Start a Vegetable Garden
The White House now has a vegetable garden and you can too. One of the reasons for Michelle Obama wanting a veggie garden at the White House was to create buzz for the fact that vegetable gardens are great things to have at your home. Having a vegetable garden is even a way to save money. Starting one isn't that difficult when you are properly prepared.
What should I plant and where should I put my garden?
Before you do anything you need to answer two questions, "What do I want to plant?" and "Do I have the space to plant these things?" The easy answer is to plant what you and/or your family's favorite vegetables. How much space you will need will depend on what you are planting and how much of it you plan on planting. You should start out with a small garden about 25 to 30 squared feet. As a beginner, you should start with as few as one plant type or as many as three and just try to get the hang of these plants your first year. Tomatoes are a good starter plant to grow. If you have the space and the fortitude you can start with a larger space. Just be careful and don't get over your head. Don't be too disappointed if you don't get the results you are expecting your first year. Gardening is a learning process. Not everyone has a green thumb their first year.
Setting up your own vegetable garden is not that difficult. Most vegetables do best in full sun, so pick a site for your vegetable garden that is flat and gets a good amount of sun throughout the day. If you don't have a large yard, or any yard at all, you can have a vegetable garden in containers.
What will I need?
Before you start growing anything, you will need to be prepared with the right tools. You most likely need all of the following:
- garden trowel
- garden gloves
- watering can
- fertilizer, compost would be best
When should I plant?
Even if you live in a warm climate, you still will not be able to grow any fruit or vegetable at any time of year. Before you begin planting, do some research on your region. Make sure you are starting at the right time, after all signs of frost. Most likely, a nursery near you will not be selling plants that you can’t grow in your area, but it is still not foolproof. If you purchase from a catalog or off the internet, you need to know you are getting the right plants. For best results find which zone you live in the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. The seeds that you buy will tell you which zones are best for success.
How do I prepare the soil?
To prepare your ground for a vegetable garden you must first clear off all of the grass. A tiller works best in this case, but you may be able to get by with using a hoe. Turn over the soil with a hoe or a rake and make sure that you get out all of the rocks and roots from the soil. Once everything is cleaned off of the soil, put on some compost or mild, slow release fertilizer. Rake in the compost with the soil.
Now, can I plant the seeds (or plants)?
Yes. Read the directions from the seed packets or plants that you bought for best results. These will tell you again which region is best for planting, when to plant, whether the plants like full sun, how far apart to plant the seeds and how deep to sow the seeds.
If rows are needed, make them using a hoe at an angle. Plant the seeds according to the correct depth and distance apart. Now cover seeds or plants with lose soil once again making sure the proper depth is achieved.
Everything is planted, now what?
You need to give your seeds or plants a good first soaking with water. After that, you need to make sure you water your plants on a regular basis. Keep an eye on the weather and if you notice your plants are getting dry and it’s not supposed to rain anytime soon, get out your hose and water them thoroughly, but don’t drown them. It is possible to over-water them. Next, you need to always remember to weed your garden. With any outdoor garden, your plants will be in danger of weeds. Any plant that ends up in your garden, whether it be grass, dandelions, or a familiar flower, needs to be removed. Not only does it look bad, but it will steal all the nutrients and water from your plants and might kill them.
We hope that this will encourage you to start a vegetable garden. It will be good for you and your family in more ways than one.