From Container Gardens to Backyard Plots: A Beginner's Guide to Gardening (No Matter Where You Live!)

Whether you live in an apartment or a house with a big backyard, get inspired to start your own edible garden with practical -- and totally doable -- tips from first lady Michelle Obama and the White House Kitchen Garden team (17 Photos)

Rachel Gray on Aug 27, 2012 at 10:37AM

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From Container Gardens to Backyard Plots: A Beginner's Guide to Gardening (No Matter Where You Live!)

Denise Taylor/Flickr/Getty Images

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Getting Started: Choose Your Space

You can create a thriving edible garden whether you have a humble windowsill or a sprawling backyard. The first steps in your gardening adventure -- whatever the size -- are the same. Educate yourself on basic gardening tips from soil preparation to plant selection, as you prepare to create something meaningful with your own two hands.

Containers
If you’re limited on time and space, planting a container garden is a great alternative to in-ground planting. Sunny patios, rooftops, doorsteps and window sills can become a bountiful garden with a few clay pots or plastic containers. Get creative -- anything that holds soil and drains water will work.

In-Ground Backyard
Gardens require a lot sun, so finding the right sunny space is essential to gardening success -- and an important first step in planning your backyard garden. Observe your yard and choose a portion that receives at least six hours of sun per day. You’ll also need space for rows and areas for walking so you can easily tend to your crops. Steaks, string and labels are helpful for organizing rows.

Raised Beds
Consider backyard gardening with a raised bed -- a large planting box filled with soil that elevates your garden six inches to three feet above ground. The benefits of raised beds are mainly optimal soil aeration and drainage, which helps plants grow better and produce vegetable yields. But you might prefer raised beds for their ease of access -- they require less bending and tip-toeing around rows than in-grown gardens. Buy wooden or plastic raised beds, or create your own with concrete blocks or boards.

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