steps to a healthy garden
Posted in: Homesteaders, Organic Gardening

Healthy Garden Tips: The 12 Best Practices for a Productive Garden

Your garden needs healthy soil to produce quality food. Use these tips to improve the healthy of your garden for the most nutritious produce this season.

12 Tips for a Healthy Garden

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Step one to growing your own garden is making sure you have healthy soil in which to plant your seeds or transplants. Healthy soil leads to healthy plants and healthy plants give us healthy food to eat, which leads to healthier living overall! So if you’re looking to start growing your own veggies, herbs, or flowers this season, here are 12 tips on how to grow a healthy garden and keep it going strong.

This post is all about 12 Simple Tips for a Healthy Garden.

12 Tips for a Healthy Garden

Ready for an Amazing Garden Season? Here are 12 Simple Tips to a Healthy Garden.

Growing a Healthy Garden can be fun and easy!

Gardening is something that you can do to help clean up your own body and soul. It can also give you a chance to eat sustainable food that you’ve grown yourself, which is always a better choice than any store-bought fruits or vegetables.

It’s something everyone should consider doing at least once in their life, so take some time to learn how to start gardening today!

12 Tips for a healthy garden

1) Build Healthy Soil

The very first thing you need to know about having a healthy garden is how to grow healthy soil.

Healthy soil is like a teddy bear—cuddly, furry and stuffed with nutrients. In gardening, healthy soil is an indication of an overall healthy garden.

Healthy soil helps create healthy plants, which ultimately gives you more food to harvest throughout the year. Although it may sound complicated at first, there are many different ways to help grow healthy plants and create a healthy ecosystem in your backyard.

Gardeners grow soil, not plants! Everything that you do in your garden needs to provide nourishment for the soil. When you learn how to cultivate healthy soil, healthy plants will emerge.

Tips for Building Healthy Soil

  1. Never Till Your Garden!
  2. Build raised beds with layering methods like Back to Eden and No Dig Gardening
  3. Only use natural and organic fertilizers like rabbit manure and select compost.
  4. Mulch around your plants with nutrient-dense plants, grass clippings, leaves, and wood chips.
  5. Create an In-garden Compost Bin.

Read more about how to cultivate healthy garden soil.

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2) Sow Healthy Seeds

Get to know the types of garden seeds. Choosing high quality seeds will save time when planning your garden for the year.

Heirloom seeds are selected from a generation of plants that have been grown for many years. These plants are open-pollinated, which means that bees and other pollinators. They produce the same plant each generation without hybridizing with similar nearby species. Heirlooms are hardy, nutritious, and preferred among gardeners.

Organic seeds are selected from plants that have not been grown with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. These seeds are generally certified by the USDA here in America and are not from genetically modified plants.

Hybrid seeds are created from cross-pollination between two plants of the same variety. You will see a lot of hybrid tomatoes on the market! Tomatoes are fun to manipulate because they have 31,760 genes! That makes for a lot of different traits like (size and shape) that can be expressed through selection.

However, if it is really good taste and nutrient density that you prefer, heirloom tomatoes are the way to go.

Pro-tip: F1 means Filial 1, or first generation. Do not worry about saving seeds from an F1 hybrid plant, as the seeds will not produce true plants.

12 Tips for a Healthy Garden
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tips for a healthy garden

3) Water The Plants

Watering is an important part of a healthy garden. If you don’t water your plants, they will die. If you water them too much, they will suffer and grow poorly.

Make sure to only water when necessary to prevent over watering which can cause root rot and other issues. Water each plant thoroughly at least once per week but no more than three times per week.

Pro-tip: Rain is better than tap water! Have you ever noticed how plants seem to come alive after a rain shower in the summertime? Rain contains nitrates that plants use to grow lush, green leaves.

Consider collecting rainwater in a barrel for plant irrigation. This is such a great way to maximize the health of your plants. Also, you would be saving water!

tips for a healthy garden

4) Work with the “Weeds”

Weeding takes a lot of time, but it’s absolutely essential to maintaining a healthy garden. Since weeds steal precious water and nutrients from your plants, you can literally starve them to death by letting them grow unchecked.

That being said, there are some weeds that I use as fill-in ground cover over the cooler months in my garden! Chickweed is one of my favorites. In our garden zone 8A, it comes in the winter and stays until the last threat of frost has passed. It grows from an easy-to-pull taproot, but spreads to fill in the garden, which keeps harder to manage weeds out!

This weed may seem like a nuisance, but in my young garden, this type of ground cover has helped cover the roots of other vegetables and greens. With the help of chickweed, they survived a few freezing weeks of snow and ice.

Chickweed is edible, highly nutritious, and the rabbit loves it! When it is time to plant the spring garden, I pull up all the chickweed, mulch it, and return it to the garden beds for a dose of nutrition that the worms love!

5) Use Organic Fertilizer

You might be surprised to learn that more fertilizer is not better. In fact, over-fertilizing your plants can upset their natural balance and make them more susceptible to insects and diseases.

Instead of throwing large quantities of fertilizer at your plants every week, use a small amount regularly—and focus on organic fertilizers, like fish meal or composted cow manure.

These natural options are much better for your plants and your local environment than chemical ones.

TFH Tips for a Healthy Garden: Natural and Organic Fertilizers

Rabbit Poop (no composting needed)

grass clippings (mulch)

Old Garden Vegetation (mulched)

Homemade Compost

In the Garden Compost Bucket

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12 Tips for a Healthy Garden

6) Keep A Calendar Of Gardening Activities

It might seem like a no-brainer, but keeping a calendar can help you avoid over-or under-watering your plants. By jotting down when you planted and irrigated each crop, you’ll know when to expect your flowers or veggies to begin sprouting.

Keeping a calendar also lets you keep track of which crops require extra care, like pruning or staking.

If you are a real nerd (like me), keep a journal or notebook in your garden shed, and take notes! Note the dates you plant seeds, note the weather conditions, and then you can compare data the next year.

The best part about gardening for me is experimentation and growing from all my mistakes. Have fun with it! Also, a journal is a great way to remember which seeds you planted. When you have a beautiful harvest and cannot remember what you planted, you will be glad you wrote it down!

7) Watch Out For Pests!

Nothing kills a vegetable garden faster than a couple pesky bugs. Take time to inspect your plants when they’re just starting to grow, and identify any areas where pests are likely to congregate.

Create traps for them, or use organic pest control if you prefer that method. Either way, get them out of your garden before they have a chance to destroy your hard work!

Use this quick garden companion planting reference to save time!

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tips for a healthy garden

8) Plant Companion Plants Together

Companion planting is a method of growing different plants together so that they enhance each other’s growth. For example, plant a carrot next to some celery or onions, which will attract beneficial insects, who will also pollinate your vegetables and fruit trees.

This makes companion planting an excellent technique for organic farming and gardening. Also, try planting flowers in your garden around vegetables to attract beneficial insects as well as butterflies and birds, which will keep pests at bay while improving pollination on all of your plant.

Tomatoes and marigolds make great companions! Here is a free download about companion plants.

9) Diversity is Important for a Healthy Garden

Diversity is vital to a well-functioning ecosystem. Your garden is no different. Row-by-row gardening is a thing of the past.

A healthy garden benefits from a multitude of species insects, worms, animals, plants, microbes, and fungi. Planting several types of plants together can improve soil quality, plant production, and reduce pests.

10) Mulch with Grass Clippings

Mulching your garden can help keep weeds down and helps retain water, but you don’t have to spend money on mulch—just mulch with grass clippings from a previous mowing.

Grass clippings are biodegradable and free, so grab them when you mow next time. If you can’t mulch with grass clippings, consider another form of organic matter (i.e., straw or sawdust) for your garden beds to retain moisture in the soil.

12 Tips for a Healthy Garden

11) Spend Time Observing Your Garden’s Ecosystem

I hope you have a chair or bench in your garden. It is a sanctuary for me. Everyone needs a place to go relax and find peace. Also, it’s important to pay attention to how your garden is doing.

However, life can get busy and you might not want to be checking in every other day.

If you can’t get outside everyday, aim for at least once a week to see what is working and what isn’t.

This will help you determine if any changes need to be made, as well as inspire you for future tasks!

12) Apply Permaculture Principles

Considered a subset of ecological design, permaculture is a way of growing plants in relation to each other, as well as in relation to animals.

Some elements of permaculture that can be applied to your garden include intercropping (planting flowers among vegetables and herbs), companion planting (placing plants that benefit each other next to one another) and mulching (an age-old practice that involves covering bare soil with non-compostable material).

12 Tips for a Healthy Garden

  1. Build Healthy Soil
  2. Sow Healthy Seeds
  3. Water the Plants
  4. Work with the “Weeds”
  5. Use Organic Fertilizers
  6. Keep a Calendar of Gardening Activities
  7. Watch Out for Pests
  8. Plant Companion Plants Together
  9. Diversity is Important for a Healthy Garden
  10. Mulch to Feed the Soil
  11. Spend Time Observing Your Garden’s Ecosystem
  12. Apply Permaculture Principles

Gardening doesn’t need to be all hard work. With a few simple steps, you can have a productive, beautiful and healthy garden. This post was all about 12 Easy Tips for a Healthy Garden.


Learn About Sustainability

Knowing your food and taking responsibility for how it is produced is the best way to make a positive ecological impact.

You are reducing waste and resources while relying less on conventional agriculture and its use of pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate.

Most importantly, you will be eating the healthiest way possible!

Find out how to be more self-sufficient by gardening for sustainability.

Are you on a journey to be more self-sufficient?

Have you checked these essential gardening components off the list, yet? I would love to hear how it is going! Let me know about how gardening for self-sufficiency is working for you and your tribe by commenting below.

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