Five Essential Tips
Every Beginner Vegetable Gardener Should Know
By Heather Roberts
Many people these days are getting into the idea of growing their own food at home. There are numerous benefits to producing your own fruits and veggies including the access to healthier and safer products. There are all kinds of reasons to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space. Whether you are a passionate gardener or you want to have more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, here are few basic tips to help you start with your veggie garden.
1. Pick the Right Location
To grow strong and lush plants and ensure a good harvest, you need three things: good soil, plenty of sun and water. Thus the success of your garden vastly depends on the location. If you have a spot that covers the all three requirements, then you can consider yourself lucky. Even without the perfect location, you can still work around the pitfalls.
Soil: Don't worry if you don't have good soil. Use raised beds or some organic matter and nutrients to improve your site.
Sun: Out of the three, this one is the most difficult to fix. The more sunlight you have, the more your veggies will grow. If you don't have a place that allows between 6-8 hours of full sun, you have several options. You can grow shade-friendly plants like leafy greens and root veggies. If you are not ready to give up on the idea of planting cucumbers and tomatoes, you can consider container gardening. It is not the same as having rows with reaping veggies, but will let you have the greenery you want. Keep in mind that containers dry out more quickly, so you need to water often. A Community garden may not be as convenient as home garden, but can also satisfy your green thumb.
Water: If you live in a place with drier climate or you don't have access to water in your garden, install irrigation system or get a longer hose. That's it!
2. Create a Functional Garden Design
There are two basic types of vegetable garden layouts - row cropping and intensive cropping. The first design is more conventional. With row cropping, you plant your veggies in single rows. This method works best for large vegetable gardens. You can use mechanical equipment to remove the weeds. The disadvantage of row cropping is that you use too much space for the production you get. Plus, the method doesn't provide a lot of visual interest. On the other hand, intensive cropping is more effective and functional. You basically grow more food in less space. This method requires a lot of hard work because you will need to do all the weeding by hand. However, intensive cropping gives you more possibilities for a creative design. You can mix various veggies and create combinations of different colours and size.
3. Plan for an Easy Access
Since you will be busy with weeding, watering and digging, you can at least make it easier on yourself. Keep your gardening essentials at your fingertips. You will spare yourself the effort of going back-and-forth to get your tools. Also, put plants that need more water in an easy to reach spot.
4. Decide What You Want To Plant
Make a list with all the veggies you want to have in your garden. Once you are done, you can look up the gardening catalogs. The possibilities from which you can choose are endless. Pick plants that are appropriate for your site and your lifestyle. Local greenery is less susceptible to diseases and has better temperature tolerance.
5. Provide Effective Pest Control
Keep the weeds at bay by applying mulch around your plants. You can make it yourself by shredding garden waste like fallen branches and pine needles. To prevent the pests from ruining your harvest, introduce organic control against the irritants. Companion planting can help you fight the aphids and other insects that are bad for your plants.
Heather Roberts is a freelance guest blogger from London, UK. She has many published articles on various topics such as gardening, landscaping and home maintenance etc. She loves to spend her time with family and friends and she also tries to live an eco-friendly life.