How to Start a Vegetable Garden at Home
Starting a Vegetable Garden
Beginning Stages of Your Vegetable Garden
Gardening of any type is a pursuit where you learn as much by trial-and-error as you will from any literature. But if this is your first vegetable garden, you'll want to know as much as possible before you begin to ensure even mediocre success.
Gardening books, websites, magazines and television shows are all good resources, but take it from someone who found out the hard way--there is no substitute for talking to other gardeners in your area to get ideas for what works and doesn't work.
Don't spend the winter reading and planning your vegetable garden. At least, don't let that be the only thing you do to prepare for spring planting. If you don't know anyone local who gardens, pick the brains of people at your local nurseries and feed stores. Practical advice is an invaluable asset to a vegetable gardener.
Think About Water
There are basic elements necessary for every vegetable garden: soil, sunlight and water. Water is the life blood of your garden.
Don't situate your garden too far away from available water sources. In the spring, it may seem a small matter to carry a few buckets to water your fledgling plants, but as the seasons progress--as does the heat--those plants are going to grow bigger and need greater volumes of water. Plan ahead for how you are going to handle this situation.
Think About Soil
Has the ground where you plan to place the garden been used as a gardening space previously, or are you breaking new ground? Either way the soil will need to be tilled, but if it is a first time garden space, you'll also want to remove as much of the grass that had been there. If not, you'll be fighting grass all growing season in the garden.
Have your soil tested at your local county extension office to learn what soil amendments and fertilizers will be needed. Nutritious compost applied prior to tilling the soil will provide both food for the plants and improve the soil itself. Tilling it in will help to ensure the compost is well-mixed with the soil.
How to Grow an Organic Vegetable Garden
Think About Sunlight
At least eight hours a day of full sunlight is recommended for growing vegetables. Knowing this should help you plan to choose the best area for your garden.
Think also about plant heights when planning your garden. Some plants such as cauliflower benefit from partial shade from a neighboring plant as the heat of summer progresses.
Will you be planting north-to-south or east-to-west? This is another consideration for determining the placement of various vegetables to ensure they will be getting enough direct sun each day.
Ideas for Designing Your Vegetable Garden
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Think About Your Vegetables
Whew! You've gotten the basics out of the way. Now comes the fun part of your garden. What vegetables do you want to plant? How many of each plant will be needed for your purposes? Are you going to purchase only organic seeds?
To be practical, assume that some of the seeds you plant may not grow or thrive. Plant more than you need; you can always thin out the plants as they grow if they are crowded.
Follow the instructions on the seed packets for planting depth and space. Water as needed, which in the beginning will be everyday unless Mother Nature sends a shower.
Now you can sit back and enjoy watching the vegetables grow. Don't forget to pull weeds when they are small.
You might find it valuable to keep a gardening diary; this way you can learn from your triumphs and failures. Next year's vegetable garden will be that much easier.