In Detroit, there aren’t many activities that satisfy the fun, inexpensive and educational criterion that maintaining a home garden does. Because of the assortment of tasks that are involved in growing one’s own produce, the whole gardening process can be made a family affair.

1. The Soil
When starting a garden, the soil is one of the most important factor for success. It’s a good idea to check out the Web Soil Survey online to learn about the land in your region. The survey provides geographical maps and soil data for Michigan.

If all else fails, it is possible to buy a large quantity of soil and have it delivered to the home in order to get the garden started. But, be sure to ask these questions before purchase:

  1. What is the pH balance of soil?
  2. Has the soil been screened for rocks and weeds?
  3. What can be mixed in with soil?

2. The Seeds
Onions, beets, cabbage and several other frost-loving plants can thrive in Detroit. Generally, seeds are the most inexpensive items when establishing a garden, but price should not be the guiding factor that decides what seeds a new gardener should purchase–practicality should be. When starting out, pick plants that are low maintenance.

Only plant the seeds of a plant you or your family members will actually eat. An added bonus to this is that children will be more inclined to eat a vegetable if it was one they helped grow.

3. Talk to Other Gardeners
It’s imperative to talk to those who have successfully bloomed and maintained a garden–especially those in your neighborhood. Compare and contrast techniques and products and even the quality and taste of the resulting produce.

This tip costs nothing and yet is exponentially beneficial, not only because a little friendly competition could be helpful in mastering the tricks of the trade, but also because enthusiasm for a shared activity can often be infectious. Once you’re an old pro, be sure and pay it forward with your acquired knowledge and experience.

4. Designate An Area
Stray animals and nature’s pests can be big threats to the success of a vegetable garden. For this reason, it is important that some kind of visible parameter is set around–and penetrates a few inches beneath the soil of–the cultivating area. We recommend fencing in a three-by-five foot plot of land for a first garden. Redford’s Anchor Fence offers free estimates for a variety of fences online.

5. Start Planting
The only thing left to do is to plant the seeds. Be sure to read labels carefully for each and to follow every step consistently. The instructions are there for a reason. Aside from casually weeding on a day to day basis, this stage necessitates patience and waiting. Plants won’t grow any faster if you watch or worry, so just relax after all your hard work and prepare to reap the good of what you’ve sowed.

Bordine Nursery
1835 S. Rochester Road
Rochester Hills, MI 48307
(248) 651-9000

Bordine Nursery has four locations and can provide soil in bulk for the Detroit customer starting in May.

The English Garden
22650 Ford Road at Outer Drive
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
(313) 278-4433

The English Gardens in Dearborn Heights has both nursery and florist personnel to help in choosing the best seeds for one’s particular needs and to talk to about any other gardening concerns.

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSDetroit/YourHome.

Related: New Community Garden Debuts in Detroit
Related: Best Garden Supplies and Nurseries in Detroit

Sakina Al-Amin writes regularly for an accumulating number of online publications, but has dreams of one day being a spokesperson. She resides in the metro Detroit area with her husband. Her work can be found at