Vegetable gardening is becoming more popular both as a pastime and a food source. We experience satisfaction in planting a seed or transplant, watching it grow to maturity, and harvesting the fruits of our labours. In addition, vegetable gardening offers a good source of exercise, with the added benefits of healthy snacks and food for the table. However, In this comprehensive guide, we cover how to start a vegetable garden from scratch, which vegetables to grow, and when to plant what. We have also added a “starter” garden plan consisting of easy-to-grow vegetables, companion planting techniques, and some lovely flowers…
Vegetable Gardening Explined
Vegetable gardening consists of selecting a site, planning the garden, preparing the soil, choosing the seeds and plants, planting a crop, and nurturing the plants until they are ready for harvest. The end result is fresh produce to eat, share, or sell.
Anyone who is willing to invest some time every day or two to nurture the plants can grow a vegetable garden. It does not take a lot of money, time, or talent, although some of each would be helpful. With patience and practice, your skills will improve every year. Do not be discouraged if the first attempt isn’t a huge success.
Growing vegetables takes some space, but not necessarily acres. A vegetable garden can be in the ground or in a planting bed, but it does not have to be too larg. Many vegetables can be grown in containers. For example, enough lettuce for a salad can be grown in a 12-inch pot on the back deck. Add a few radishes and carrots, also grown in 12-inch containers, for spice and sweetness, and you have a good start on a delicious salad.
Success, however, takes more than just a time and a place to grow the vegetables. They need sunlight, water, air, soil, fertilizer, and care.
How To Prepare Your Garding: Steps To Take
Growing a home vegetable garden may sound daunting, but it actually only takes a few simple steps (and patience) to make it happen. I admaire Aaron Choi, farmer and owner of Girl & Dug Farms in San Marcos, CA, which grows a lot of specialty produce for chefs and ships curated vegetable boxes nationwide to get his tips for building a raised bed that will fit in almost any outdoor space, choosing what veggies are best for your garden, and how to take care of them from seed to harvest. Below, he shares a foolproof plan for starting your own garden, no matter what climate or part of the country you live in.
Choose what types of vegetables you want to grow: Before you even build your vessel for planting vegetables set out land for the planting, you need to know how much space you’ll need to grow, so choosing crops is the first step. If you are planting in late summer (July and August), regardless of where you live, Choi says the easiest starter plants are herbs such as cilantro, basil, or rosemary. “They will grow like weeds and are very difficult to kill,” he explains. (If you have an abundance of herbs, you can even dry them yourself and replace your old dusty bottles of spices in the back of the cupboard.)
Others that are relatively easy and can be ready to harvest in two to four months are carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and winter squash. If you want more instant gratification, Choi’s top pick are small radishes such as Easter egg or breakfast radishes that only take 20 to 33 days to grow and are tiny and adorable with mild in flavor because they are young.
If you want to experiment with growing your own lettuces and greens, Choi recommends arugula or mustard greens, and once you are comfortable with them, try to grow kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, peas, and beans. Once you have your dream list of vegetables to grow, you can start planning where they will grow.Choose a convenient site in full sun with easy access to water and fertile, well-drained soil. Avoid areas near trees and large shrubs that will compete with the garden for sunlight, water, and nutrients.
However, we can also breake it futher i steps
Planning:Gardening is not as easy as simply planting a seed or transplant and watching the plant grow. Once a site is selected, there will be several other questions to consider in the planning phase.We have different types of garden, such as
- Container gardens: Many vegetables can be grown in containers that are deep enough to support their root systems. Containers may range from as small as a 12-inch flowerpot to a half whisky barrel. The bigger the container, the easier it is to be successful. The larger the mature plant, the larger the container needs to be.
Vegetables that do well in containers include beans, beets, carrots, collards, cucumbers, eggplants, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuces, mustard greens, peas, peppers, potatoes, spinach, squash, Swiss chard, and tomatoes. Mix and match vegetables in one container for extended beauty and harvest. Containers require more frequent irrigation than gardens, especially as the plants grow and require more water. A drip irrigation system connected to a timer is a great addition to a container garden
- Raised beds: A variety of materials can be used to construct raised beds, but do not use materials that might leach chemicals into the soil, such as old railroad ties. The soil in raised beds will heat up more quickly in the spring and stay warm long into the fall. Vegetables in raised beds will require more frequent irrigation than those in an in-ground garden. When planned and planted properly, one 4-foot by 8-foot raised bed may supply a good portion of the product for one or two people. The addition of trellises provides vertical gardening and increases the space available to vining plants like cucumbers and beans.
- In-ground gardens: Larger areas allow gardeners to choose traditional row gardening or gardening in beds. While a row garden is easier to manage with a tractor for planting, harvesting, and other garden chores, planting in a bed makes better use of available space. Using beds allows for several rows to be planted closer together, shading weed seeds and preventing them from growing later in the season. Beds may require a bit more labour to plant initially. But when planted correctly, beds can reduce the need for weeding later in the season. You can also incorporate vegetables in your ornamental beds.
If you want more land, explore opportunities at a community garden. Visit the NC Community Gardens Directory for a list of active community gardens.
Whichever garden style is chosen, start small. Only plant the amount of space that you can manage joyfully. The garden should be fun and fascinating, not a chore to be dreaded and avoided. Start small, improve the soil, manage the weeds, and expand the garden as your skills and interests grow.
- Garden Care: If it does not rain, water new seeds and transplants daily until established. Water mature plants as needed. The frequency will depend on rainfall and temperature. Check the soil for moisture, and watch plants for symptoms of drought stress (leaves drooping in the morning or early evening). The soil in the vegetable garden should be kept moist but not muddy. Knowing the type of soil in your garden will help you determine how frequently it should be watered. Soil that is heavy with lots of clay will need to be watered less frequently than soil that is lighter with lots of air pockets, such as sandy soil or container garden soil.
Fertilize only as needed following the recommendations on your soil analysis. Crops with long growing seasons, such as corn and tomatoes, may need additional fertilizer partway through the growing season. Watch for symptoms of nitrogen and other nutrient deficiency (including leaves turning yellow and slow growth). Avoid the urge to overfertilize, which can produce lush plant growth but decrease flowering and fruit development and increase pest problems.
Mulch to maintain moisture and manage weeds. One to two inches of weed-free loose mulch (including shredded leaves, grass clippings (seed-free), wheat straw, and pine bark mulch) or five to six layers of newspaper should be enough to keep weeds down and the soil moist.
Extend the growing season by protecting crops from extreme heat and cold. Use mulch to moderate soil temperatures. Cold frames protected by a row cover create shade for heat-sensitive plants. Covered with frost cloth, cold frames protect plants during freezing temperatures
- Pest and Disease Management: Pests are attracted to stressed plants, so keep plants happy and healthy with adequate sun, water, and fertility. Include flowering plants that support beneficial insects to control pests and aid pollination. Select hardy disease- and pest-resistant seeds or plants by reading labels carefully. For example, tomato plant and seed labels that include VFN indicate a variety resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and nematodes. When choosing transplants, look for those that are healthy and free of insects and diseases.
Water the soil and root area, not the leaves. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation will reduce standing water on the foliage, which leads to foliar diseases. Avoid splashing soil, and any diseases it may carry, onto the leaves.
Scout the garden- Examine plants, including the underside of leaves, frequently for damage or disease and intervene early. Be sure to also check at night when slugs and snails are out. Many caterpillars are the same colour as the leaf, so look closely for the pest and also for frass (the residue left by a pest after it eats plant parts).
Learn to distinguish plant-damaging pests from beneficial insects including pollinators such as bees that help fruit set, predators such as ladybird beetles that eat pests, and parasitic insects such as small wasps that lay eggs on pests. Remove dead and diseased plants and discard them in the trash. Remove weeds before they flower. Do not let weeds go to seed
Practice crop rotation- Pests and diseases can build up in the soil near host plants. Reduce pest and disease problems each year by rotating the locations where annual vegetables are planted. Learn about the plants being grown. Know what is normal and what might become a problem. Specific plants are vulnerable to specific pests. For example, squash often gets vine borers. Broccoli, collards, and cabbages get cabbage loopers. And melons are prone to fungus and other diseases. A gardener who knows the most likely pests and diseases for each crop will find it easy to prevent or intervene quickly when problems appear. Use the least toxic pest management strategy available. When using pesticides, be kind to bees by not spraying plants while they are blooming and only spraying in the late afternoon.
Stay on top of challenges with a visit to the vegetable garden every day or two. Remove weeds, insect pests, and diseased plants when the problem first appears, before the problem spreads.
- Harvest and reset for a new crop: You can use guidelines of growing and harvest times to know when vegetables will be ready to harvest, but you can also just use your eyes and tastebuds. If a tomato looks ripe, pick one and taste it! For potatoes, small “new” potatoes can be ready in 60–90 days, but full-grown large potatoes will take at least 120 days. Once that amount of time has passed, you can reach into the dirt with a gloved hand and feel around to check the size of the potato.
Once you have harvested, yank out the roots and compost the whole plant. You don’t have to dump all the dirt and materials in your raised bed, but you do need to fill it up to the top again so you have room to plant new crops for the next season. But before you put in all that hard work, enjoy the vegetables! Make yourself a nice salad, a tray of roasted vegetables, pickles, or depending on the time of year a big pot of soup. You deserve to refuel with the vegetables of your labour before you start all over again.
Read About: How To Choose A Career Path: 7 Steps To Take Before Choosing A Career
If this information was helpful kindly drop a comment in the comment box below and also share it with your friends and loved ones on your social media platform.