Growing a Vegetable Garden Might Be the Perfect New Hobby
The past year has brought many changes to each of our lives. One thing is for sure, we have become more resourceful in providing the things we need in life. A lot of us have taken up new hobbies and found ways to make our homes more welcoming and comforting.
Growing your own vegetables and fruits can help in many ways. Not only does a home garden provide fresh produce in the coming months, but can also help provide stress relief as well. Here are some tips and tricks to design a garden and grow produce in your backyard or patio.
Designing a Garden
- Consider the light! Most crops need sun, so ideally you will want a site that provides at least 8 hours of direct sun per day. If you don’t have options for a sunny spot, consider a crop that can handle shade like lettuce, spinach, or bush beans.
- If your new to gardening start small! Vegetable gardens require maintenance and upkeep, so you want to make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself from the start.
- When laying out the placement of your garden, make sure that the plot is easily accessed for maintaining the crops. Consider multiple plots with walkways between them for the best access.
- Make sure to plant close to a water source. The farther you must go to water your crops, the harder it will be to maintain them.
- Consider planting in triangles instead of rows or squares. This usually gives you more room to plant a variety of plants. But always remember to keep things spaced for the best growth and health.
- Consider using trellises, fences, cages or stakes to grow your vine like plants vertically.
Choosing What to Plant
There is such a large variety of choices when it comes to what to plant in your garden. Here are a couple of things to think about as you make your choices:
- There are two main types of plants that are good for first-time gardeners: Fruit crops like tomatoes and cucumbers and vegetative crops that are grown for their leaves, like spinach and lettuce.
- Keep the size of your garden in consideration as you choose plants. Plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and lettuces are suitable for smaller gardens. Vegetables like squash, cucumbers and melons require more space to spread out.
- Think about planting crops that are compatible. Some combinations to consider:
- Corn, beans and squash
- Tomatoes, basil and onions
- Leaf lettuce, peas, radishes and beets
- Also think about maybe the colors you want to see, depending on if your garden is very visible to everyday life. Things like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and lettuces come in many colors and can add different levels of interest.
- Most important – Grow what you like to eat!
- Once you pick what you want to grow, purchase 3 to 5 plants of each.
Not everyone has yard space or the ability to plant a traditional garden, try planting a container garden to still be able to experience the flavor and freshness of home-grown vegetables. Here are some tips to consider specific to container gardening.
- Vegetables aren’t picky about their container. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it has enough space to hold the plant and that it has drainage holes to let the water escape. Other things that you might want to consider are that terra cotta pots need more watering, dark color pots absorb heat which heats up the soil and treated wood containers might contain chemicals.
- Make sure to choose container-specific vegetable varieties that are best suited for compact growing. Some to consider are beets, broccoli, cabbage eggplant, lettuce, peppers and tomatoes.
- For more tips on container gardening check out this article full of great info.
- Consider starting your garden indoors – It might make it easier to watch over the new delicate plants as you get them started.
- You can also consider starting your plants from seeds. Check out this video by Mae Marie Organics on how to start your seeds.
- Make sure you’re using good soil – It is crucial to have healthy soil for robust growth. You want to make sure it is full of nutrients and that it drains well. You might also consider building raised garden beds which can provide a higher yield and take less time to maintain. Also don’t forget the importance of fertilizer!
- Round out the soil in your bed to form an arc. A rounded bed gives you a larger planting area in the same amount of space.
- Check on them daily – The physical appearance of your plants can alert you to any issues they might have. Droopy plants usually need more water, but leaves that are wilted, yellow, purple, curled or spotted might be a sign of an issue as well.
- Water your crops – Newly seeded beds will need frequent watering, but once they are established most plants can live on one to two inches of water per week.
When starting a new hobby like growing a vegetable garden, it is about being creative, trying something new and making sure it works for you. Best of luck and may your crops yield lots of goodness!
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