Get Started With Your Vegetable Garden
At this time of year it seems our bodies are craving fresh, vibrant and crunchy food. Gone are the heavy casseroles and stews. We want hearty salads, sandwiches bursting with fresh veggies, and some savory vegetable stir-fries.
There are no better vegetables than the ones that you have planted and grown yourself. Somehow the tomatoes are brighter, the peas are sweeter, and the lettuce actually tastes like lettuce. When you are out gardening, remember to enjoy the process and not overwork the soil or your body. The digging, watering, bending, and planting can be hard on your joints and muscles so make sure you’re looking after your body as well as your garden.
The Perfect Spot
Ideally, you want a location that gets six to eight hours of sunlight a day. Consider how easy it will be for you to water your garden. For new gardeners, smaller is definitely better, so choose a garden plot that is two or three meters square.
The Dirt On Soil
You are going to want your soil to be a minimum of 30 centimeters deep. Measure out your garden plot and then use a garden fork and sharp spade to cut into it and lift off the grass. Use your garden fork to turn the soil over, breaking up any remaining roots and then apply some quality compost to the soil. The last step is to rake the soil into a smooth surface.
Make sure you wait until the ground has dried out a bit – don’t start with soggy grass. You may also want to buy a few bags of soil from your local gardening shop. If you’re not sure what to buy, the staff will be able to help you, make sure you explain what you’ll be growing.
Now it’s time for the fun part – deciding on what to grow. The best thing to do is to think of your favorite vegetables and start with these. Think of the vegetables that your kids enjoy eating and get them involved with choosing and planting. It is also nice to add in a few vegetables that are hard to find in your grocery store or ones that might be more costly to purchase.
You can choose to plant a mix of seeds, seedlings and plants from a local nursery. There are lots of excellent online seed companies and you can also buy these locally at your garden store. Think of the space you have and remember that your vegetables need to have room to grow.
Plan It, Then Plant It
Before you start planting your seeds, take the time to plan out your garden plot. Using a pencil and piece of paper draw out your garden plot and how you will plant your garden. Remember to review the planting and growing guidelines on the back of your seed packets and the information that came with any seedlings and plants from the nursery.
Now that you are ready to plant, follow the instructions that came with your seeds, seedlings and nursery plants. If you’re growing peas, beans, tomatoes or beans, prepare your stakes or cages.
Most importantly, enjoy your garden and gardening. Your garden will grow best when you give it regular attention. This includes watering, weeding, and checking on your vegetables to make sure that none of the plants are over-crowded.
In a short while you will have lots of fresh vegetables to enjoy at mealtimes. There is nothing better than just-picked green peas or perfectly ripe tomatoes from your very own garden. Tell us about your garden and please do share your gardening tips with others.