One of the joys of vegetable gardening is harvest time, which conjures up savory images of vine-ripened tomatoes and lush trees laden with fruit. Starting a vegetable garden is a rewarding hobby and has a number of practical benefits. In addition to saving on grocery costs, vegetable gardens reduce carbon emissions and the use of fertilizers. However, it can be daunting to start a vegetable garden if you are unsure of where to start. Luckily, you do not need an expansive amount of land to get started – a balcony or deck can suffice. Below are a few guidelines to help you get started in growing your own vegetables.
1.Situate Your Garden in the Correct Location
To ensure optimal results, situate your garden in a sunny spot that receives 6 – 8 hours of sunlight daily. Orient your plants north-south to ensure the right amount of sunlight. Plant smaller crops in the front (from south to north) and the tallest crops in the back. Keep in mind that some plants such as peas prefer shade. The soil should be well-drained with a high amount of organic matter. If your soil is of subpar quality, consider growing your vegetables in raised beds or amend it with worm castings.
2.Choose Easy Vegetables to Grow
While it seems obvious to grow vegetables that you enjoy eating, there are a few other considerations to take note of. It is important to grow vegetables that are compatible with your growing zones, are cost-effective, and are easy to grow. Below are a few recommended vegetables for beginners to grow.
Tomatoes. Tomatoes are the quintessential vegetable for all gardens. From petite cherry tomatoes to globular beefsteaks and prized heirlooms, tomatoes can come in a wide array of colors, shapes, and sizes – there are even striking black varieties. Pick compact varieties to place on a patio or intermediate (vining) varieties to train on trellises.
Sweet Peas. A garden favorite for centuries, sweet peas are known for their sweet, crisp flavor and ornamental appeal in bouquets. They can be peeled from the pod, shelled, eaten as a snack, or cooked. Save space by growing these cool-season crops on a trellis or some other vertical support.
Bell Peppers. Bell peppers can be controversial – some are put off by their pungent, overpowering taste. However, if you don’t mind them, bell peppers, especially the red ones, can be a good investment. They are easy to grow and do not require much space.
- Herbs. Most people figure they just can purchase them at the grocery store, but the amount can become expensive over time, and they have a tendency to wilt before they are used. Popular herbs to grow include basil, rosemary, and chives. To ensure a continuous supply, plant your herbs in designated herb beds or intersperse them among other vegetables as useful companion plants.
3.Grow Crops in Raised Garden Beds
Take away the burden of conventional gardening with raised garden beds. Raised garden beds offer a number of benefits over traditional plots, including the ability to control the soil quality, improved drainage properties, and a more plentiful yield. You also do not need to bend down as much when tending or harvesting your crops, reducing back strain. When high-quality organic soil is used, they can produce double the conventional yield compared to planting in rows.
4.Purchase Some Gardening Tools
If you are growing in raised garden beds, you will likely only need a few basic tools: gloves, watering hose, and pruning shears or scissors. More advanced gardeners can expand their repertoire with a drip irrigation system, a wheelbarrow, or spade. One useful tool every gardener should have is the 10 in 1 Hori Hori knife kit,
which functions as a trowel, shovel, and knife. Its serrated edges make it easy to hack through dirt and debris, and the measurements will ensure your plants and bulbs are planted at the right depth.
5.Plan out Your Garden
It is important that you plan out your garden carefully instead of haphazardly placing vegetables at random. There are many factors to consider, including shade requirements, companion planting, and aesthetic appeal. Incorporate trellises, walkways, and other functional elements in your vegetable garden to improve access and delineate space. An arched trellis system will help you maximize your growing space by training plants upwards, providing additional space for more plants in your Vego Garden metal raised beds. Keep in mind shade designations – full sun, shade tolerant, and partial shade – when designing your garden plot.
6.Deter Pests with Barriers
It can be frustrating spending time watering and weeding your garden area, only to find your plants besieged by pests. Keep out harmful wildlife with nets and cover systems. Common plants that attract pests include cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, and some tuberous vegetables. Deter them by planting them with certain herbs and plants with pest-repellent properties, or enact structural barriers if the damage is more extensive.
7.Use Seed Propagation Kits
While starting from seed is less expensive, planting starts can be great for beginners who have trouble with calculating frost dates or transplanting. Smaller plants with short times to maturity tend to do well than larger plants when seeded. For a hassle-free way to start seeds, use Vego’s standard seedling trays, which feature air-pruning strips along the sides of each cell to encourage root growth and specialized drip-watering channels to provide gentle hydration.
8.Avoid These Vegetables
In general, there are some vegetables beginners should avoid growing. The hidden costs of fertilizer, water, soil, and pest control can quickly add, making it not worthwhile. You can likely get them at a better price at the grocery store. However, this should not deter you from growing them if you are set on it.
- Broccoli and cauliflower require a long growing season and can become prone to insects and other pests. They can also bolt, which means they will flower, and this causes them to become bitter and unpalatable.
- Cabbage also tends to take up a lot of space and is easily susceptible to cabbage worms and aphids. The difference in taste between store-bought and home-grown is also not that noticeable.
- Melons grow best when summers are hot and dry. If your climate allows for a long growing season, then there is also the possibility that the fruit is stunted or small in size.
- Corn is difficult to grow and takes up space. They also tend to attract deer, mice, and squirrels.
- Squash and zucchini face similar issues with cauliflower – they sprawl, attract mold, and are plentiful enough that you can get them cheap at farmer’s markets.