How to start a garden at home

Lara-Jane Robinson

Starting a garden at home can be intimidating and with so many aspects to consider it can be difficult to know where to start. Creating a space where plants can thrive does not have to be so hard.

Choosing where to start your garden

When starting your garden at home the first thing to think of is the space you have available, whether that be a whole yard or a balcony, your garden can start anywhere. Consider where the most sunlight is received as most plants like at least 6 hours of full sun daily. Observe your potential garden spots to find where best suits you. But do not stress if your yard or balcony is mostly shaded, this just means you will have to pick plants that like the shade.

Deciding the layout and plants in your garden

Next up is planning the layout and design of your garden. Depending on the space you have available this will change. Think about what kind of garden would suit you best. Look at what plants and vegetables grow best in your climate (you can walk around the neighbourhood to see which plants thrive best in your area). Planting to your climate is important as this will tell you what plants will thrive in your garden. Also consider native plants in your garden!

Sketching up the layout of your yard and where you want your garden beds to go will help you plan; include notes such as where sunlight hits and any slopes or uneven ground. If you have a large sunny space then think about plants that will grow best, such as tomatoes, cucumber, peas and beans in gardens with full sunlight, or planting leafy greens like spinach and kale in gardens that are shaded. If you have a small area or balcony consider planting in pots, a vertical garden, or even a small herb garden on your windowsill is a great start.

Preparing for planting

Now that you know where to build your garden and what you want to plant, you need to consider the soil that you are planting in. Ensure that you turn up the soil and use organic matter such as compost to enrich the soil which will help your plants thrive. Rake your garden beds clean and level ready for planting. Plant vegetables and fruits according to the season – some plants grow well in warmer months while some plants prefer cooler months during spring and autumn. There is lots of information widely available on when to plant to have a bright flourishing garden.

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The Griffith University Social Impact Projects address five significant social justice issues faced by vulnerable communities. Expanding on the work done by Project Safe Space, and Project Open Doors, the Griffith University Social Impact Projects bring Community Partners, students and the University together to work collaboratively in the innovative solution design sprints. Initially designed to address Mental Health and Wellbeing of Griffith students, we soon realised this was a much larger issue intersecting across a number of social justice issues for students and the wider community. The Social Impact Projects aim to contribute in some small way to improving these social issues.