How to set up a garden for planting vegetables
Setting up a vegetable garden is a perfect addition to any gardener’s portfolio. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to grow your very own vegetable garden from scratch!
If you are looking to spend time doing something productive, gardening can be a very good choice. Taking up gardening can be an extremely rewarding experience. Not only does it possess numerous benefits, but it can keep you busy and occupied as well- which can be a useful thing during these quarantine times. Whether you are planning to go vegan or trying to practice self-sustenance, a vegetable garden can come in handy. Consuming fresh and chemical-free vegetables can be an excellent way to better your health and improve your metabolism.
It is not uncommon for gardeners to face difficulty while growing their vegetables. Many novice gardeners find it hard to grow a vegetable garden from scratch. If you are one of them, don’t worry- we have written this elaborate guide to help you through it. Here is a list of 10 steps you should take to ensure that your garden blooms in no time!
Opt for a Suitable Location to Plant Your Vegetables
The first and foremost thing you need to decide is where to plant your vegetables. Although this step is often neglected by gardeners, yet this can be a crucial factor in deciding whether your vegetables will grow or not. The location should have the following qualities:
- It should have proper sunlight exposure
- It should not be congested; a cramped up location discourages plant growth
- The location should be airy
- It should be either a level land or a gentle slope
If you are setting up your vegetable garden outside, then make sure that the location has a water supply and you can monitor it regularly. If you do not have the space to set up a garden outside, then an indoor garden is your best bet. Growing vegetables indoors can be fun and is relatively easier.
Select the Vegetables
Selecting the right vegetables for planting is crucial. You should start small; it is common for gardeners to start growing a big garden with a plethora of vegetables, and then leave it in the middle because of how hectic it became. You should choose easy to grow vegetables that mature in a short duration and show good growth round the year. Some of the easiest crops which you can grow with minimal effort are lettuce, beans, cucumbers, and salad. These vegetables grow in nearly every setting and can thrive even with minimal care. Additionally, familiarize yourself with your climate zone and determine which vegetables are best suited to your environment. Tomato plants are a good choice in particular; they can grow easily in the majority of temperature zones and they ask for negligible care and maintenance. They tend to grow on their own if they are provided with enough water and ample sunlight. Once you succeed in growing these vegetables, you can try your luck with other vegetables as well.
Decide when to start planting
Planting vegetables in the right season can enhance the growth and flavor of your vegetables. We see many gardeners planting their vegetables as soon as they buy seeds, but it is not the ideal practice. Planting the seeds right away will not cause many problems, but it is always a better choice to carefully plan the timing of planting.
First of all, determine which vegetables you are growing and which temperatures they require for bearing fruit. Warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and corn should be sown immediately after the last frost date (Check your climate zone to learn more about frost dates). On the other hand, cool-season vegetables should be grown prior to the frost date. If you want to plant warm-season vegetables in winters, cover the vegetables using a row cover or some other season-extending devices so that the vegetables can bear the cold.
Prepare the soil for planting vegetables
Preparing a soil bed for planting vegetables is an important step in growing a productive garden that will produce lots of healthy vegetables. There is no “right time” for prepping your garden bed. You should start it as soon as possible. If you live in a cold climate, you should first warm up your soil by putting a plastic sheet over it. This would solarize the soil which is an important step in preparing the soil.
- The first step in preparing a garden bed is to loosen the soil which can be done using a pitchfork.
- The second step is to remove the weeds and rocks from your soil. Weeds discourage the growth of vegetables while rocks hamper the development of root structures.
- The third step is to look for worms and small insects. This is a good sign for your soil since it means that your soil is now ready for plantation
Plant the seeds
If you are done with selecting the vegetables and prepping the garden bed, it is the right time to plant the vegetable seeds. There are two basic methods employed for sowing vegetable seeds. The first and the most common method is growing them in pots indoors and then transplanting them outdoors. The second method is growing the vegetables outdoors from the very beginning. If you are looking to grow vegetables indoors first, then growing them in a pot is the way to go. Take a spacious pot and plant the seeds deep in the pot so that the vegetables get ample space to spread their roots.
If you are growing plants outdoors then there is no better option than The Trough Method. Dig a shallow trench in your garden bed. Sprinkle the seeds along the trench while making sure that they are evenly distributed. Cover them with a layer of soil and wait for them to grow.
Mulch is useful for protecting the soil from unwanted weeds, keeping the soil cool, and preventing the frost from taking its toll on young plants. Adding a layer of mulch is always a good idea to ensure that your plants attain optimum growth. Before adding mulch, remove all the weeds so that the vegetables get proper room to grow. Use a full-sized pitchfork to scoop your mulch and spread it over the garden bed.
Use organic matter to enhance the growth
Organic material improves the capacity of soil to retain water and this can exponentially improve the growth pace of your vegetables. This allows the nutrients and minerals to be transported to the plant’s body. Organic matter is sometimes preferred over fertilizers since it is natural and contains a balanced amount of minerals. Fertilizers for plants’ growth are available in local nurseries and plant shops and can be added as well. Add fertilizers according to the vegetable requirements. Excessive addition of fertilizers discourages growth.
Provide sunlight and ample water supply
Both water and sunlight are crucial prerequisites for plants’ growth. While choosing the location of a garden, make sure that it has a sufficient supply of both sunlight and water. The majority of cold season vegetables require strong sunlight to thrive. During the early stages of a plant’s development, water plays a crucial role and is necessary for the formation of roots, stems, and other organs which sustain life. A sunny garden will make sure that your vegetables are exquisite in flavor and colorful in appearance.
If you are not well-versed with the traditional gardening practices and you are a bit tech-savvy – you could always try some latest agricultural techniques. Hydroponics is the growth of plants on an artificial medium. If you are facing any difficulty growing your vegetables on your garden soil, you could grow them in any artificial medium, and transplant them to a natural garden once they germinate. Hydroponic vegetables are easier to grow and are equally rich in nutrients and minerals. This technique is gaining popularity nowadays due to its efficacy and ease.
Harvest on time
If you have been successful in growing your very own vegetable garden, then it is time to reap your rewards. Harvesting is a fun but time taking activity that will make you fall in love with your garden. Timely harvest is important to limit any crop loss. Many gardeners harvest early, which results in high yield but immature vegetables. It is important to harvest when the vegetables have matured in order to savor their taste and nutrition.
Having your very own garden can have multiple benefits. It is a great way to limit your expenses and is a sure-shot way of getting fresh and healthy vegetables. Prepare the soil with the help of organic matter and fertilizers and plant the vegetable seeds in ample sunlight coupled with the appropriate amount of water supply.
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