” soil, and animal break ins.
But what does building a garden actually look like? Well, it looks like a search on Pinterest or other search engines to get an idea of what you are looking for in your gardens. Then it’s selecting a place in the yard for your new garden. Now, we plan the space. After that we start clearing the area. Next, we start setting up the garden based on the plans you’ve created. Finally, we get to plant!
Are you getting overwhelmed in the garden? Stressed? Or just not enjoying the garden like you used to? Check out our garden prompts! We send out weekly emails that get you back in the garden and out of your head! Turn the garden back into a place of love and joy instead of frustration and headache!
Figuring Out What Kind Of Garden You Want
This may seem simple, but it’s probably the hardest part of any garden. That’s because if you are a totally new gardener, you may not know exactly what type of gardens you want. So doing a quick Pinterest search of gardens and then narrowing it down from there is a great place to start. Here are a couple of types of gardens: vegetable, flower, mixed, vertical garden, raised beds, row gardens, cottage gardens, faery gardens, etc.
Yes, it can be overwhelming. But just keep searching and take notes of the various things you like from each garden that you find and want to pull into your own gardens.
I prefer raised bed gardens and have for the last 10 years. Our first summer on the homestead, we had a row garden and I hated it. Well, that’s not true. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as my kitchen garden, which has raised beds, so the big garden suffered more than it should have.
I also realized that I LOVE having tons of flowers in the garden. The more the merrier. But I also need to make sure that I can keep pushing the needle on our goal of raising 75% of the food for us and our animals. So I can’t go too crazy with flowers.
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Finding Your Garden Spot
Our first summer on the property, we did not plant a garden. I wanted to wait and really make sure that we were putting the garden in the “right” spot. Our first garden here did okay. Not amazing, but we definitively learned a ton. The second garden half flopped. I finally got Jared to agree to build my raised beds and THAT garden did great!
The big garden failed miserably. Part of that was due to location. The other part was soil and the third part was too much sun. Which yes, is a thing. In the heat of summer, too much sun or heat can scorch your plants. Our tomatoes dropped so many blossoms it looked like it was snowing. So be sure to have some sort of shade cloth available if your yard is all sun.
Another thing to look at when finding your garden space is to look at water for irrigation. We have to run about 75ft of hose to even get water to the big garden, then we have to run another 150ft of hose inside the garden to be able to water. While the location would not have changed, we could have installed a yard hydrant or something similar to lessen the amount of hoses we need.
Lastly, when building a garden keep in mind how hard it is to get to. If you are having to hike across the world to get to your garden, there is a big chance that you won’t spend nearly as much time in as you should. The kitchen garden is right next to the house. I can see it from the windows on that side of the house. Also, it’s right next to where we park our cars AND we have to walk past it to get to the goats. All of this puts the kitchen garden in direct sight so we can see if plants aren’t growing, or some other problem.
Planning Your Garden
Because I’ve talked in so many posts about planning your garden, and you can find those here and here, I’m not going to go crazy in depth here. There are a lot of planning that goes into gardens at this stage and one thing to remember: keep your garden space liquid. By that I mean, don’t do anything permanent until you KNOW that it will work.
If you are interested in learning more about my favorite garden planner. I highly recommend Seedtime! This planner has been instrumental in helping me plan out my gardens with WAY more efficiency than I could ever expect! It has also reduced overwhelm, stress, and calmed my ADD/ADHD!
Look into fencing while you are planning your garden. If you have animals that free range, they will tear up your garden. If you have dogs, they will at the very least poop in your garden. Then there is deer, rabbits, cats, and other unwanted creatures. I would recommend a fence to protect your food, flowers, and hardwork.
Seating! I cannot recommend having chairs in the garden more! We have about a million outdoor chairs that we sit in around the garden. When it’s hot or I’m tired, the best thing for me is to have a place to sit and take a break. Then I can get back to it in a minute or two.
Clearing For The New Garden
This can and will look very different for every person and every space. Our kitchen garden required almost no clearing. The big garden? Well, it’s going to take at least a month to get all the trees cut, cleared, stumps pulled, etc. It’s going to be a process and that’s okay.
For your garden, it may be as simple as putting down cardboard and building a raised bed. Or maybe you will be as labor intensive as mine. Both are okay as long as you are enjoying the work.
As a tip, as you are working in your garden, whether building, planting or harvesting, always keep a good attitude and good intention. You would be surprised that you will start enjoying the work.
Start Building A Garden!
I know, technically you’ve been building the garden since you started doing research. But now is the time were you are actually setting it up. This can be landscape timbers as walkway outlines or putting in raised beds. Or maybe it’s putting in a gazebo so you have a covered seating area.
Or it could be hauling in soil, mulch and plants.
But this is the time that you are putting your plans in motion and building a garden! How cool is that!
Planting Your Garden
Now that you have built your garden, you get to plant it! Get your hands in the soil and start getting back in touch with nature. I swear it’s the best therapy I have ever had… except maybe my goats.
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And remember, even if your first garden is an epic failure, you still started a garden.
Even if you pull every plant out of the garden and move everything around, you still planted a garden!
Don’t get discouraged here!
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