Starting your very own vegetable garden
It’s without saying that there’s nothing like picking your very own vegetables from your garden – picking a salad for dinner can be an enjoyable task and it’s also gratifying to know that you’ve grown your own produce to eat (free from pesticides and sprays). It’s a myth that you need a huge plot of land to start your very own vegetable garden. That’s only necessary if you are planning to feed your whole family solely with your own vegetable produce. There’s nothing to stop you from just having a small herb garden in containers or even just planting out salad greens in flower pots or window boxes can be just as satisfying.
Planning your Vegetable Garden
To ensure success, you need to plan your vegetable garden and work out how much time you have to maintain it. Vegetable gardening is pleasurable but it is also time consuming because most vegetables are gross feeders and require a fair bit of care to ensure that you get a good crop and one that is worth eating. Whilst the traditional thinking for vegetable garden design was to have long orderly rows of vegetables, you can opt to do square foot gardening (which is a good alternative and more space effective).
Some traditionalists feel that you have to work the soil ie dig in lots of compost and manure into existing ground to prepare the plot. I’ve found the no-dig alternative even better – definitely a worthwhile endeavor for those with bad backs or for elderly gardeners who prefer not to have to work the soil too hard to enjoy a bountiful harvest. Raising the plot also ensures better drainage and the soil also tends to stay warmer in the colder climates.
You don’t have to dedicate one whole plot solely to vegetables alone – the potager garden is a gardening style which mixes up flowers, herbs and vegetables together in varied shapes and designs to create an overall aesthetically pleasant garden which is both beautiful to look at and productive to boot.
Wherever you decide to put your vegetable garden, you have to pick a sunny spot – that’s because the bulk of the vegetables that you grow will need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily to thrive. For some it could be a problem if there are overhanging trees in certain spots so the choice for the plot would be pretty obvious. For other gardeners who have lots of sunny spots in their garden, then the choices could be greater. If at all possible, site it as close to the house as possible. I tend to like to pick my garden salad in the evening just before I get dinner ready, which means it’s nothing for me to duck out and walk just a few steps and harvest, this would be a tad harder if it my vegetable plot was somewhere down the back of the yard where I’d need a torch to find the salad greens. Siting the vegetable near the house also means that watering chores and fertilizing are easier to perform and I’m less likely to forget them.