Aside from home management, food preparation, and cooking, gardening is also an exciting way to spend some time at home.
You probably have your own home garden already where beautiful grass, shrubs, flowers, succulents, ferns, and more are nicely grown. But have you tried growing a food or vegetable garden before but has failed or maybe you’re planning to grow one soon? Veggie gardening is a bit more tedious than non-edible plant gardening simply because you have to be more careful in cultivating them and wait until their harvest time, for consumption or for selling. Nevertheless, bountiful reaps gives you joy.
Vegetable gardening can help your kids consume more veggies especially if you get them involved in planting and cultivating by giving them their own smaller plot. You can prep your fave salad any time you want and always have veggies as side or part of cooking your main dish with readily available greens from your garden.
To help you out, here are some of the basic tips in growing a vegetable garden.
Start Small with Your Garden Size
If it’s your first time to start a vegetable garden, then you should start small. Take this as your experimental crop but follow the planting guidelines promptly to reap better results. You might be excited to plant as many as you want on a bigger plot, but that can be overwhelming, so don’t overplant. Starting small will give you a notion of how effective your planting skills are and how easy it is to manage and care for. Depending on your how big your backyard or garden space is, try a 5 x 5 (for a smaller space) or 10 x 10 square feet (if you have a larger working space) of vegetable plot and work on the first few rows of greens (at least 3 to 5 types of veggies). If you gained success in cultivating and harvesting from your small veggie garden, then you can level up and expand your plot.
Set A Perimeter For Your Plot
Create a clear boundary or perimeter using a tape measure and markers like stakes and strings on every corner of your veggie plot.
Check The Seed Packets For Maturation
You should separate veggies that are quick to mature from those that have longer maturation. Bush beans and radishes are some that mature faster and have a shorter harvest period, while tomatoes, for instance, takes longer. Check the seed packets for maturity days and be sure to buy high-quality seeds.
Try A Great Way To Start Your Veggies
The soil has been the most widely used in planting since the beginning of time. But when it comes to starting or germinating your seeds, varying factors may come into play. You can use Rockwool Starter Plugs to start your seeds and cuttings effectively and efficiently. You can place them in Starter Trays for easier management and transport to soil later on.
Grow Your Herbs At Home
Herbs are considered an essential part of cooking your meals. They add flavor and aroma to your dishes. Since herbs in the grocery store or market are quite expensive, you can home grow them instead.
Plant Your Favorite Easy-To-Grow Veggies
First of all, the veggies you would want to grow should be your favorites or those that are easy-to-grow. The weather condition in your area plays a big part in it. Root veggies and tomatoes can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Examples of veggies you can easily grow are cabbage, lettuce, chard, tomatoes, bush beans, carrots, and beets to name a few.
Water Your Plants Just The Right Amount
Without a doubt, water is an essential part of plant-growing. They must be planted near a water source for easy access. Be gentle in watering seedlings and immature greens. Water your veggies in the morning to have a balanced absorption of moisture and nutrients during the hot day. Watering at night can result in excess moisture and leave the crops and soil bed damp. Your veggies need at least 2 to 5 cm. of water per week, a bit more on hotter climate/season when planted on the soil to help roots grow further. Water them daily when veggies are growing in containers.
Nourish Your Soil
Aside from your veggies, you should also take care of your soil. Lay organic matter such as manure, shredded leaves, compost, and even stone wool/rockwool on the soil surface to give it some nourishment and maintain it over time. This will help improve its structure, provide proper drainage, and propagating your roots and veggies more effectively.
Place Them Where Water Meets Soil
There’s a proper place for everything, including the availability of water and drainage. Plant them in moist and well-drained soil, if not, on raised bed. Remove the rocks to ensure proper moisture, drainage, and root-ventilation. Remember that picking the right location for your plants is essential for their growth. Try to squeeze the soil and see if water streams out. If that happens, add more organic matter to improve drainage.
Provide Proper Sunlight
Even a bit of sunshine can brighten our day. The same is true with your vegetable garden. Photosynthesis is a huge deal so they need at least 7 hours of sunlight daily to grow faster and healthier. Place them in the spot where light can reach to get the most benefits.
Spinach, kale, lettuce, chard, thyme, parsley, and cilantro are some of the veggies and herbs that can tolerate the shade. Root crops can get at least 4 hours of sunlight for them to grow.
Plant Alongside Some Helpful Companions
The practice of companion planting alongside your veggies has been done by many primarily to keep pests out, increase pollination, and improve flavor to your crops. Marigolds protect your veggies from pests, basils improve the flavor most especially of tomatoes, and flowering herbs such as sage, rosemary, and oregano attract bees for pollination.
Label Your Plants
All living and non-living things need identification. The same goes for your plants. Putting a plastic label tag on your greens will help you easily identify which seedlings or sprouts are planted.
Arrange Your Greens Accordingly
Plant taller veggies such as sweet corn and pole beans further back to where they won’t shade the smaller ones.
Cool-season crops such as root crops, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and radish can be planted after spring frost and in a partly shaded area, while warm-season crops such as peppers, eggplant, herbs, and tomatoes can be planted in late spring to summer when the soil is warmer and there’s plenty of sunlight.
Provide a separate row or beds for recurring or perennial crops such as horseradish, artichokes, herbs, watercress, and asparagus from those that can grow seasonally or annually.
Keep Pests Out
Pests to plants may include fungal infection, insects, smaller and bigger animals trying to eat your veggies. Your food garden is truly irresistible to them, but there are ways to protect your greens as much as you can. To keep animals out, put up a taller and deeper fence to stop animals from either hopping or digging their way into the crops. Pick off caterpillars and large insects large to limit infestation. Do your soil watering (not the leaves) during the day, not at night, to avoid possible fungal infection due to mildew. As soon as you noticed an infected or diseased veggie, sadly you need to throw it away so as not to infect other growing veggies.
Eliminate The Weeds
Weeds can really take a toll on your vegetable-growing garden. As soon as you see them, remove the weeds out as they steal the nutrients and moisture from your precious growing veggies. You can use your hands or the blade edge (just be careful) in weeding out.
Plant and Harvest Continuously
Maximize your plot by planting your next batch of crops after harvest. Clean out your soil bed and After your first harvest, it becomes easier for you to start planting again especially if you have weekly crops by the season.
Keep Records of Your Gardening
Take note of how and when you started your veggie garden, the vegetable seeds and cuttings used, any infections, weeds, pests, and failed growths, the weather or season, what methods worked and whatnot, and anything worth noticing. Keeping track of what happens within your vegetable garden can help you understand what works best and avoid making the same mistakes in the long run.
Best things are achieved when you take time flourishing them. You may find yourself too eager to get things done as quickly as possible, but the best work of art (science) comes when it’s being handled with patient caring. Some veggies take time to grow than others. Don’t restraint what’s essential for your crops and plots, follow the tips on how to cultivate them accordingly.