Have you ever thought how nice it would be to go out into your garden, pick some organic vegetables, and then make a meal? Are you considering planting a vegetable garden for the very first time? Here are some tips to help get you started planting a vegetable garden.
Preparing Soil for Your Vegetable Garden
The first thing to know about gardening is soil preparation. This is one of the most basic things that any new gardener needs to learn. Whether you plan to use a plot of land in your backyard or start a container vegetable garden on your balcony, soil preparation plays an important role in whether or not your vegetable garden will survive. There are three types of soil that you need to be familiar with: sand, clay, and silt. Sandy soil is loose and helps the roots of plants breathe because it lets the air pass through easily. Clay soil absorbs water faster and keeps it inside longer. A soil composition that has more clay particles in it would be ideal for places that are too hot and the soil dries up quickly. Silt is a fine mixture of sand and clay particles.
When preparing the soil for your vegetable garden, dig up the soil and break off the lumps. Take out any rocks, roots, and weeds while you’re at it. Check if you have just the right mixture of sand, silt, and clay before you begin planting vegetable gardens. Ideally, silt and sand should both be 40%, and clay should just be 20%. This is to make sure that the water isn’t trapped inside too much that the roots will choke. Also, if the water is trapped too long inside the soil, the roots will rot. One good way to test whether the composition of your soil is good is by scooping out a handful and forming a ball with it. The soil should hold the shape of a ball without too much difficulty. If the soil cannot hold the shape, you might have too much silt or sand in the mixture. If the soil holds the shape but does not crumble easily when you poke it, it might have too much clay in it, which you need to balance out with a little silt or sand.
Choosing Vegetables for Your Vegetable Garden
Once you have finished cultivating the soil where you want to plant your vegetables, pick what kind of vegetable you want to grow there. Keep in mind that some vegetables don’t grow well when you plant them too close to certain types of other vegetables. Potatoes, for example, shouldn’t be planted too close to squash or tomatoes because it inhibits their growth. They can be planted in the same garden; just don’t plant them beside each other.
Some vegetables to consider growing together:
- tomatoes, peppers, and basil
- carrots, lettuce, and radishes
- celery, onion, and spinach
- cucumber, corn, and peas
(You’ll find some specific information about growing different types of vegetables throughout our website.)
You can choose to begin with seeds or container plants. Seeds will be more economical but also require more patience. If you choose seeds, follow the directions on the package—as seeds should be planted at different depths depending on their type.
Watering Your Vegetable Garden
After you have decided on the kind of vegetables you want and have planted them into the cultivated soil, you’ll have to learn about watering them properly. Vegetables need to be watered consistently. When planting vegetable gardens in a big space, you might want to consider using a soaker hose. A soaker hose has many holes along its body that waters your garden by letting the water seep through its holes.
Maintaining Your Vegetable Garden
In addition to watering your vegetable garden, you’ll need to pull weeds and check to see that everything is going well. Some obstacles you may encounter are bugs and furry creatures who want to eat your garden before you get a chance to.
You’ll learn some things along the way, one of them being patience. But try to remember the rewards of having a functional garden in your outdoor space.
By Shannon Mendez