Growing a vegetable garden in our own backyards has been a steadily growing trend in the recent years. With how cities and towns are becoming more and more urban, the streets are getting filled and landscapes are littered with high-rise buildings, condominiums and apartments. In this environment, more people are starting to clamor for healthier lifestyles and diet options.
It comes as no surprise that vegetable gardening poses great promise as an option for this. Vegetable gardening allows you the freedom to choose which food you want to grow and when you want to grow them. It also gives you the security of knowing how your food was produced. This gives you the assurance that no commercially made or highly toxic fertilizers, preservatives or pesticides were used without your knowledge. Studies have shown that gardening has actually helped reduce health-related risks such as Parkinson’s, breast cancer, prostate cancer, depression and more. With vegetable gardening, you can also save money by having your grocery store right at your backyard. If you suddenly need a fresh batch of tomatoes for your pasta dish, you can find them in your backyard without the hassle of driving all the way to the grocery store and purchasing them.
So how exactly does one start a vegetable garden? Don’t fret! Starting your own vegetable garden requires commitment, time and planning, but it’s a simple task overall.
Start smart. Starting smart means that you start with a small garden first. One of the most common mistakes usually committed by beginner gardeners is planting too many and too quickly. This makes it more difficult for the gardeners in the long run to maintain the garden they started. Because of this, the vegetables are left uncared for and unconsumed.
In order to start smart, it’s suggested that you first review what vegetables you most consume. This is to help you create a more compact garden that produces vegetables you would actually consume in the future. It should also be in an amount that’s realistic for you. You can start first with a few containers or a small patch of land. Maybe you could even start with one to three types of vegetables first until you are used to growing and tending to vegetable plants. You wouldn’t want your plants to grow to an unmanageable level. A sufficient size for a beginner vegetable garden is about 16×10 feet and has crops that are not difficult or complex to grow. This amount of vegetables can feed up to four people for three months time. You can lessen the amount of vegetables you will plant in order to fit the needs of your household, or adjust the size of your vegetable patch in order to accommodate the size and space of your home.
When it comes to selecting the right kind of vegetables to plant, it’s best if you go for the vegetables that are common in people’s diets and are also part of yours. Aside from that, another consideration is how easy or difficult it would be nurture these vegetables. For example, some of the vegetables that are easier to plant are tomatoes, zucchini squash, cabbage, bush beans, lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes, chard, and peppers. You can start with any of these as you see fit.
The start date of when you will plant is also crucial. Different types of plants and vegetables require differing times of when they are best to plant. Some vegetables flourish better in warm seasons, while some flourish better when planted in cold seasons. You can look into this more as you go along the decision-making process.
Plant in a sunny location. Vegetables need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. The more sunlight they receive, the more your vegetables produce bountiful harvests and better taste. This is because healthy amounts of sunlight helps facilitate photosynthesis in plants, a process by which your vegetables process and breakdown the water and nutrients they receive from the soil. This helps produce your vegetables’ food, which in turn helps your vegetables become healthier and tastier.
If you don’t have an outdoor location where it could be possible for you to grow your vegetable garden, try to find a location with a lot sunlight for your plants indoors. If you prefer to create a container garden and it’s still of top priority then this might be your best option. In this case, you can position your container garden near your window sill or other sunny areas in your house.
Plant in good soil. Plants’ roots penetrate soft soil easily, so you need nice loamy soil. Good soil is important for your vegetables to grow because your soil stores the nutrients that the roots of your vegetables absorb. These nutrients help your vegetables grow in a healthy manner. This is because they’re affected by by the micro-organisms present in your soil. To prepare good soil for your vegetables, you can also use compost in order to enrich the soil further. Creating compost is easy. You can use regular kitchen waste, or animal manure as compost.
Good soil is not just about the nutrients it contains but also about how much space there is inside the soil to allow for air and water to pass. Growing vegetables in soil and containers that have good drainage allows for the air and water to reach the roots effectively, helping the plant to grow and absorb more nutrients into its system.
Space your crops properly. An example here is corn. They need a lot of space to grow. Corn can overshadow other plants when not spaced properly, ridding them of the sunlight they need to grow. If your vegetables are too close together, they don’t get the amount of sunlight, water and air they each individually need. This leads them to not grow correctly.
Purchase high-quality seeds from distributors you trust. Give notice to the seed packets and where they come from. If your seeds don’t germinate effectively, they most likely will never grow at all. Spending a little extra money on high-quality seeds will pay off in the long-run, especially during harvesting season.