Having your own vegetable garden can be rewarding, economically beneficial, and convenient. Many people love being able to simply walk into their backyard to gather vegetables or herbs for that night’s dinner. Here are 5 helpful tips to start your vegetable garden the right way.
The location of your garden is key. Choose a place that receives a good amount of sun; vegetable gardens flourish in spots that get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Be sure to place taller plants to the north or west to make sure they don’t cast shade on the other plants.
It is a very common mistake to incorrectly water a vegetable garden. It’s said that no more than an inch of water is necessary each week, including rainfall. It is best to use a soaker hose to water your garden, as it provides a steady amount of water rather than over-soaking the plants. It is also a good idea to use drip lines and a timer to ensure that the plants will get an adequate amount of water on time each day.
The soil in which you plant your vegetable garden is extremely important. Be sure to turn the soil at least once a month, and incorporate some type of compost in as well to provide nutrients. You can make your own compost by gathering leaves in the fall and allowing them to decompose over the winter. In the spring, you will have a nutrient-rich compost to mix into your soil. You can also create a compost from scraps of vegetables and fruits.
Using a layer of mulch over the soil in your garden will help insulate it, keeping the heat in during the winter, and keeping the heat out during the summer. Mulch also creates a barrier against weeds and retains moisture in the soil. Many gardeners find that it improves the look of their garden as well, which certainly never hurts.
By Thomask0 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
It is very common to make the mistake of placing the plants too close together in order to squeeze them in and produce more vegetables. This causes the plants to essentially battle for nutrients, causing some of them to die out of malnutrition. Always allow proper spacing when placing seedlings in your garden so each plant will receive the proper amount of water and nutrition.