As a beginner gardener, it’s easy to get carried away by the possibilities of a homestead garden! Here are some tips for homestead gardening for beginners. There are so many things you can cultivate – from herbs and veggies to fruit trees and grape vines – endless possibilities!
This post contains affiliate links, see my disclosure policy for more information.
Homestead Gardening for Beginners
When we bought a house in the prairies in 2015 my biggest want was space for a garden. I got it. We lived there for 4 years and each year the garden plot got a little bigger. Looking back was the smartest thing we did there.
You don’t want your first garden to be large and overwhelming. You want to enjoy it, and learn from a small investment.
You’ll have plenty of time to design your dream garden or worry about the details of pest control and automatic irrigation later. As time goes on, through trial and error, looking up information as questions arise, and chatting with other gardeners, you’ll figure it out.
Get updates & freebies delivered to your inbox!
The Basics of Getting Started with A Homestead Garden
Homestead gardening for beginners is a great way to get into gardening and grow your own food. The key is to start small, choose the right plants, and be patient.
At a glance, these are the essentials to consider:
- Location – As sunny as possible
- Size – Start small
- Style – Raised beds, containers, or right in the ground?
- Soil – Rich, organic soil
- Plants – Choose plants right for your zone and the season
- Water – Moist, but not soggy
- Protection – Consider the wildlife in your yard, and make a plan if necessary
Think about what you are planting and then think about your yard. Are there trees that are going to cast shade over your vegetables that need full sun?
Again, small with room to grow is best. Think about your past experience and time for tending. As someone who tends to bite off more than she can chew, it takes the enjoyment out of gardening when you feel time-crunched, or forced to do the work.
We have raised beds in the greenhouse. Raised beds are great for rocky ground, for weed control. They are also excellent so you don’t have to bend down to the ground.
Containers can be moved when needed which is why I use them for some of my herbs.
And the bulk of our garden is in the ground. We are utilizing the ground and dirt we already have. Is it amazing soil? No, but it will get better each year as we add fresh compost and aged manure.
Everyone is going to tell you that rich, organic soil with aged compost is the best for growing. And yes, it could give you your best garden. But there are workarounds because getting that soil is going to cost.
I age our chicken manure for our garden. We work our garden as best we can. But we also buy seeds or plants that work for our soil type, such as carrots that grow fatter than longer.
Pick plants that are easy to grow, but that you are going to eat. Tomatoes can grow in the ground, in a greenhouse, or in containers for example, and are easy to care for.
Can you easily water your garden? Is the area you are planting soggy and too wet? Are you going to have enough water to water a large garden? We have occasional dry summers where our well isn’t going to cut it and we have to hull water in to water it. It’s a huge commitment.
What is your weather like, do you get hurricanes? Do you live where deer or rabbits are going to be munching in your garden? You might need to think about fencing unless you want to share your garden.
You might also need a way just to keep your own animals out of your garden.
These are just some of the things to think about when you plan your garden. I would hate to see you do all the work of setting up a garden only to realize the location doesn’t work.
Ashley is a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, turned homesteader, living in Canada. I have been homeschooling for years and love it. Now my children and I get to learn about and help others homeschool and be able to provide for their families and teach our children about where their food comes from.