By planting a vegetable garden, you can experience several rewards. Not only is it good for the mind and good physical exercise, but you also have healthy vegetables to eat in the end. Many people feel intimidated about starting a vegetable garden or know how to take care of it after it is planted. With a little knowledge, planting your own vegetable garden is not as daunting of a task as it may seem.
While flower gardens can be particularly finicky, vegetable gardens are more forgiving and tend to be easier to maintain. Vegetables are more resilient than flowers, especially to changes in the weather and they acclimate to the soil more easily. While vegetable gardens would seem to need a lot of space, there are many varieties that grow well in small spaces such as plant boxes. The best place to start is to figure out how much space you can dedicate to a garden and pick vegetables that will work well for your space.
One traditional planting style is to sow your garden in rows of evenly spaced lines. However, it is also common to plant different vegetable types in alternating rows. This works well for cross-pollination, which yields a better harvest. Be aware of where your rows are planted so that you leave yourself space to walk unencumbered and without ruining the soil structure where your vegetables are already planted.
Another alternative planting style is planting vegetables in beds rather than lines and rows. Raised beds work particularly well for vegetables as it allows for better soil drainage, better heat retention during cold spells and more room for root distribution. Vegetable beds should be small enough that you can weed them easily without having to enter the bed itself.
One aesthetically pleasing planting style is known as potager which is combining vegetables with various herbs and flowers. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, but it also helps with cross-pollination.
For those who do not have a large amount of space to dedicate to a garden, there are many vegetables that grow well in planter’s boxes and smaller containers. With any plant, a few things to remember is they need access to sunlight, fresh air, water and good soil. Miniature vegetables are a good choice of seed as they can be planted closer together than their full-size counterparts. You can yield a surprisingly good bounty of vegetables in a smaller area than you expect.
One of the key elements of any healthy garden is the quality of the soil and how well it is prepared. Whether you choose to plant a large garden in your yard, have raised beds or plant in small containers on your city balcony, this is one step you do not want to skip. Some vegetables need sandy soil while others need more clay-like soil, and still other vegetables grow best in silt, which is a fine mixture of clay and sand.
You will want to prepare your soil so that it is appropriate for your crop of choice. This is another reason vegetable beds are a good choice as you can plant different vegetables according to their different soil needs in separate beds.
If you choose to do one garden space, your soil should be a balanced mix of sand, clay and silt. A good balance would be 20% silt, 40% clay and 40% sand. An easy (and free) way of testing your soil is by balling it up in your hand. It should retain its shape without being too sticky or without crumbling.
While planting a vegetable garden does take time and patience, it is well worth the effort. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different vegetables or different varieties of your favorite vegetable. Find what works for you, and in the end, you will enjoy the delicious result of all your hard work.
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