The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Food at the Cabin
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The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Food at the Cabin

Written by Nicole McCray


 Photo: Megan Thomas / Unsplash


There’s nothing better than cooking with fresh herbs and veggies, especially if you’ve grown them yourself. But if you want to grow food at the cabin, finding enough space and the right sun exposure could present a challenge. 

The good news is, many herbs and vegetables will grow just fine in partial shade, and with a little ingenuity, you can grow a lot of food in a small space. Here are our top strategies for overcoming these obstacles and turning your cabin’s garden into a tasty success!


Container Gardens

If your outdoor space is limited to a deck or patio, a container garden with veggies, herbs and small fruits may be the perfect solution! The great thing about container gardens is that the plants can be moved around depending on how much sun exposure they need. 

If you can provide the appropriate environment and enough space, you can grow almost anything in a container, even a small fruit tree. Container gardens are easy to care for and can be configured to work with your space. You can scale them up or down, based on the amount of time and space you want to invest.


Indoor Vertical Gardens

Indoor vertical farming systems allow you to grow a lot of food in a small space. You can take advantage of vertical space by incorporating trellises and hanging planters. In fact, herbs and leafy greens do fantastic in vertical gutter gardens hung right on the wall.

Or, you can grow tomatoes, peas, pole beans and even cucumbers with support in front of a sunny window. For an indoor vertical garden that’s extremely low maintenance, try a DIY hydroponics system. And don’t forget you can add grow lights to supplement natural sunlight coming through the cabin windows for even more flexibility!


Square Foot Gardening in Raised Beds

If you have enough room for a few raised garden beds, you can make the best use of your space with the square foot gardening method. Not only does this method allow you to plan out your garden by the square foot, but it also reduces the need to weed since the plants are grown so close together.

The beauty of raised beds is that you can add your own soil. Roots, rocks and poor soil at the cabin won’t be an issue. You could even build your raised beds waist high to eliminate the need to bend over, which can make gardening much more enjoyable.


Food Forests and Edible Landscaping

Food forests and edible landscaping involve planting food-bearing perennials instead of ornamentals. It’s a fantastic way to grow food at the cabin because it allows you to utilize your entire property for growing food.

For example, lawns can be turned into garden beds, flower beds can be utilized for fruit-bearing bushes and herbs that are both edible and beautiful, and even the woodsy areas near your cabin can be planted with trees, bushes and ground covers that produce a harvest.


Some Final Tips for Beginner Gardeners

Now that you’ve got some great ideas for where to grow food at the cabin, you’ll want to consider which plants you’re going to grow. Be sure to do some research on space and lighting requirements before you make any final decisions.

If you’ll be gardening mostly in containers, varieties labeled as dwarf, bush or those labeled specifically for containers will be the most space-efficient. Keep in mind that while many food-producing plants prefer at least six hours of sunlight each day, others do fine in partial shade, especially on summer afternoons when it’s very hot. 

In general, fruiting plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries require the most direct sunlight. Leafy greens, root vegetables and herbs usually do fine in partial shade. Assess your space carefully before you plant, choose your varieties wisely, and you can have a fantastic harvest at the cabin, even if you don’t have a lot of space!


See also: The Ultimate Guide to Cabin and Cottage Gardens

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