women working in garden



“Self-reliance is a product of our work and undergirds all other welfare practices. It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being” (Thomas S. Monson, “Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare,” Liahona, Feb. 1987, 5).

Planting a garden, even a small one, allows for a greater degree of self-reliance. With the right information and a little practice, individuals and entire families can enjoy the many benefits of planting and tending a garden.

The following information is provided to help you prepare your garden.

Planning a Garden

As you begin to plan and prepare for a garden, here are a few general reminders:

  • Vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight a day.

  • The garden site should be relatively level. If there is a steep slope, run rows of plants across it to prevent erosion.

  • It is a good idea to spade (mix) the soil to a depth of 12 to 14 inches. Adding organic matter such as manure, peat moss, or leaves will benefit the soil.

  • Be careful with fertilizer. All fertilizers have a three-digit code. For vegetable gardens, look for 8-8-8 or 16-16-16.

  • The simplest way to eliminate plant pests is to remove insects, worms, or eggs by hand. Some shake-on powder or liquid bug sprays are relatively safe to use.

  • Proper depth for planting seeds is approximately four times as deep as the seed is thick.

Gardening in Containers

If you don’t have a traditional garden plot, you can plant vegetables and herbs in containers that fit on driveways, balconies, roofs, and even window sills. This activity can be interesting and rewarding for adults and children alike.

Related Topics


“A Desolate Land Blossoms”

Learning Resources

General Resources

Grow Your Own Garden,” Youth Activities

Church Magazines

Allie Schulte, “Seeds of Self-Reliance,” Ensign, March 2011

Amie Jane Leavitt, “Gardening Time,” Friend, April 2009

Val Chadwick Bagley, “Family Gardening,” Friend, June 2010