Starting a garden. The term gardening covers a wide range of activities and methods used to grow plants, both indoors and outside. At various times through history, gardening has come in and out of fashion. The style of gardens change according to social and economic factors, as well as the fashions of the day.
Starting a garden in 21st century
What is considered gardening in the 21st century would be unrecognizable to gardeners of centuries ago. And very possibly, even to gardeners of just a few decades ago. As with clothing, interior design, cars and almost everything else, styles and fashions change along with the times.
Historically, pleasure gardens, or purely ornamental gardens, were often purely for the wealthy. But during the latter half of the twentieth century, as leisure time for the average person increased, ornamental gardens became increasingly popular with the wider population. Vegetable and fruit gardening therefore, took a back seat. It often became confined to a small corner of the garden, tucked out of sight.
Why grow your own food?
Today there is an increase in interest in knowing the source of the food we consume. And in producing more of our own food. Fruit and vegetable gardens are today returning to a more prominent place around our homes. Allotments or community gardens are sought after and therefore, often have long waiting lists. And spaces hitherto given over to lawns are being transformed into growing spaces for edibles.
Movements like Food Not Lawns changed the way many people use their gardens and community spaces, starting a productive garden to replace under-used areas. Fruit and vegetable growing does not need to be confined to a hidden corner.
Integrating productive plants into the whole garden adds another level of interest as many food plants have attractive leaf forms and colorful flowers. For example, runner beans were introduced to our gardens as ornamental climbers. I am so pleased that someone learned how tasty the beans are!
How much does starting a garden cost?
Gardening is as expensive as you allow it to be. In general, it is only an expensive hobby if you buy lots of gadgets and buy mature plants from a garden center or plant nursery. However, when you learn how to grow your own food and ornamental plants and the cost of gardening reduces. Not only that, starting a vegetable garden helps your monthly food bill too.
One of the key skills to learn, which incidentally is also one of the most satisfying skills to know, is the process of propagation. Saving seeds to sow next year or creating new plants from those you already have. To see how simple it is to save money when starting a garden, watch this video about dividing plants.
Is gardening difficult?
Gardening is not rocket science. Follow some basic rules and nature will do most of the work; allowing you to stand back and admire how much you have achieved!
If you are interested in learning more in depth about how plants grow, what they need to thrive, the eco-systems around us and how we impact on the environment, there is plenty of information available. However, if you simply want to grow a few vegetables or fruit plants, some summer flowers or spring bulbs, there is nothing to stop you from doing just that.
Is gardening hard work?
Gardening can be as physically demanding as you choose. If you enjoy lots of physical work, you can create a garden that needs your physical input. If you’d rather not do plenty of physical work, you can design your garden space to need minimal physical effort.
How much space do I need to start gardening?
Whether you have a windowsill, balcony, town garden or acres of space, you can still grow some vegetables, herbs, fruit or flowers. All that will change is the scale of production. Even when I have a large garden, I still choose to grow some plants on the kitchen windowsill.
Herbs are ideal for windowsill growing as they give us quick access to them while we are cooking. Most plants will grow happily in pots, so can be grown on a balcony or in areas where conditions are unfavorable for growing direct in the ground.
Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting a garden, we hope you enjoy exploring some of our projects and ideas.
About the author
Liz works full time on the homestead, Byther Farm, and as a content creator in various media. Her love of gardening started as a small child, but blossomed when she left home. In her own garden, she found joy in propagating plants and growing food for her family.
At her happiest when pottering in the garden, Liz now manages the half acre fruit and vegetable gardens and food forest . Her first book, Grounded – A Gardener’s Journey to Abundance and Self-Sufficiency was published in February 2021.