Creating an at home garden is a great way to get outdoors, reduce stress, and provide food for your family. Below are some basics of gardening to help get you started. If you have questions, please reach out to the Sustainability Coordinator.
Types of gardens
There are 4 basic types of home gardens:
|Traditional Row||Raised Bed||Container||Hydroponics|
|In ground planting||Boxes built above ground||Good for small spaces (like balconies)||Does not require soil|
|Raised on mounds or flat||Contains plants & reduces weeds||Indoor or outdoor||Indoor or outdoor|
|Best option for larger gardens||Reduces bending & ground prep||Need to ensure proper pot size for plant||High yield for limited space|
Planning your garden
When deciding what type of garden you will have and what types of plants you should plant, there are a few things you should consider.
- How big will the plant get?
- How much room do you have?
- How many hours of sun does your space get?
- Is the sunlight direct or indirect?
- Are there other plants or buildings that will shade your plants?
- What type of soil do you have - sand, clay, etc?
- Will you need to add compost or additional soil?
- What agriculture zone are you in (Oldsmar is Zone 9b)?
- When is the best time to plant?
Certain plants complement each other when planted together. By utilizing companion plants, you can help boost growth and flavor of both crops. Companion plants also act as a natural pest and week repellent in many cases. For a list of common companion plants, contact the Sustainability Coordinator.
Weeds and Pests
"Weeds" are plants growing where you do not want them to be. Though there are common plants that are generally considered weeds, one man's weed is another man's treasure. For example, most gardeners consider dandelions weeds, but foragers love dandelion as a tasty addition to their salads.
|Weed Control||Pest Control|
|Mulch - suppresses weed growth||Insect netting - blocks pests from plants|
|Hand digging - removes at root, but labor intensive||Trap crop - sacrificial plant that draws pests away from other crops|
|Newspaper - will block sunlight to weeds||Timely harvest - over-ripe crops invite insects|
|Cornmeal - sprinkle after desired plants are established||Hand picking - remove pest or eggs by hand, time consuming|
|Vinegar - spray directly on weed on sunny day||Crop rotation - plant different crops throughout the year|
|Salt - sprinkle around base of weed, too much can make soil uninhabitable for all plants||Beneficial insects - encourage insects that prey on pests|
Common problems to avoid
- Wrong location - planting a healthy plant in the wrong place can cause it to die. Make sure you determine the light, soil, and drainage of the location before choosing crops to plant.
- Pool soil - Even if you have the right plant in the right place, poor soil can stunt or decrease growth of your plant. To ensure greater success add compost, organic matter, or other amendments to your soil to promote healthy growth.
- Over watering - Most people think that under watering is the biggest problem for plants, but often times over watering is worse. Over watering causes root rot and can literally drown your plant. Having a simple moisture meter will help ensure you are watering appropriately.
- Too many plants/seeds - Planting too many plants in a plot will cause competition for resources and reduce productivity of your garden. Before planting determine the fully grown size of your plants and space them accordingly. If you see too many plants in a space, remove the smallest plant(s) to give the hardiest ones a better chance of survival.
Oldsmar Organic Community Garden
In 2012 the City of Oldsmar donated land to the Oldsmar Organic Community Garden (OOCG) in Bicentennial Park to start a community garden open to residents. The OOCG established 501c(3) nonprofit status in 2014 and has been growing ever since. The garden rents plots to residents to use and hosts educational activities throughout the year. To learn more about the garden visit ww.OOCG.org.
For local planting guides contact the Sustainability Coordinator or visit the sites below.