A vegetable garden can be a fun and healthy hobby for you and your family.
Starting a vegetable garden is a great way to grow your own organic food. Bring the garden to your kitchen table with your very own vegetable garden.
Location & Space
Sun is important for almost any vegetable garden. Pick a space that gets six to eight hours of direct sun a day. We suggest planting leafy greens, such as lettuce, in shady areas. Beyond sun exposure, be sure that your garden has easy access to water. Also,due to the risk of erosion, do not plant it on a hill.
Vegetable gardens come in a variety of sizes, from many acres to planters on a patio. No matter your property size, we suggest you start out relatively small your first season. Otherwise, you may become overwhelmed by the upkeep of the vegetable garden.
Vegetable Garden Soil
Create high quality soil for your vegetable garden by loosening the soil with a rototiller or hand tool. Compost and fertilizer should then be mixed into the soil to provide nutrients for the plants; after this process let the garden rest a few days before planting.
Types of Vegetable Gardens
Vegetable gardens need to be the proper size for the plants and have adequate drainage. Above ground box gardens are a popular option for several reasons:
- They create proper drainage for you crops
- A custom mix of soil and fertilizer can be put in the box, instead of working with ground dirt
- Erosion is virtually eliminated
- The soil is warmed by the sun more quickly than in-ground soil. This can result in a longer growing season.
In-ground vegetable gardens are a good choice for those who have at least moderately good soil. They’re also a great choice for those who are able to rototill the ground and can adequately “feed” their soil with compost and fertilizers.
Keeping Out the Vegetable Garden Thieves
Rabbits and deer are notorious for stealing from vegetable gardens. Your garden will need a two to three foot fence, which extends six inches underground. This will help to keep out the bunnies and other small critters. Deer require an eight foot barrier and/or an electric fence, which is not feasible for many backyard gardeners. Keeping out the deer comes down to luck and creativity. Many times your neighborhood dogs are the best deer alarms and deterrents. So, if a dog is barking, check on your garden quickly!
Choosing and Placing Your Vegetable Plants
Hybrid vegetable plants are a good choice for new gardeners because they are hardier (i.e. more pest and disease resistant) than heirloom varieties. When placing your plants keep the perennials to one side and annuals to the other. That way, you do not disturb the perennials’ beds in the spring when planting new annuals. Plant taller plants on the north side of the garden so they do not block the sun from the shorter plants. Read the plant labels to make sure the varieties you choose are appropriate for your garden space and climate.
Planting a vegetable garden is a great activity for all ages. The flavor and texture of the fresh vegetables you grow in your garden will far surpass those bought in a store. So get out there, stick your hands in the dirt, breathe in the fresh air and have a happy and healthy time growing your very own vegetable garden!