Whether it’s for healthy eating or to save money on groceries, starting a vegetable garden doesn’t have to be a lot of work.
Starting a vegetable garden can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to get started quickly and without lots of work. It’s very possible to start a vegetable garden on a Saturday afternoon.
Raised Beds and Container Gardens
Use a raised bed or containers. Tilling up a hundred square feet of soil may seem like fun, but starting a garden this way will require future work. Firstly, dormant weed seeds are being brought to the surface and will sprout like crazy with a little water. Secondly, if the garden is tilled-under sod, unless edging is installed, the grass will encroach into the garden. If it’s Bermuda, it will even jump the edging. Third, the present soil will have to be amended, and that means working in compost, manure, peat, coir, and whatever else is necessary.
By starting with raised beds or containers, an excellent soil mix can be created from the beginning. Many raised beds and containers do not employ soil, but compost and peat and other ingredients. Whether you mix your own soil or buy high-grade potting soil, you will have few weeds to contend with and your vegetables will be off to a strong start.
Smaller is Better
Start small. It’s much better to start with a few containers or a 4 ft by 4 ft raised bed which only requires 10 minutes a day to maintain, than to get overwhelmed with too much. Keep in mind as well, that the garden will need maintenance when the owner is on vacation or gone for the weekend. It’s easier to find someone to come water for 10 minutes as opposed to 30.
It’s very easy to add another small raised bed or an extra container or two.
Plant what you like to eat. This sounds obvious, but some people plant eggplant and okra, but don’t even like to prepare or eat it. Keep the garden to personally enjoyable vegetables.
Plant Heirloom Varieties
Heirloom varieties of vegetables, or anything else, are varieties that have been open pollinated and passed down through generations of gardeners. Visit a local farmer’s market, or perhaps a swap meet and look for local, heirloom seed.
Hybrid varieties of vegetables distributed by large corporations are best suited for industrial farmers who use large amounts of inorganic fertilizers and large machinery.
Ask for Advice
The best tip for gardening success is to ask someone who knows. Visit the local garden center, farmer’s market, the neighbor, agricultural extension, or garden club and ask questions. Find out which vegetables do well in the area and when to plant them. This will provide much more accurate and thorough information than the back of a seed packet.
Following these few tips to start a vegetable garden will help ensure small successes which will lead to larger ones.