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A Guide On Your Home-Grown Garden

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

When you think organic, you might think of a mosaic of vegetables surrounded by leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or lettuce. What also may come to mind are dollar signs, since buying organic foods from the grocery store hasn’t always been the most affordable option. Nevertheless, it’s important to eat nutritious and fueling foods; a healthy body = a healthy mind! Luckily, you can start at home with your very own organic garden. Creating your home-grown garden is a rewarding and therapeutic journey that will transform any space into a green oasis. In addition, it yields many mental health benefits! Researchers have found gardening to improve mood, boost self-esteem, and aid in increasing attention span. In this guide, I’ll take you through the essential steps to get started on your own gardening adventure.

Step 1 – Choosing What To Grow

Let’s begin the fun! Think about the vegetables that frequent your grocery list. Which types of plants do you want to grow? I’ll give you some ideas to start you off. You may want to consider growing vegetables like tomatoes, leafy greens (i.e., spinach, kale, lettuce), or herbs like basil and rosemary. All these plants are versatile, offer health benefits, and add delicious flavours to your dishes. No matter what you choose, be sure to know your space and the environment available to grow your garden. All plants have various needs and require care to ensure proper growth – season, space, and nutrients (water) are all variables you must consider. To have a prospering garden starts with understanding your plants and being committed to frequent maintenance.

Step 2 – Budding Your Seeds

If you’re starting from seeds, you will need to undergo a common process in gardening known as ‘germination’, before planting them in the soil. Germination is a process where a seed or spore sprouts usually under specific environmental conditions which can trigger the process. Some of these being water absorption, light availability, or heat exposure. What you’ll do is wrap your seeds in a wet cloth or paper towel and place them in a warm environment to invoke germination. The goal is to keep the cloth from drying out for a least a couple of days, or until you begin to see the seeds sprouting. It’s worth noting that not all seeds will sprout, so if they do, you probably have a special green thumb.

If germination seems far-fetched for your very first gardening endeavour, there is another way to get started. You can skip the multi-day process by purchasing a pre-budded plant from any plant retailer or store. This is a simpler way to kick-start your garden, as the first stages of plant growth have already been handled. All you need to do is make sure to transfer the baby bud to a bigger pot or space so that there’s plenty of room for the roots to grow.

Step 3 – Prepping Your Soil

Your plants are almost ready to be planted! Before moving them in, you must prepare your garden by digging up current soil, removing weeds, and adding nutrient-rich soil for your plants’ new home. Adding household compost can provide additional nutrients for your plants and ensure optimal flourishing growth! One thing I’ve found that helps minimize pesky weed growth is to cover the soil with mulch after the plants have settled in. It’s also great for maintaining moisture.

Step 4 – Time To Plant!

Seed packets or pre-grown plants will often come with information about spatial requirements, watering needs, appropriate soil depth, and more. These instructions or a quick Google search about your chosen plant will tell you how deep your plant should sit below the surface. Once you’ve dug up until the sweet spot, place your plant in and cover the area with the surrounding prepped soil. Congratulations! Your garden is officially planted.

Step 5 – Patience Is Key

All that’s left now is to wait, water, and watch. Don’t forget to regularly water your plants. Be careful not to give too much though – overwatering can be harmful to your plants’ growth. Gardening takes time, but when you begin to harvest your vegetables, fruits, or herbs, you’ll know it is well worth it. There is always joy in sharing your garden and efforts with friends and family. Perhaps they have some gardening tips, and have their own produce to swap with you!

Gardening is all about the journey – it encourages patience and persistence. It’s a therapeutic adventure that connects you to the wonders of Mother Nature and reaps you satisfying rewards. After reading this guide, I hope you’re feeling inspired and eager to get started. So, let’s get planting! Your organic journey starts today.

Puneet Jhooty

McMaster '26

Puneet Jhooty a writer at the Her Campus at McMaster chapter. She is currently in her second year of the Biology Physiology Research Program at McMaster University. Beyond Her Campus, Puneet runs an environmental advocacy group called the ECO Initiative with two of her friends, where she develops eco-friendly design ideas rooted from repurposed household materials. She’s also written blog articles for other non-profits aimed at informing the public about important and relevant social and environmental topics. In her free time, Puneet enjoys creative writing, reading, and painting. She loves music and is currently learning how to play the sitar.