Gardening is both an art and a science many people have been trying their luck in for many decades. It is an enjoyable and satisfying practice that has introduced homeowners into vegetable patches or gardens.
A vegetable patch is a garden used for growing vegetables. A successful garden owner has to plan extensively and conduct thorough research. For those who don’t know where to start or find vegetable gardening daunting and taxing, this beginners guide to gardening can alleviate your struggles.
A vegetable garden offers a homeowner an opportunity to not only save money on groceries, but also relieve stress and enjoy nutrient-rich food. You should thus not hesitate to establish your own vegetable patch.
With this in mind, here is everything you need to know on how to start a vegetable garden.
Plan Before You Plant
- Figure out where you want to establish your vegetable patch
You need to think a lot about the portion you want to establish your garden. Many people will focus on how large their vegetable patch is going to be, and how successful they want this project to be. However, it is wise to figure out how much this area will get.
How you figure out your garden will be receiving sunlight is a major challenge many people face. The best way to get started is by measuring hours of sunlight in your garden. Then, develop a vegetable patch chart.
This is an activity that begins early in the morning right after the sun rises. Takes notes and figure out whether it is full sun exposure, partial shade or flecked sun. Give this an hour and then write down the vegetable patch sun exposure.
Do this on an hourly basis until the sun sets. If this does not work for you, use budget-friendly tools like garden light meter and a time lapse camera.
- What groundwork do you need to lay your garden
You need to figure out how you are going to clear enough space for your new vegetable patch. Here, you need to get rid of any unnecessary vegetation in the selected land portion. Remove any lawn, weeds or stones.
Get the right tools for laying your garden foundation. Some of the tools you need for groundwork are a shovel, steel bow rake, hoe, and a watering can among many others.
How To Start a Vegetable Garden.
Establishing a vegetable patch may seem a daunting task, but it is still manageable if you get every step right before you get started. Here are a number of things to focus on and figure out
Properly mark the area your garden is going to cover. Give your garden deep digging to break up the soil. Digging deep down will also help get rid of any bits of weed stem and root. Use a shovel, spade, mattock, garden fork, crowbar or a hoe to dig out stones and create enough gardening space.
Your garden needs organic material to improve its fertility. Interacting with an experienced vegetable garden planner can help you learn a number of things about the benefits of adding compost.
- Compost helps to energize your garden soil.
- Decomposed organic material adds necessary nutrients for growing vegetables.
- Helps retain moisture.
To achieve your composting endeavours, dig in a robust amount of compost as you can get. Manure is great for your vegetable patch, especially if the soil is shallow. It will deepen the soil and make it easy to grow healthy vegetables.
Assess Your Soil
It may seem hard to assess and figure out the type of your garden soil, but it is an achievable goal. There are different ways to employ and assess your garden soil.
You can use your senses to assess your soil by either rubbing the soil between your fingers or by taking a close look at a handful of soil. You can also test the composition of your soil, the permeability of the soil, and the type of organisms that live in your garden soil.
You can also assess your vegetable garden soil by looking at the properties of each soil type you may know. For instance;
- Clay is fertile, heavy and wet. Clay also guarantees great nutrient retention which is vital for the growth of healthy vegetables in your garden.
- Sandy soils are usually less fertile, but you can easily change their pH level. You can add some organic matter to sandy soils and improve their fertility and water retention capacity.
- Loam soils are very fertile and contain different kinds of nutrients and minerals essential for growing vegetables. Loamy soils also have an excellent drainage capability and are fairly resistant to dry seasons.
- Peat soils are characterized by massive porosity, large organic matter content, and low density. The good thing with peat soils is that they can be improved by adding minerals to your garden or by undertaking the compaction process.
- Chalky soils are lime-rich soils made up of calcium carbonate. This means they are very alkaline and have pH levels of 7.1 and above. Chalky soils are also shallow, full of stones and less fertile. You need to carefully choose vegetables to plant in your garden. Go for vegetables that can survive alkaline conditions.
- Silty soils are usually good for growing crops as they promote better water retention and air circulation. It is also easy to improve poor silty soils. You can add organic matter on a yearly basis, or consider raised beds for your vegetable garden as well as shun soil compaction.
Give Your Plants Room
Space is a key factor to consider when gardening. You need to take time and figure out how to properly space your plants. It’s always wise to avoid overcrowding your garden vegetables. Plants need space to sprout and grow faster.
Depending on the vegetables you intend to plant, have a rough spacing guide to abide by. Also, opt for vegetables that are known to earn their space and grow without any complications. Keep in mind spacing requirements vary from one plant to another in a garden.
Figure if Plants Will Need Support to Grow
As you get started in vegetable gardening, keep in mind that some plants need support. Many experienced gardeners use cages and trellises as plant supports.
Peas and beans are common plants that need something to attach to. Melons, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, and squash among other crops can produce quality fruit if grown on trellises. Using supports also helps avert diseases.
Considering Starting Planting Your Plants Indoors First
If you are a novice in the gardening world and still wondering how to start a vegetable garden, here is another key pointer to know. There are some plants that grow well if first planted indoors in pots or boxes. These plants can later be transplanted if fully grown to an outside garden.
A good indoor plant should have a good root system, thick foliage and easy to check for disease. Vegetables that you can start growing indoors include lettuce greens, basil, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, scallions, tomatoes and ginger among others.
Vegetables to Grow in Your Vegetable Patch
Its time to choose vegetables that can go well with your garden soil and climatic conditions of your locality. Here are common vegetables to grow in your patch.
- Salad Leaves
Salad leaves seeds can be grown indoors in pots, trays, and boxes. All you need is to fill with potting compost, spread the seeds and cover the pot thinly and don’t forget to water in gently. You can later transplant the salad crop to your vegetable patch to grow on.
- Onion and Garlic
You can plant onions as seedlings, transplants or as baby onions (sets). The good thing with onions is they need sufficient sunlight to start forming bulbs.
Garlic is planted inform of cloves and four inches apart. However, you have to keep the soil soggy and moist. The garlic will be ready to harvest when the leaves are 60 % brown.
Peas are great to grow in your vegetable patch as they help add nitrogen to the soil. They yield best in full sun, especially in a cool climate patch. Space the seeds for about 8-10 inches apart. Don’t forget to support them with trellis or fence.
Lettuce is a garden vegetable perfect to grow during the fall and spring seasons. They can also tolerate light frost during winters. This plant also likes plenty of sunlight, and will mature within 45 to 55 days.
Potatoes are best grown in rows in a vegetable garden. You need to dig 6-8 inches deep trenches and plant seed potatoes 12 inches apart and cover with soil. You can also grow potatoes in grow bags, wooden boxes, raised beds or straw mulch.
- Broad Bean
Broad bean seeds do well during spring and autumn. These seeds can be grown in raised beds, pots and in the ground, as well as in full sun on rich and fertile soil.
- Spring Onions
Spring onion seeds will grow in any fertile soil, but you have to prepare the ground in advance. Space them for about 15cm apart, and ensure you don’t plant them in waterlogged soil as they rot easily. You can also sow seeds in pots and water them sparingly.
Start onion seeds indoors for about 6 weeks and then transplant them to your garden. Keep in mind onion is a leaf crop and need enough space and moisture.
Spinach does well in nitrogen-rich and moist soil. You also need to loosen the soil at least one foot deep before sowing and keep them two inches apart in rows.
- Runner Beans
Runner beans are best grown indoors and need warm conditions for better yields. You can also grow runner beans in your garden. Dig deep trenches and sow your seeds. Don’t forget to put supports in place.
Beetroot plants require ample spacing of about 30cm apart and in rows. You can also plant beetroot seeds indoors as they are easy to plant. The plant should also be adequately watered to avert withering in hot climates.
Indoor tomatoes need to be watered lightly. If you are growing tomato plants in your garden, plant them about 45cm apart and leave 75 cm between the rows. Make sure you tie the plant to sturdy supports as it grows.
Gardening Equipment You Will Need
Gardenbenches.com have a wide variety of teak dining tables which are a perfect addition to any garden. There is also a number of different garden equipment that you will need, such as:-
- Pruning Scissors
These are types of scissors used to cut thick branches of shrubs and young trees. Pruning scissors are also used in gardens to harvest vegetables such as pumpkins and fruits like peaches and grapes.
- Gardening Shears
These are great gardening tools used to trim stems, smalls branches, hedges, herbs, and flowers.
- Garden Spade
This is an exceptional digging tool for every gardener. A garden spade is used to dig and loosen ground as well as break up soil lumps.
A trowel is a small handheld gardening tool with a pointed, scoop-shaped blade and comes with a plastic or wooden handle. It is used to lift garden soil or plants and dig small holes.
- Garden Rake
A garden rake is a tool made up of long handle connected to a head. This type of rake is used for gardening tasks such as to break hard soil, creating planting rows, turning the soil, removing weeds and levelling garden soil among other uses.
- Garden Hose
Also known as a hosepipe, a garden hose is a flexible tube, which can be attached to sprinklers and sprayers. It is used to convey water to a vegetable garden. Garden hose with sprinklers can also be used to water lawns or planting beds.
- Gardening Knife
A gardening knife is a simple tool with just a blade and a handle and comes with no moving parts. This knife can be used for digging holes, cutting through dense soils and roots. A gardening knife can also be used for transplanting, weeding and dividing plants among other uses.
To Sum Up
More and more people are these day discovering the joys of gardening. It is a practice that offers homeowners many benefits. You can make the most of this tiny garden to grow vegetables and increase the value of your home in the process.
However, to achieve your gardening goals, you have to plan and figure out what you need to succeed. We have team of experts ready to guide you in your gardening endeavours.
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.