Although an icy winter chill continues to coat much of the landscape, the promise of a luscious spring bloom is budding right around the corner. And with the most popular planting season of the year on the horizon, many newbie gardeners are flirting with the notion of putting down the grocery shopping basket, and learning how to start a vegetable garden of their very own.
Starting a vegetable garden is an investment that allows gardeners to reap both financial and savory benefits, long after the initial seeds are planted.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average family of four spends anywhere between $550 and $1250 a month on groceries, depending on much they conserve their cash. And not surprisingly, a sizable bulk of this cost stems from produce, most of which is overbought and wasted with unintentional fridge decay.
Conversely, produce seed packets cost both a fraction of the cost of store-bought produce, and with the potential to supply a bounty of fresh, delicious offspring for weeks to come.
Granted, the question of “how to start a vegetable garden” tends to be a common blockade when considering self-cultivated produce. Most novice gardeners fall victim to a number of planting mistakes, from improper plot placement to watering negligence. But with the correct planning, testing and seed selecting, any newbie gardener can make the transition from planting novice to full-fledged cultivator.
Map Out Your Plot
Plot placement is arguably the most crucial decision any gardener will make. Too far in the shade, and the sun-loving produce will falter. Too near a tree, and it’ll suck up all your produce’s essential nutrients. Try to select a spot receiving at least six hours of sun, as well as a location that you’ll see most often (like a mailbox or windowsill).
Additionally, you’ll need to decide what garden frame will suit your bed best. Do you have poor soil, or are physically limited from spending long hours with your back in a poor position. Elevated garden beds will provide an easily manageable vehicle for organized a produce plot
You’ll also want to ensure your soil is suitable for growing produce. Send a sample to the Cooperative Extensive System office for a pH balance confirmation.
Select Your Tools
In order to ensure your garden will receive the nurture and tending it deserves, first-time vegetable gardeners should compile:
- Bagged compost
- Watering Can
- Gardening Shears
- Round Shovel
- Digging Fork
- Garden Gloves (optional)
Ensure Your Soil is Nutritious
For soil that might be inadequate in nutrient levels, compost will become a novice gardener’s best friend when learning how to start a vegetable garden.
Use compost generously. Although the specific types can vary, organic matter like dried leaves or manure will provide a rich platform for your produce to flourish.
Selecting the Perfect Seeds
Once you’ve established your plot, soil and tools, the bulk of legwork is done, right? Hardly. Selecting the perfect seeds for your plot is a crucial decision. One of the most common mistake first-time gardeners mistake is overzealously crowding their vegetable garden.
Start small, with a few manageable, easy-to-cultivate kinds of produce, like tomatoes, spinach, squash or lettuce. And what’s more, leafy greens tend to be low-maintenance when it comes to shade, should your landscape be less forgiving. And tomatoes and squash will continue to provide as the season chugs along – just be sure to allow them ample room to flourish, as they prefer some space.
Continue to Care, and Watch Your Vegetable Seedlings Flourish
Although the notion of how to start a vegetable garden might seem overwhelming at first, with the proper planning, organizing a plot is hardly a daunting task at all. Just be sure to monitor your produce diligently, as pests and watering negligence can hinder your hard work.