Fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit at your fingertips? With a little time and effort, juicy tomatoes and fresh sprigs of rosemary await! Starting your own at-home garden does not have to be intimidating if you don't naturally have a green thumb -- here are a few tips to help you begin...
A California-friendly garden features smart and sustainable landscaping. Knowing which seeds are conducive to your climate is the most important beginning step. Corn, cucumber, tomatoes, thyme, and watermelon grow exceptionally well in California in the summer. Most plants prefer full sun, as long as temperatures don’t rise above 90 degrees. Considering Southern California weather, plant in an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade for maximum growth.
Build raised beds!
You will get better yields, prevent weeds, and only feed and water what's necessary when you create a physical barrier between your plants and the rest of your landscape. A rule of thumb for raised beds is that they should always be 4 ft. wide or less, and any length works well. This way, you can reach into the center without stepping into them. This planting strategy will make your soil less compact, and it will help to produce the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you're after, but without as much work. Another viable option to explore is container gardening -- you can grow herbs and greens in pots or window boxes.
Prep the soil!
The quality of your fruits and vegetables depend upon the soil that they are grown in. By providing the best foundation for your garden, you'll get better results... more produce and less withering plants. Digging with a large garden fork loosens soil and allows water to drain, and creates space for plant roots to reach down into the soil. Adding compost to your soil, an inch or so on top and mixing it into the soil, also helps prevent drainage problems and adds fertilizer to the garden.