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The Home Vegetable Garden: Getting Started

Updated on April 12, 2011

The Home Vegetable Garden

This will be your first garden, your first attempt at growing some of your own food. Now do not freak yourself out. It is not as hard as you think and, perhaps most importantly, do not worry about making a mistake.

We learn by doing and if we will not try because we are afraid to fail we have little chance of learning anything meaningful. We may be able the recite the alphabet, do our multiplication tables and regurgitate a few lines of a number of poems but can we think; can we apply what we know to a new situation and learn

Anyone who has been gardening for a few years will tell you they did not get it right the first time. In fact, if they really think about it, there is no such thing as getting it right. Now, yes there are some things you must do, but once you understand the basics the rest is up to you as you grow you will learn, but only if you pay attention to what you do.

Keep a journal, this will prove invaluable as the season pass. You can look back and see what worked, what did not and read yoru own observations about the weather, what problems you had and what went far better than you ever anticipated. Your garden journal is a highly valuable tool.

If this is your first garden of any kind then there are six words you need to know and to understand. They are, right plant, right place, right time. If you plant the right plant, in other words one that is suitable for yoru growing season, in the right place; in other words were it will get the sunlight it needs and at the right time; or when the soil is ready to receive the seed or seedling, that plant is off to a great start.

Water it when needed and feed the soil so it gets the food and drink needed and you are well on your way.

Now that you are familiar with the six cardinal words, you need to know the following; how much sunlight does the spot where you plan to put your garden get? For most vegetables to thrive that spot will need at least six hours of sun per day. In hot climates, some afternoon shade may be desirable.

The next thing you need to know is how much time you have to tend the garden. Do not build a garden that requires more time to care for than you have to give, otherwise you will be unhappy with the results, frustrated and may quit. Be honest with yourself. Build a garden you can look after, perhaps start with five plants, and grow as you learn.

leaves for compost & mulch

add leaves to compost in the fall or store in green bag for use in spring. Bob Ewing photo
add leaves to compost in the fall or store in green bag for use in spring. Bob Ewing photo

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