Congratulations on your plan to start a vegetable garden! You are about to do what so many people are afraid to do. In this article, you will learn how to make a vegetable garden and the factors to consider when planning your garden.
The Basics of Vegetable Gardening
As a beginner, there are certain things that you should know to make a vegetable garden. Read on to explore and learn what you need to get started.
Many beginners are very passionate, so they start with a large garden. While that will give you more yield, you have a lot of work to do. A well-tended small garden is more manageable, more attractive, and produces more product than a large, weed-filled garden.
Why are You Starting a Vegetable Garden?
Some gardeners started their vegetable garden because they want to harvest a specific vegetable. In contrast, others began their garden because they wanted to have fresh greens without continually going to the store.
You can grow and harvest some types of vegetables once, and there are others that you can harvest throughout the growing season.
Examples of vegetables that you harvest once are:
- Determinate tomatoes
A few vegetables that you can harvest throughout the growing season are:
- Leafy greens
- Indeterminate tomatoes
Grow Only What You Need
According to recommendations from growers and online sources, gardeners have a wide range of vegetables to grow. Sometimes, an article may refer to an unfamiliar Crops are plants cultivated by humans for specific purposes. Crops can be made for food, medicine, flower, etc. Examples of crops are wheat, tomato, cabbage, etc. because it grows fast or is beneficial to other plants in your garden.
You should not start your garden with vegetables that you and your family don’t know and might not like to eat. When planning a vegetable garden, grow vegetables that you will want to consume.
Know When to Start Your Garden
While some vegetables are Any plant that completes its life cycle in more than two years is a perennial plant. Perennial plants have continuous flowering and fruiting seasons. Most shrubs and trees are perennial. Mint and other herbs are also perennial. and will come back year after year, most vegetables are Annual plants are plants that complete their lifecycle in a year. Annual plants germinate, grow, flower, and produce fruits, and die within a year. Examples of annual plants are maize, tomatoes, etc. and require a specific temperature to grow. If you are in a colder climate, do not start any vegetables in winter. A sprout is any newly germinated seedling that has emerged from the seed coat and the medium (e.g. soil). When plants sprout, they are still attached to the seed and have their first set of leaves. the seeds indoors and transplant into your garden after the last Frost dates include the first to the last days that your area will experience frost. Knowing your first frost date is important when planning what to grow (considering the lifecycle of the plant). Knowing the last frost date is important when planning when to start your seeds indoors (usually 2-3 weeks before the last frost date)..
Some vegetables that you can start in early spring are:
Vegetables that you should plant after the soil warms up are:
As a beginner, you should put the above points into consideration when you are starting a vegetable garden.
If you are ready, here’s what you need to make a new vegetable garden.
What You Need to Make a Vegetable Garden
It is not a long list, so don’t worry.
1. Location, Location, Location
Location is a critical factor when starting a vegetable garden. A good location has:
- Well-drained Refers to fruits that bear seeds that can germinate into new plants. Also refers to stamens that bear pollen. With pollens in stamens, a plant can produce fruits (bearing seeds). soil
- Access to 6-8 hours of sunlight
- Fewer winds
Too much wind is not suitable for your garden because wind can pull vegetables out of the soil, erode Mulch is any material (mostly organic) that gardeners cover the garden soil with. Mulch can be used to prevent water from evaporating (therefore increasing soil moisture), prevent weed from growing, ec. Examples of materials used to mulch are straw, weed fabric, hay, dead leaves, etc. off your surface, and scatter your garden arrangement. A location without well-drained and fertile soil can cause your plants to grow slowly, and they will be more susceptible to diseases.
If your soil is not well-drained nor fertile, you should amend the soil. Soil amendments are products that you mix with soil to boost its quality. These products help to improve the:
- Soil fertility
- Soil Porosity
- Structure of the soil
- Root condition of the soil
- Water-retention ability of the soil
Soil amendment can be An organic material is any material derived from plants, animals, fungi, or microbe sources (i.e. living things) and is biodegradable. 'Organic' can also refer to the gardening practice that involve zero use of chemicals as fertilizers, pesticides, etc. Plants grown organically are healthier and produce fruits with more quality. or inorganic. Some organic products are:
- Peat moss
- Warm casting
Examples of inorganic soil amendments are:
- Pea gravel
- Tire chunk
The more sun that your garden has access to, the better it is for your crops. While some crops can tolerate less than 4 or 4-6 hours of sunlight, most vegetables (mostly vegetables that you grow for Fruits are seed-bearing pods formed by the ripening of a plant pericarp after flowering. Plants produce seeds after pollination. The seeds of plants are stored in sweet and nutritious pods called fruits. or tuber) need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
2. Seeds or Transplant
As a beginner, you should go for transplants instead of seeds for your first vegetable garden. Buy them from a nursery, and they have better chances of surviving. To grow from seeds, you have to In simple terms, "germinate" means the beginning of the growth of plants in their seeds. As plants germinate, the first root (or radicle) emerges from the seed, then the first leaf/leaves (cotyledon) follows. more than what you want (i.e., to increase your chance of getting your needed amount) and then thin out excess plants for space.
3. Water and Fertilizer
Just as you need food and water to grow, your vegetable garden needs water and nutrients. Look at this like you are feeding your future food. If you can, avoid chlorinated water for your vegetables. If the rainwater in your locality is safe, you should install a rain barrel to store rainwater for watering your plants.
There are different types of fertilizers. You should know the nutrient requirement of your plants before purchasing Any material added into the soil (or sprayed on leaves) to give more nutrients to plants. Fertilizers often give Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) to plants. Fertilizers can be organic or inorganic.. You have to choose between fertilizers that are:
- Granular or liquid
- Organic or inorganic
- Readily available or slow-release
Your garden, your choice.
4. Gardening Accessories
As a beginner, there are some gardening accessories that you need and others that are not required, but they can ease the gardening experience. Some accessories that you need and their uses are:
- This is a container used to water plants. Watering cans can pour drops of water to the roots and leaves of plants. Watering cans are suitable for small gardeners. People who have large gardens should use irrigators. and There are so many different models available that buying a garden hose now involves some thought into its main uses and over what area. Lengths can reach from 20 to 120 feet with an endless number of fittings, nozzles, and adapters. There are wall mounted hoses, coiled hoses, hoses designed to withstand freezing temperatures, and hoses with rewind assistance.: water your plants with ease
- Garden boots and Gloves are essential gardening accessories that protect your hands from dirt, sunburn, cuts, blisters, and other harms. There are different kinds of gloves for different gardening practices.: protect yourself while you work in the garden
- Straw hat: protect yourself from the heat of the sun when you are working
- Grow bags: grow bags are recommended if you are growing tuber vegetables
- A small pushing cart with one wheel at the front and two supporting handles at the back. Wheelbarrows are a must-have for gardeners because they can help transport seeds, seedlings, soil, compost, tools, and other materials.: to transport tools, soil, and your harvest from one place to another
- An organic matter made from decomposed plant materials. Compost is often made from decomposing shredded leaves, hay, fruits, and other plant materials at a ratio of 25 part dry brown materials to 1 part fresh green materials. bins: used to decompose kitchen wastes, manure, and organics into fertilizer
- Nursery trays: for germinating seeds into seedlings before In simple terms, transplanting is changing the location of a plant. Most plants are started indoors or in greenhouses. When the seedlings are matured enough to be taken to their permanent location (i.e. outdoors or any medium such as hydroponics), they will be transplanted. Remember to acclimatize seedlings before transplanting them. into the garden
- Garden fork: to spread mulch, soil, fertilizer, etc. The use of Garden forks are large hand-held tools with large (usually 4-6) teeths and a long handle. Forks are effective when moving perennials. Potato forks have blunt points in their tines, so they are effective when harvesting root vegetables. Forks are a must-have gardening tool. cannot be overemphasized.
- Cages and stakes: to support tall or climbing plants.
- Rake, hoe, A shovel is a hand-tool used to dig and list materials. As a gardening tool, shovels can till the soil, spread soil and compost, uproot weeds, and perform so many functions. Shovels are a must-have for every gardener., and Trowels are small hand-held tools mostly used in container gardening. They are used to transplant seedlings, flowers, perennials, dig holes, and perform other gardening activities. Trowels are shovel-like, but way smaller. Trowels can be used in small areas, hence their use in container gardening.: to clear leaves, turn over the soil, and dig holes for planting.
The accessories listed above are cheap, and you can get them from stores near you.
The Steps Involved in Making a Vegetable Garden
If you have decided where your garden will be and gathered the needed items, it is time to make your garden.
1. Remove the Sod and Clear the Site
The first step in preparing a site for a vegetable garden is to clear the area. You can clear it by:
- Removing trash
- Pulling out weeds
- Rolling out the sod
You can remove the trash, sod, or weed by hand, or using a shovel, rake, or hoe.
2. Amend the Soil
If the soil needs amendment, this is when you should do it. You can amend the soil by mixing the the needed products with the soil.
How much do you need? It depends on the size of your garden. If your garden is 10 feet by 10 feet and you want to amend 12 inches of the soil, you need 100 ft3 (cubic feet) of the product.
Note: 12 inches is 1 foot. 10 feet times 10 feet is 100 ft2 (square feet). 100 ft2 times 1 foot is 100 ft3.
3. Mulch (optional)
Many gardeners choose to mulch their gardens to prevent weed from growing and to warm up the soil. Mulching has a lot of advantages to gardening. If you want to mulch your garden like other gardeners, this is the time you should mulch.
You can mulch your garden with:
- Tree leaves
- Grain straw
- Wood chips
- Grass clippings
Remember that mulching your garden is optional.
4. Plant Your Vegetables
You probably want to plant your vegetables in rows. Each row should be 10 feet long (depending on the length of your garden). The vegetable rows should stretch from north to south to maximize sunlight. Plant tall plants at the northern end of your rows so that they do not block other plants from sunlight.
You should space your rows 15 inches apart so that you can walk in-between them.
5. Care for Your Vegetable Garden
How do you care for your vegetables? Some ways you can help your vegetables are:
- Feed and water them regularly
- Remove weeds as soon as you see them
- Install cages, stakes, or trellises for climbing plants
- Hand-pick insects and pests that can harm your crops
- Add earthworms and beneficial insects to your garden
6. Enjoy Your Yield
Harvest is arguably the most rewarding part of gardening. Depending on the vegetables you are growing, you can harvest them in two to six months. If you cannot consume everything in your harvests, share some with your family and friends.
7. Plant Again (If You Can)
If there is still time to regrow your vegetables, you should plant again to have multiple harvests in the same season. Some fast-growing vegetables that you can grow more than once per season are:
If you cannot grow the same vegetable again, choose vegetables that tolerate the coming season.
Enjoy your gardening experience!
Making a vegetable garden is fun and productive. You will have fresh vegetables and herbs close to you. Depending on what you are growing, you can have multiple harvests in a year.
To start a vegetable garden, you need a sunny location, well-drained soil, seedlings, fertilizer, and water.
When will you start your vegetable garden? What will you grow first? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.