Eight Steps to a Bountiful Vegetable Gardenbignet
You’ve decided that you want a vegetable garden to lower your grocery bills. But, where do you start? There are eight essential steps to successful vegetable gardening.
Step 1. Pick an appropriate area for your garden. When you choose your site, consider these important factors:
– Sunlight. Most vegetables grow best in full sunlight. Choose an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day.
– Soil. The best soil for growing vegetables is a dark soil, rich in nutrients, that has good drainage but will still hold sufficient moisture for the plants. Don’t plant your garden too close to trees and shrubs whose roots will steal nutrients and water from the vegetables.
– Water. Place your garden near your water supply — faucets that can be reached by no more than two hose lengths.
Step 2. Create your site plan. Make a plan before you purchase your seeds or plants. It will help you decide how many you need to buy to best fit the available space. Base your plan on the vegetables that your family likes, how much work you want to do on the garden and how much room there is in the garden. Create a quick sketch to follow while you are planting.
Step 3. Buy your plants and/or seeds. Be sure that the plants you get will grow well in the area where you live. Buy young, healthy plants that are not limp or straggly or that have been over-crowded in pots. On seeds, look at the date stamp on the package to make sure they are not too old.
Step 4. Prepare your soil for planting. This is one of the most important things to do for a successful garden. To prepare the soil, add a layer of compost or fertilizer over the top of the soil. Then till (or spade) this layer into the existing soil. Rake the soil into rows or mounds, depending on the type of vegetables you’ll be planting.
Step 5. Sow your seeds. If some of your vegetables will be planted from seeds, plant them first. Sometimes seeds are started indoors or in a greenouse to give them a good start. When seedlings appear, thin them to the distances recommended on the seed packets.
Step 6. Plant your plants. Plant young plants following the directions given by the plant nursery where you purchased them. Planting times can be tricky. You want to plant early, but not so early as to stunt their growth in cooler weather. Some plants will require netting or wire forms for best results.
Step 7. Care for your growing plants. Once your vegetables are all planted, you need to care for them by watering, weeding, pruning, and protecting them from insects.
Step 8. Harvest your garden. Different vegetables are harvested at different times. Vegetables should be carefully watched and picked at their peak. You may eat them immediately after harvesting or you can freeze or can them for later use.