Can You Dig It? 7 Easy Steps to Growing the Vegetable Garden of Your Dreams
Growing your own food is a very powerful experience that most miss out on because they assume it’s just too hard and they don’t know where to start. Contrary to popular belief, gardening, especially growing veggies, is actually quite simple. The next 7 steps outline a beginner’s guide to vegetable gardening, and we hope they inspire you to get growing!
- Prepare your arsenal of garden tools. You don’t want to get a good momentum going and realize you’re missing items that could be vital to your success. When gardening with children, it’s important to not give them flimsy play gardening tools that could prove to be frustrating and discouraging. Gardening is a great way to teach children environmental awareness by exploring the workings of nature. Pro-tip: The best tool you can have in your garden is your hands, and we don’t think any of your little helpers will object to this.
- Pick a location. Sunlight plays a major part in your gardening process. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. The more sunlight they receive, the greater the harvest, the bigger the veggies, and the better the taste. Avoid planting in places that tend to flood during heavy rains, or in a place that tends to dry out a lot. You also don’t want to plant somewhere where strong winds could knock over your young plants or keep pollinators (bees!) from doing their job.
- What kind of vegetables do you hope to harvest? Pick your favorite veggies and start there! Some of the best crops for beginners to practice growing are tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cabbage, bush beans, lettuce, beets, carrots, chard, and radishes.
- Choose a plot size. Think of how large your vegetables of choice could potentially grow to be, and always remember it’s better to be proud of a small garden, than overwhelmed by one that is too big. One of the most common errors that beginners make is planting too much too soon. It’s okay to begin small! Even a big pot near your apartment window, filled with herbs and tomatoes, is a wonderful way to start a garden.
- Clear the ground and improve the soil. This is where compost comes in! Most soil could always use a boost. After digging and tilling the Earth, the solution is simple: organic matter. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost, decayed leaves, dry grass clippings, or old manure then till the soil.
- Plant Your Seeds. You did it! This is the last step of your garden planning process. Your next steps will be where the real magic happens.
- Nurture and Nourish. Water seedlings daily while they are small. After that, how often you need to water depends on your soil, how humid your climate is, and how often it rains. To help keep the weeds out and the water in, cover the soil with a couple of inches of mulch. You’re probably wondering what the heck mulch is, right? All kinds of mulch are available, from pine needles to cocoa hulls to bark chips. For your vegetable garden, choose a mulch that decomposes in a few months.
Now that you have a great foundation for the veggie garden of your dreams, we wish you happy planting and a healthy harvest! Get growing.
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