3 elements to consider before you get your green thumb on

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      So you want to build your own edible garden at home but have no idea where to start? Before you even set foot in your local garden centre, there are a few elements of your existing space—and eating habits—to consider. We’ve tapped principal and cofounder of LifeSpace Gardens—and all-around growing pro—Wesley Hooper for the goods.

      Your diet

      It may seem obvious, but Hooper stresses that the first question you should ask yourself prior to planting is, “What do you like to eat?”

      Growing produce that you genuinely enjoy not only increases the likelihood that you’ll keep up with your new hobby but also allows you to experiment and get your hands on products that aren’t available in stores.

      “Commercial growers focus on durability, like: ‘How easily can these be shipped 10 miles?’ ” Hooper says. “Whereas if you grow locally, you can experience flavours that, quite literally, money can’t buy, and it’s really incredible.”

      Your space restrictions

      Before investing in seeds or seedlings, it’s important to consider how much room your garden has to grow into. But just because you’re strapped for square footage doesn’t mean you should give up.

      “You’re in a compact space, so grow things that are compact,” Hooper says. “And there are some amazing varieties that are just that.”

      Your petite balcony may not be ideal for a full tomato vine, but Tiny Tim cherry tomatoes—one of Hooper’s fave veggies to harvest—are a great alternative.

      Your light exposure

      Unless you are blessed with a south-facing apartment or condo, you’ll want to assess your outdoor area’s natural-light situation.

      If you find your space mostly shaded throughout the day, consider a menu that’s more tolerant of low levels of sunlight. Think kale, spinach, and collards, plus veggies like beets, broccoli, and radishes, for optimal—and delicious—results.

      “There’s almost always, always, always something you can grow,” Hooper stresses.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.