Growing a garden is a great way to save money and another feature of off-grid living. A garden is not hard to start or maintain, and the amount of food that can be grown even in a small area is amazing.
Pick a spot that has at least six hours of full sunlight each day, in an area that is well-drained. If part of the garden happens to be the partial shade of a tree, plant crops that don’t require that much sunlight. To increase space, use vertical gardening for climbing vegetables.
If the soil is not the best, it can be made healthier by adding compost to the soil. Making compost is easy. Have a spot where you can build a holding area with fencing around it, and add kitchen scraps to it. Mowed grass and newspapers can also be added. Meat and other animal foods are usually not put in the compost pile.
Organic gardening is the best for healthy soil. Using chemical fertilizers and pesticides can destroy the healthy microorganisms in the soil. Rotating crops each year is one way to prevent pests and plant diseases. For example, place tomatoes in a different spot each year.
Companion planting is another way to prevent pests and plant disease. Carrots and peppers like to be planted next to tomatoes. Planting marigolds around the garden can deter bugs like beetles, and radishes deter squash bugs. And conversely, there are some plants that don’t like being next to each other.
When selecting plants, check to make sure they can grow in your area using the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The best plants to grow are the plants that everyone will eat and of high nutritional value. Remember to space according to each plant so they don’t crowd each other. Some of the healthiest vegetables include:
- Broccoli and Brussels sprouts
- Carrots and radishes
- Winter and summer squash
- Peas and beans
Don’t forget herbs since they add flavor and some have medicinal value. Certain herbs planted around the garden can also help keep away garden pests. Buy and collect seeds that are specially packaged to last for several years.