My gardening journey began with a tiny plot about 2m x1m. I had the desire to start vegie gardening but was scared off thinking it was all very complicated. Thankfully, I read a great book by Jacque French called Backyard Self-Sufficiency, which gave me the confidence to give gardening a try. That was 7 years ago and that 2m plot has grown to become roughly one third of our backyard.
It has been a lot of trial and error, with some mistakes and some wonderful successes. The most wonderful discovery has been that gardening is not as difficult and mysterious as I had imagined. I really believe that anyone can have success growing some of their family’s food. The result of a little effort is soooo rewarding. I would really encourage you that if you are reading blogs and dreaming about a slower paced life and home grown produce, that it is worth taking the step to try to grow something.
Maybe start with a large pot with some silver beet or something simple that just about grows itself. I think starting small is the best idea, rather than going crazy and overwhelming yourself. Maybe you could pick up a large plastic pot at the recycle centre or at a yard sale. I would suggest that you buy some good potting mix, not the cheapest available, but somewhere in the mid range, since potting mix will make or break the project. Then maybe buy some silver beet, endive or cos lettuce seedlings, as they seem pretty easy to grow. This may seem like a bit of an expensive way to start, but it is just a way to get your feet wet and to enjoy the experience of picking your own produce. Also, all these leafy crops can be picked continuously for months, you don’t harvest the whole plant, just a few leaves from each plant every few days. I plant a punnet of silver beet and pick a few leaves from each plant every few days, which gives me many bunches over the months that I harvest them. Just one bunch of silver beet from a supermarket can cost around $4.00. The many bunches of produce you will harvest, will cover the cost of a punnet of seedlings and a bag of potting mix many times over. I would probably try about 4 seedlings to a large pot.
Later as you gain confidence you could tackle building a small garden bed, improving the soil slowly with organic matter, then eventually growing from seed. All this can build over time and before you know it you’ll be surprised what your can grow at home, even in the smallest of yards. Gardening need not be expensive, it is amazing what can be achieved with composting kitchen scraps and using grass clippings to improve your soil. I am just suggesting that starting a potted garden, as a first step can be the baby step to get you started.