One of the activities that you have most to gain from is growing your own vegetables, but for first-timers, the complex procedure of planning and organizing the veggie garden can feel like an impossible task. What’s even more stressful is that a single mistake can cost you everything as you won’t have what to harvest, all of your work being in vain. The thoroughly put together plan we provide will help you start a proper vegetable garden, so follow our advice closely and you will be just a few months away from eating homegrown veggies that are tasty and healthy.
Find your garden site
Before you start the garden, you have to find a proper site. There are a few conditions that you must take into consideration when picking the placement and you must make sure to go through the checklist to avoid having issues later on.
- Climate: If you live in a windy area, you have to consider building a fence or planting shrubs that will act as a windbreak. No matter the types of veggies you plan on growing, a wind that blows at a high speed is detrimental for them, so you cannot afford to skip on this protective measure.
- Sunlight: Veggies need about 6 hours of sunlight per day, on average. However, if you plan on growing vegetables like peppers, eggplants, or tomatoes, know that they require full sun. If you have tall trees that tend to throw shade on the ground, cut some of their branches to make room for light to hit on these veggies all day long.
- Soil: To have a fruitful harvest, you should place the garden in an area where the soil is rich in humus and drainage is properly set up, keeping moisture when the hot months of the year come. However, you need not fret if the soil isn’t of a great quality as you can amend it to obtain the desired results.
- Water: To save time and costs, it is preferable to position the garden somewhere near a water supply. This is a convenience aspect to consider, most of all, as there are solutions to watering the veggies no matter how far away the garden is situated from the nearest water supply.
Plan a proper layout
Before you buy the seeds, tools, and start planting, there is another aspect you have to take into consideration, more precisely what is the layout you will opt for. Planning it ahead will save you trouble and costs later on, so beware to think it through.
- Light distribution: This step is influenced by the placement of the garden site itself as there are elements that could present an issue and you must take care of, as the aforementioned branches that shadow the area and must be cut. For proper distribution of the light onto the veggies, the rows must face north to south.
- Marking pathways: You must leave enough room for yourself to walk between the rows in order to have an easy time when you are weeding the plants, watering them, or simply observing their growth. A pathway of 12 to 16 inches wide suffices for you to be able to walk around freely.
- Crop rotation: Consider the fact that you are going to need to rotate the crops each year in order to ensure that there are enough nutrients left in the ground for each species to grow properly. Thus, you should plant the veggies according to their needs so that you can later rotate them with ease. You should divide them into 3 groups to enjoy proper crop rotation later. Root crops should be in close proximity of each other, the veggies in this category including carrots, beets, and potatoes. The same goes for brassicas that include cabbage, turnip, rutabaga, and cauliflower. Lastly, there are all the other veggies you can think of, that require similar nutrients and can be planted next to each other without a problem.
Prepare the soil
This is the final step towards a proper veggie garden organization and by far the most important one. Soil preparation is the key to success as ensuring a fertile growing ground for the vegetables makes the most difference in establishing whether you will have what to harvest or not.
- Clear the area: First off, you should clear the area of fallen branches that you can conveniently dispose of in the wood chipper. Basically, you need to get rid of everything that is on the ground in order to properly prepare the soil for the upcoming planting process.
- Remove grass: If the site is filled with grass, you have to get rid of it all. Avoid using chemical solutions that could harm the growth of your veggies when you remove the grass, though, as you might end up damaging your harvest.
- Plow, spade, or rototill: First off, test to see if the soil is ready for any of these procedures by grabbing a handful and squeezing it. If it crumbles freely, you can proceed to plow, spade, or rototill it.
- Apply compost: To ensure that the soil provides proper nutrients for the vegetables, you must throw manure or compost on it, and dig it into the top few inches of the ground with a rake. For the area where you plant roots, dig approximately 1 inch, for the brassicas area 2 inches, and for all the other species, dig 2-3 inches.