¿Pensando en crear un huerto? Cómo empezar a cultivar tus propias hortalizas

Posted By: Adrian Medina

Surely you've heard a thousand times that: "The fruits and vegetables that you grow yourself are healthier and much richer."

And it is true.

In fact, more and more people are deciding to create their own orchards.

If you also want to encourage yourself, keep reading, because in this post we are going to tell you how to start an orchard.

Put on your gloves and grab the hoe, and let's get started.

How to start an orchard step by step

These are the steps you must follow when creating your orchard.

Huerto al sol. Flirck

1. Find a bright place First

First, make sure that the area where you are going to plant your vegetables receives enough light.

There are certain species (such as tomato or aubergine) that while they are growing may need up to 6 hours of daily sun exposure. So it is important to find a well-lit corner. 

Avoid corners with walls that block the sun or that are very close to trees with leafy crowns. 

If this is difficult for you because you have a very small orchard, don't worry, it will be enough to choose species that need less exposure to light.

Huertos. Flickr

2. Start small

Having your own orchard is a very rewarding task, especially once you start to see how the plants you have planted grow and germinate.

But if you are not used to it, it will take time to adapt to all the care you need.

Therefore, unless you have been gardening for a long time, our recommendation is that you start with a small plot in which to plant your first vegetables and improve your horticultural skills.

Later there will be time to expand the terrain, but at first do not be in a hurry.

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3. Prepare the soil.

Are you already sure where you are going to start your orchard?

Then it was time to grab the gloves and get to work.

The most normal thing is that the piece of soil you have chosen is not ready to host the seeds. So first you have to clean it up.

Depending on the condition of the ground, this may take time, but don't be in a rush. Think that a land in good condition can be the difference between whether your vegetables germinate or not.

In general, these are the steps you should follow:

  • Remove weeds: if you work on abandoned land, the most normal thing is that it is covered with weeds. You have to make sure you root it out so it doesn't sprout again. Another option is to clean the entire area with a herbicide.

  • Rake the soil: the objective is to remove the soil to aerate the soil, but also to remove the stones that are semi-buried and that may hinder the growth of the roots. During this process it is also possible that you will find some caterpillars that feed on the roots of the plants, so it is good that you remove them from the ground.

  • Apply the compost: by mixing the soil with a good layer of compost, your plants will have the necessary nutrients to germinate. In addition, if the soil is clayey, you should add a mixture with peat that retains moisture but prevents puddling. If you need it, you can take a look at this post about the different types of soil that you can use.

This work can take between an afternoon and several days, depending on the state of the land and the extension. But then your plants will appreciate it.

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4. Decide which irrigation system you are going to use

. Why do we mention irrigation now?

Very easy.

In the event that you have a small orchard and daily time to dedicate to it, you can get by with a simple watering can.

But the moment it starts to grow, or if you want your plants to be a little more independent, then you will need to install an automatic irrigation system that activates at the same time every day.

The most common is to use a drip irrigation system, which also saves a lot of water and prevents flooding.

If you decide to install this system you will have to place it before starting to work in the orchard.

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5. Choose what you are going to sow

Once you have everything prepared, it is time to choose the species you are going to sow.

And be careful, we are not just talking about vegetables.

Good farmers know that in addition to lettuce, onions and tomatoes there are many other species that they can grow, either because they serve to dress their dishes or because they protect the crops.

At the end of this post we give you several ideas, but before that: what do you have to take into account to choose the plants for your orchard?

In general, we recommend that you follow these three criteria:

  • The light they need: as we said before, there are plants that require many hours of light a day and others that need less.

  • That they are native species: if they are plants that are grown in your climate, they will adapt better, they will survive with much less care, and they will also need less water (natural rainfall could even be enough).

  • Your own tastes: what are you a strawberry lover? Well, you plant strawberries. What are you thinking of making a lot of recipes with tomatoes and you always lack? Plant tomatoes. In the end, all this effort that you are going to make has to be rewarded.

Of course, remember to always leave space when sowing the seeds so that, when they germinate and grow, the plants do not step on each other.

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6. Mulch the soil

Once you have sown the seeds, it is important that you mulch the soil with a layer of organic matter (such as sawdust or straw, for example). 

This layer will protect the plants from changes in temperature, maintaining a regular temperature in the soil that will prevent the cold from affecting the roots.

In addition, the mulch is also good to prevent the appearance of weeds.

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7. Where there is an orchard, there are pests

It is important that you inform yourself about the pests that suffer the most from the plants you have chosen.

Each species has its own enemies (from aphids to snails to spider mites) and it is important that you are prepared to fight them.

In this sense, you can use some type of phytosanitary that prevents the appearance of these pests and keeps your plants safe.

What plants can you plant in your orchard?

Finally, we erred with some ideas of plants that you can sow apart from vegetables.

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Aromatic plants

Also called culinary. You can imagine why, right?

These species are essential in an orchard, and they will serve you to catch them directly and use them in your meals. 

In addition, with aromatic plants, it is the same as with vegetables: when you take them and use them fresh, their flavour is much more noticeable.

Some possible plants are

Also, during the summer you can also plant parsley, basil and dill (the rest of this list you can have all year round).

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Flowers

Does this sound strange to you?

Well, you should know that flowers are the best friends in any orchard.

Thus, plants such as lavender or rosemary are widely used to scare away some pests, because their aroma repels these unwanted visitors.

On the other hand, dahlias, marigolds and other flowering plants attract pollinating insects and ladybugs (which eat aphids). 

So remember to leave a space for your flowers.

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Fruit trees

Finally, fruit trees cannot be absent from any orchard, whether they are:

  • Granatum (which also takes on a beautiful red colour during autumn).

  • Orange tree.

  • Olive.

  • Red cherry (another spectacular fall tree).

  • Mango.

  • Lemon Tree.

  • Avocado.

  • Mandarin.

Remember that each species prefers a different area to grow.

Do you need help to start your orchard?

We can help you.

If you have any questions regarding the most suitable species for your area or the fertilizers and phytosanitary products that you should use, you just have to contact us through this form.

Giving life to your plants (even those in your orchard) is our specialty.

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