I love to garden. I’m not very good at it still, but I like the idea of being able to grow some of the fruits and veggies we eat. Especially our favorites. Organic is just too expensive typically, but I can grow organic in my backyard pretty easily and inexpensively. This series will chronical my experiences, successes and failures gardening near Phoenix, AZ.
You have a few options starting out in backyard/urban gardening.
The first is to create garden beds in your native soil, right in the ground. Depending on where you live, and what’s been happening in your yard pre-garden, you might not even have to amend the soil much. Near Phoenix, we typically need to amend at about 2/3…i.e. 1/3 native soil, 1/3 ‘good’ soil and 1/3 worm castings/compost/coconut coir and other amendments. The second option is raised beds, which can be more costly, since you have to buy/build the beds and then purchase all of the soil/compost to fill them. A third option is small containers, which is a great option for apartment dwellers and can be kept on patios and moved in and out of the sun (you might even have success growing inside near windows). Our first summer in our home, I grew all my peppers and tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets outside and moved them around as needed. I had trouble keeping them moist during the hottest parts of the summer, but overall I had decent yields, even if birds stole a lot of them. I also spent over two years trying to grow a garden in heavily amended native soil, to no avail, so I switched to 100% raised beds in the fall of 2016.
For more details and cost break-downs for different methods of getting started, see part 2.