Your First Vegetable Garden - There has been a renewed interest in growing a home vegetable garden over the last few years. People are discovering how rewarding it can be to grow your own food, not to mention the fact that it is healthier and much more delicious
than the produce you buy at the store! But where do you start if you have never planted a vegetable garden before?
Choosing a Location for Your Vegetable Garden
The first step in planting a vegetable garden is selecting a location. You will want an area that gets plenty of sunlight, has good drainage, and is relatively flat. Once you have chosen the spot, you will want to work the soil. Using a garden tiller, you will want to break up the soil to a depth of about ten to twelve inches. Then, using the tiller, work some organic material such as compost or aged manure into the soil. This will enrich the vegetable garden area and help provide valuable nutrients to your future plants. After you have tilled the soil, water it well and let it sit untouched for a couple of days. This will allow the dirt to settle before you plant.
After the soil has settled, you will want to measure out your rows. A good rule of thumb is to have 12 to 18 inches of space between each row. This will allow for the plants to spread and gives you room to walk down the rows for weeding and harvesting. Using string, you can mark off the rows and then make hills and furrows in the vegetable garden using a rake or an attachment on a small garden tiller. The hills are where you will plant your seeds and the furrows are for watering and also act as pathways in the vegetable garden.
Planning Your Vegetable Garden
Before you plant your seeds, you need to be aware of how big each plant will get and the direction of the sun. You don’t want your corn to shade all the other plants! If your hills and furrows in your vegetable garden run east to west, arrange the plants with the tallest on the north and the shortest on the south. For a vegetable garden that runs north to south, put your tall plants on the east and the small ones on the west. This will ensure that all the plants get adequate sunlight throughout the day.
When to Plant Your Vegetable Garden
Plant your seeds or place your seedlings in the ground after all danger of frost is past. There are a few plants that can go in earlier, such as peas and tomatoes if you put a hot cap on them. Keep the ground moist, but not soggy, until the seeds germinate. Then follow a regular irrigation schedule based on how dry the soil gets and how hot the temperature gets. Make sure you keep the weeds down so they don’t choke out your plants. You can add mulch around the base of the plants that will help keep the moisture in and also help keep the weeds down. Fine shredded bark or compost are good choices for a mulch in your vegetable garden because they can be tilled back into the soil in the fall.
Growing a vegetable garden is a rewarding activity, but it takes time and patience. Every year will bring a bigger harvest as you learn what grows best in your yard.
More Vegetable Garden Ideas:
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