Vegetable Gardens and Soil
Buying vegetables is one thing, but growing your own is another. Plucking a new, ripened vegetable off the vine and adding it to your cooking brings a pretty satisfying sense of accomplishment. You’re saving money, you’re creating your own sustainable source of food, and you’re eating well! Vegetable gardens are a beautiful and practical use of your gardening space. If you’re looking to branch out into edibles, or start fresh with an entirely new vegetable garden, these tips will help you make informed decisions to get things growing splendidly this summer!
HOW TO GET YOUR VEGETABLE GARDEN STARTED
It can be a lot of fun to envision what you want your garden to be. Maybe you want a good mix of veggies this season, or you’re going straight-up carrots. Generally, starting with fewer vegetables that yield more quickly is way more encouraging than growing larger plants that yield much later in the season. Here’s a simple step-by-step to develop a flourishing vegetable garden:
Create Your Garden Bed
Your starting point is creating a garden bed that fits your space and accommodates the number of vegetables you would like to grow. Creating a raised garden bed allows you to grow your plants just about anywhere in your yard. You can buy something pre-made or build your own using cedar wood planks. You then have the option of planting your garden over concrete, for example, or planting somewhere in your yard with more direct sunlight.
We recommend using cedar wood for your garden box because it naturally resists rotting, so it’s in it for the long haul. Being above the earth, raised gardens keep warmer have a better drainage system than planting directly in the ground, so it makes monitoring your plants’ needs more consistent. As an additional benefit, you won’t be bending over as far or as often, saving you from recurring back pain.
Select Your Vegetable Garden Soil
Your vegetable plants need dark, crumbly, healthy soil that is easy to dig into without being too gritty or clumpy. The best way to check is to feel it for yourself. If it’s gritty, you might have too much sand in it. If it clumps and feels sticky when it’s wet, there may be too much clay. Your soil should also have a good blend of organic material to keep your plants strong. Adding some compost made from fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, and dead leaves mixed into your soil will provide the nutrients your plants long for.
In general, make sure your soil isn’t too heavy or tightly packed together. It should be loose enough for plant roots to spread, for the soil to soak up water, and to allow easy drainage.
Pick Your Vegetables
If you’re a beginner and a little unsure of what to grow, start simple. Maybe don’t grow one of everything— it’s a lot to manage! Instead, grow vegetables you eat a lot of already so they can fit effortlessly into your favorite recipes.
After you figure out what you want to grow, you have to go a level deeper with the different varieties of each vegetable. Are you going to go with cherry tomatoes, or a hefty beefsteak?
Understand Your Veggies’ Needs
Vegetables can be very needy in order to stay healthy and produce a tasty yield. Placing them too close together means they will fight over space and resources. Some plants, like tomatoes, need to be planted deeper in the soil to develop a stronger root system. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your bed is at least 12 inches deep. If you’re using a raised garden bed over earth, you can dig a little deeper to accommodate those deeper roots.
Some plants thrive in direct sunlight, which means they need more water. This should inform you of how and where to plant your vegetables together. Some vegetable crops, like peas, grow to be quite tall, which is great if you care about maximizing the space you have. Be sure to provide the proper support for your taller plants with stem support poles and ringed frames.
Always make it your priority to look for and remove weeds. Weeds compete with your vegetable plants for resources, and they grow like, well, weeds.
SEED OR STARTER?
You have the choice of either growing your vegetable plants from seeds or cutting down that initial growing time by planting a partially developed seedling. At the beginning of gardening season, this decision comes down to personal preference. But at this point, with prime summer conditions right around the corner, we would suggest going with the latter. This will give your plants a head start and produce more veggies throughout the summer.
You can start your plants early by growing them from a seed indoors and migrating them to your garden bed when the weather is ideal.
Perfect Spring Starters
You can plant these vegetables early, and they’ll last well into fall.
Great Plants to Grow From Seedlings
Other Easy Plants to Transplant as Starters
Skip the trip to the market and create your own fully-stocked produce aisle right at home! You’ll instantly taste the difference that fresh, organic, garden-grown vegetables make in your daily meals.