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VEGETABLE GARDENING BASICS: HOW TO START A VEGETABLE GARDEN
Nothing surpasses the flavor, and enjoyment of savoring fresh tomatoes just picked right off of the vine, sun-ripened peas straight from the pod or a summer salad just harvested from your own yard. Growing your own vegetable garden is not only fun, economical, and easy but also a great way of encouraging kids to enjoy eating fresh vegetables.
If you think that you need a lot of space to grow a vegetables garden think again. This photo shows a mini-vegetable grown in a whiskey barrel on a patio, perfect for gardeners lacking space to grow.
If you are new at vegetable gardening it is best to start with a small garden that you can successfully manage and then expand each year until your garden reaches a point where it is still manageable with your daily life, yet provides you with the amount of fresh vegetables, greens and herbs that you desire. Follow along and we will provide you with some great tips for getting your own vegetable garden started.
Plan before you plant or purchase. Sounds easy enough, but believe me it is easy to get carried away with buying seeds and vegetable plants once spring starts. So start out right with a basic plan that just takes a few minutes to complete by answering a few simple question:
Who will be doing the work? Will the garden be a group project with family members or friends who will work willingly through the season to a fall harvest, or will you be handling the daily chores associated with vegetable gardening by yourself? Remember that a small weed-free garden will produce more than a large, weedy mess.
What do you and your family like to eat? Although the pictures in the garden catalog look delicious, there is no value in taking up gardening space with vegetables that no one eats. Make a list of your family’s favorite vegetables, ranked in order of preference. This will be a useful guide in deciding how much of each vegetable to plant. Successive plantings of certain crops such as beans, lettuce and carrots can be harvested over a longer period of time and increase your yield. As you plan, list recommended varieties and planting dates.
How do you plan to use the produce from your garden? If you plan to can, freeze, dry or store part of the produce, this will be a factor not only in planning the size of the garden but also in selecting varieties. Some varieties have much better keeping quality than others. Care should be used in choosing the seeds, making sure the varieties you select are adapted to your area and intended use. When selecting seeds always look for organic seeds whenever possible.
Finally, how much space is available? How much area can be converted into usable garden space, and how much garden do you need? Do not plant more garden than you need.