Many of us wish we could have a huge garden to support our natural lifestyle, but lack space. Here’s how to turn your yard into a garden instead!
By Danielle, Contributing writer
When you become a natural mama, you start dreaming of rural homesteading, living off the grid, and becoming self-sufficient, even if you are a city girl at heart.
The cost of organic produce may make you wonder if you can’t grow your own, even indoors or with a small yard. The answer is yes, but you will have to change your outlook on your yard.
Though you can garden indoors with raised garden beds, special lighting, and hydroponics, there’s not much that can replace the sunlight and natural dirt microbes of outdoor gardening. Even if you have a very small yard, without an area for an open garden, you can still plant in the space you have. Let’s talk about how!
How To Turn Your Yard Into a Garden
Replace That Shrubbery
There are a lot of beautiful, herbal plants that can take the place of those beautiful, but not so practical plants in your front and backyard. The home I moved into had six huge, evergreen bushes in front of the home. I ripped them out and replaced with elderberry and lavender bushes. The bees love them, and so does my wallet! Being able to make fresh elderberry syrup, and store some for the winter, with virtually no price tag makes this switch a no-brainer.
Update That Rose Garden
Instead of adding another rose or flower to your landscape, replace with a berry bush. I planted raspberry and blueberry bushes among the roses in front of my home. They bring a gorgeous pop of color and shape among the flowers, and are also delicious. Berries are one of the priciest fruits at the market, and being able to pick some fresh ones in the warm months will put a smile on your face (unless your kids get to them first).
Rethink Your Fencing
Need a bit of space between you and your neighbors? Consider tall plants, like sunflowers, or bulging berry bushes instead of erecting a fence. If you really want some space, consider some rhubarb. (But do not let your kids eat the leaves, they can be poisonous!)
Bring in the Bees
Your gardening will flourish with plants that will attract bees to pollinate your garden plants. Bees love echinacea, wild lilac, and calendula, herbs which are used heavily in natural remedies. Add these to your yard in containers or in small areas, and watch the rest of your garden grow!
Decorate with Food Containers
One of the easiest ways to bring gardening to your urban space is container gardening. You can even begin the plants in containers in your home by a sunny window or special light bulbs and bring outside when weather allows. Plants which love containers are heirloom baby tomatoes (put up a small trellis or wire), peppers of all kinds, and herbs! Choose the herbs you make most in teas and tinctures, and learn to grow and dry them this summer. When winter rolls around, you won’t have to purchase any herbs to make your concoctions.
Add to the Vines
If you have bare fencing, consider adding vine plants. Grapes and passion fruit can be grown in warm climates, but even kiwi and melons can grow in most parts of the U.S. The trick is having fresh, well-drained soil.
Shun the Bugs
Certain plants, such as lemongrass, lemon balm, citronella, lemon bee balm, rosemary and basil all repel the common backyard uninvited guest – the mosquito. Plant these around where your family usually gathers, and dry them at the end of summer to use in remedies over the winter.
Gardening Tips For Sucess
Now that you are full of ideas, let’s go over a few tips to ensure that your garden, no matter how small, is a success.
Soil is Key
The health of your soil will be the health of your plants. So, find a local farmer and ask for some chicken manure, and start composting your fruits and vegetables with your lawn clippings (grass and leaves). Mix it all up in an outdoor composter if possible, and apply to the areas where you will plant.
Some plants like shade, some like sun. Some plants need to be watered often, and some need to be watered weekly. Plan your plants to what areas of your yard will give them what they need!
Some plants won’t work in your soil or area. Some will not admire your grey thumb, but everyone can grow something! It may take a few tries, but you will find that perfect plant for you!
Even if you live in a downtown area or in the burbs, you can plant a small garden and get many of the benefits of homesteading life. Now the only question is, just what are you going to plant?