Start A Vegetable Garden
- Why grow a vegetable garden?
- The Basics
- Deciding What and When to plant
- Getting Started and Preparing Garden Space
- Preserving Garden Harvest
With the increase of food costs and the focus on local foods, many are returning to an old way of doing things- growing your own vegetables. Even folks that have never grown anything before are joining the new vegetable gardening trend. All to save money on the grocery bill!
Sure, there is a lot to know about growing food and plants. But vegetable gardening can also be very easy. You don’t need an acre of garden space. Gardening doesn’t have to be your new hobby. It just takes a few vegetable plants to save money at the grocery store.
Check out this information on starting a vegetable garden. Consider garden space and how much time you have. See what you can grow, and enjoy fresh vegetables.
The basics of vegetable gardening:
Sunlight, Water and Healthy Soil.
That’s really it for the basics. Not hard, right?
Unfortunately, all I remember from watching my mom garden and my grandmother can garden vegetables was how to pull weeds. Go figure! My first garden was in small space behind a rented house. It was basically a kitchen garden out the backdoor with herbs and just a few vegetable plants, like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. We invited a friend over, and a few beers later the garden plot was turned. We didn’t even have a tiller, just a shovel. We did follow the planting directions on the started plants, but that was it. We ate so well. We had so many tomatoes and peppers we were stuffing them and eating them as a main course.
The point is- we did not know anything about a garden other than to water and use organic fertilizer. And we ate well and saved a bunch of money. There are just some basics you need to follow and determine what kind of garden will work for you.
Raised beds allow for a healthy garden plot anywhere. Make your own raised bed from stones or untreated lumber. You can buy an easy to assemble, sturdy raised bed garden from us.
Raised beds are great if you have unhealthy soil and limited space. They can easily replace a flowerbed at the edge of a patio. They are a good gardening choice, too, if you do not enjoy leaning over a garden or have a bad back.
But the biggest advantage, like container gardening, is being able to control more variables. You added healthy soil and there will be fewer weeds. Raised beds are popular in garden plans. You can add one raised bed or add several to a larger gardening space.
Here is the beds that have been prepared for this project:
Herbs are generally pretty easy to grow and hearty. They need loose, well drained soil. But do not require a lot of attention. You can interplant with vegetables to use herbs for organic pest control. Or plant a separate herb bed. It is a good idea to plant perennial herbs (chives, lavender, mints, oregano, rosemary, thyme, tarragon…) in their own bed for the next season.
Planting herbs is a great way to supplement a small vegetable garden, too. Say you just decide on a few tomato plants. Growing herbs expands what you can cook with those tomatoes. Or just slice them fresh with a few sprigs of basil. Fresh foods are good on their own, too!
Themed Gardens are fun and easy to start. The Pizza Garden or Salsa Garden are good examples. It’s not overwhelming deciding what to plant, just plant what you like on pizza or in salsa: Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Basil, Oregano, Garlic…
Start easy! It’s not about running a full marathon. It’s about growing your own food and reducing the grocery bill.
Plant what you like to eat. That’s our best advice. Of course, check the plant hardiness zone map to see what vegetables grow best in your climate.
Get the most out of your garden. That’s how to save money. Reference seasonal cookbooks and get ideas on what to grow and what cooks well together for a full meal. That makes your garden harvest go further. As much as you like squash, it gets old day in and day out. See how you can add it to muffins and diversify how you prepare garden vegetables.
Knowing when to plant is nothing to stress about. Just check the plant hardiness zone map. Also, check with your local extension agency for more details on planting seasons for your specific location.
So, you have chosen what will work best for your gardening space. Now what?
Create a garden plan. Draw out your space and document which plants will grow best where. Consult your companion planting list, consider sunlight, and soil drainage. Keep a garden record in a notebook. It’ll save you a lot of time when planning the garden next year.
Here’s a vegetable planting guide for more information.
Gardening tools can be as simple as a hoe, a shovel, a garden trowel, watering can, and gardening gloves. But there are a lot of tools that make gardening easier on your body: ergonomic tools, weeding tools, seed planting tools, and gardening stools. It will depend on which garden type works best. Start simply to see which tools you will need or buy a garden tool set.
Companion planting is a great way to deter garden pests. This organic pest control method helps prevent garden pests from destroying your vegetable plants. For example, tomato hornworms prefer dill to tomatoes. Planting dill next to tomato plants, buys you time in getting rid of the hornworms.
If you are new to gardening, it will take some time to see which garden pests are attracted to your garden. Walk through the garden every few days and inspect for bugs. It’s always a good idea, though, to have a general all purpose organic insecticide ready just in case. Neem oil is great for organic pest control for vegetable plants. Just have it on hand or another organic pest control product so that you can treat quickly. Squash bugs or cucumber beetles move quickly.
Consider other garden pests, too. Do you need a fence or another pest control product for rabbits or deer? Don’t get frustrated. When you see all your tomatoes coming in and saving on the grocery bill, you will see its worth. Just a few vegetable plants can save a lot of money! Check this general guide to organic pest control for more information!
Preserving the harvest is worth a mention. If you are not succession planting (spacing plantings by a week or two to lengthen harvest time), garden harvests can be overwhelming if there is a lot of produce to eat. Wasting food is not an option. You are trying to save money, remember?
So, you can freeze, can, dry or pickle the fruits, vegetables, and herbs. See National Center for Home Food Preservation for tons of information on how to preserve the harvest. But freezing vegetables is usually the fastest and easiest way to save them for later. Even some cookbooks have detailed instructions on freezing or canning fruits and vegetables.
The above is an exert taken from www.cleanairgardening.com/vegetablegardening101.html.