Vegetable Garden – Do you find your backyard is too plain and tedious? Why don’t you try to grow some plants? Or, it will be better if you grow some vegetables in your backyard. A vegetable garden at home is not a bad idea. It is not pie in the sky, either. You can imagine the greenish of lettuce and the vivid color of ripe tomatoes will make your backyard look overwhelmingly incredible.
Besides, the tastes of the vegetables that you cultivate by yourself will be more delicious than the ones you get in a supermarket. It is because there is a taste of achievement. You can try to create your own vegetable garden since it is just a piece of cake.
Why Vegetable Garden
Perhaps, at the moment, you are wondering why you should grow vegetables and what benefits can you obtain from cultivating vegetables at home. Let’s take a look at some reasons of why you should make a vegetable garden.
- Vegetable Gardening is good for your health
Gardening requires you to do some physical activities such as shoveling, digging the manure in, and sowing the seeds. By doing such light physical movements, you will be able to burn some fat. It is better than just sitting down on your sofa, watching television while snacking.
Gardening can also help you relieve stress. If you burn yourself out and you want to blow off steam, you can try to grow your favorite vegetables in your garden. Looking at various plants in your garden will soothe you. Besides, making yourself busy with such a positive activity will help you to get rid of your stressful mind.
Purchasing vegetables in a supermarket is easier and practical. But, we do not know whether it is still good for our health. They can be contaminated by pesticide and other harmful chemicals. Growing your own foods enable you to know exactly what you eat. You can use some natural pest repellent such as applying companion planting which is healthier than applying pesticides.
- Vegetable gardening is a valuable family activity
Growing some plants with your family is a nice activity that you need to do regularly. You will have such a high quality time with you family. You can work together with them in the garden while talking about what your kids have been doing this week, how their friends are, or just chewing the fat. It will help you to get closer to your family, something that you can barely do lately.
- Vegetable Gardening is cost effective
Vegetables sold in the supermarket may be pricey. They can even burn a hole in our pocket. Realizing this fact, you need to do something to salt away your money. Growing vegetables that you usually eat can help you cut down on expenses. It is much cheaper than purchasing vegetables in supermarket. Furthermore, planting vegetables at home is rewarding. Knowing that we have successfully grow our favorite edible plants will make us proud of ourselves.
Growing foods in your garden does not only save your money, but also your time. When you wish to make salad and you just realize that you are running out of lettuce and tomatoes, it will be too much trouble if you have to go to the supermarket to get lettuce while dinner time is coming. By growing your vegetables, you only need to go to your garden and take some fresh lettuce and tomatoes whenever you need them.
What to begin
Getting off the ground can be a little bit confusing, especially if you want to do something new. You do not need to worry. Growing vegetables is not as hard as it seems. Although you may be an inexperienced gardener who has never cultivated anything before, you can still make it. Here are the things that you need to know before growing crops.
- Find a good spot
This is the most important thing before growing some crops. You need to find a perfect area for crops to germinate. You can begin with a small area if you are new to gardening. Smaller areas are easier to maintain than the wider ones. Wider areas will only lead you to confusion.
It is important that you check the availability of sunlight before sowing the seeds. Some vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers are fond of the warmth of the sun. They need to get full sunlight for 6 to 8 hours a day. Make sure that there is nothing block the sunlight. You may need to cut down your trees so that your vegetables obtain full sunlight.
Some vegetables can put up with shaded areas such as broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beets, sprouts, radishes, swiss Chard, leafy greens, and beans. They can flourish quite well although they don’t get full sunlight.
You may also want to consider applying companion planting. It is a plant that can get along well with the vegetables that we grow although it is cultivated in proximity. Companion planting is like natural pesticide. It can deter pests that can damage your vegetables. Not only do they repel the pests, but they can also help your crops produce more and improve pollination. Basils, for instance, can get on with tomatoes well. Basils help tomatoes to deter horn worms. Put three stalks of basils for each tomato to get rid of pests.
- Prepare the soil
Fertile soil is the key of successful gardening. If you do not prepare the soil well, you will not be able to thrive the vegetables. Before sowing the seeds, you need to clean the surface of the soil from weeds, rocks, and other debris which can hinder your vegetables to thrive. If it is a grassy area, you need to remove the grass using a shovel. After removing debris from the surface of the soil, you need to cultivate it by using shovels or tillers so that the soil is ready to sow.
If the soil does not have adequate organic materials, you have to apply some compost or fertilizer. Both compost and fertilizer improve the quality of the soil. Composting takes time to stabilize the soil. Therefore, you need to spread the compost two to three weeks before sowing the seeds.
But if you want to sow the seeds soon, there is another way to save the time of waiting the soil stabilized. First of all, you have to spread the in the late fall. Cover with a winter mulch to insulate the moisture of the soil. By spring, the soil is ready to cultivate.
- Choose what to grow
There some things to consider in choosing the vegetables that you want to grow. Well, actually, any vegetables will do. But, I suggest you to grow high yield vegetables such as peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuces because they produce more crops than other vegetables do. It, of course, helps you make a dent in your expenses. You might also need to germinate vegetables that grow fast like spinach and lettuces. It will enable you to enjoy what you plant soon. And you can plant them again. The last but not least, you might also like to grow your favorite vegetables. Growing your favorite food will encourage you to do your best in cultivating them.
- When to grow the vegetables
The best time to cultivate vegetables depends on the season and weather of the area where you live. There are some vegetables flourish well in cool temperature. They are called cool-season vegetables. On the other hand, some other vegetables grow well in warmer temperature. They are called warm-season vegetables.
Cool-season vegetables are vegetables that can germinate below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They usually produce edible leaves, stems, roots, or buds. Cool-season vegetables are divided into two namely hardy vegetables and half-hardy vegetables.
Hardy is a term used by farmers referring to vegetables that can put up with very low temperatures. They can even dwell in frost. These hardy vegetables can flourish well at the temperature of 50 Celcius. The best time to start cultivating hardy plants is during either the early fall or late spring.
Some vegetables belonging to hardy vegetables are cabbage, spinach, kale, mustard, onion, leek, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, parsley, rutabaga, radishes, and peas.
Half-hardy vegetables refer to vegetables that can put up with only light frost which is 400 to 500 Fahrenheit. It means these vegetables can survive a few hours in the frost. Unlike hardy vegetables, half-hardy vegetables need to be protected from extremely low temperature. Prolonged exposure to frost will make them failed to grow.
Some vegetables categorized as half-hardy are carrots, celery, potatoes, cauliflower, beets, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, and chard.
Warm-season vegetables is a term used by farmers to refer to vegetables that cannot put up with frost. They will even die due to light frost. These vegetables need both warm soil and air temperature to flourish well. They usually grow well at the temperature of 65 to 860 Fahrenheit. Cultivating them too early or too late may damage the crops. If you are planning tp plant them outside, make sure that all frost has passed as the exposure to even light frost may be harmful to warm-season vegetables.
Warm-season vegetables grow edible fruits instead of roots, leaves, or stems. Vegetables that belong to warm-season vegetables are tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans, eggplants, and squash.
Warm-season vegetables are divided into two; tender vegetables and very tender vegetables.
Tender vegetables refer to vegetables that cannot dwell in low temperature. They are likely to be injured by cool breeze. Therefore, if you wish to plant these vegetables, you have to wait until all frost which may endanger the plants have passed and the soil is warm enough to be cultivated. It usually happens in mid spring.
While waiting for a warmer weather, you can sow tender vegetables indoor by planting them in cloches, row covers, cold frames, hot bed, and green house to safeguard your crops beforehand. You need to make sure that the place is quite warm and protected from frost.
When the crops are ready to transplant, make sure that the soil is not too cold or wet. It will be better to cultivate the vegetables in cloudy weather, in the evening, or in early morning since it can protect your crops from drooping.
As you see, Tender vegetables are beans, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, tomatoes, etc.
Very tender vegetables are extremely sensitive to low temperature or even a cold snap. These vegetables can be cultivated when the soil reach the temperature of 700 or above. Therefore, a three to four week period after all frost has passed is the best time to put these vegetables in your garden. You can say that very-tender vegetables are beans, eggplant, muskmelon, okra, peppers, etc.
- How to maintain the vegetable garden
Maintaining vegetable garden plays a crucial role. Although you have succeeded preparing the soil, choosing the best seeds, and sowing the seeds, your hard work will avail you nothing if you are failed in maintaining your vegetables. Your vegetables will grow poorly. They can even wilt.
The basic thing of vegetable garden maintenance is watering your plants regularly. It will be better if you water your plants in the early morning to preserve the moisture of the soil and help your crops avoid fungal diseases that commonly occur when the humidity levels are high.
You also need to make sure that your plants are not waterlogged. Over watering is one of the most prevalent problems faced by beginners. It is even worse than under watering. Soggy soil makes the roots unable to absorb oxygen which contains nutrients needed by the plants. If it happens perpetually, the roots will decay and die soon. And when the death of the roots, they cannot absorb any water and nutrients from the soil. It makes the plants grow slowly (or even stop growing) and the leaves become yellow. The decaying of the plants is susceptible to fungal diseases.
Pay more attention to the over-ripe vegetables. They tend to be the target of pests. Remove them as soon as possible to avoid pests. You can also endeavor to grow garlic, chives, and chrysanthemums in your garden to deter insects. They cannot stand the odors of those plants.
Don’t have enough space? Don’t be at your wits’ end. You can still grow your vegetables as well as decorate your house.
This gardening technique is suitable for vine vegetables. The idea is growing your vegetables upward instead of outward. You can do it in many ways such as making them climb trellis or fences, staking some pots, or hanging a basket near the window. By growing your vegetables vertically, you can still enjoy fresh vegetables as well as make your house look awesome.
You can use this technique to grow cucumbers or peas. Sow cucumber seeds in a quite large pot which have been filled with rich and well-draining soil in the temperature of 70 degrees F. Then, stake the plants and put trellis in proximity to growing. Let your cucumbers climb the trellis.
Square foot gardening
This technique requires you to build 4×4 ft raised beds. Then, you divide the bed into four squares. You can cultivate different kinds of vegetables in each square. But, actually, the size of the raised beds is not always 4×4 ft. You can adjust the size to meet your family needs.
Square foot gardening may be pricey because you have to build the raised beds beforehand. But you can try some other affordable ways by making raised beds from the things around such as concrete blocks, planks and rebar, or even sandbags.
This is my favorite technique. Cultivating crops in containers. Many people choose pots as the container of their vegetables. But pots may cost an arm and a leg sometimes. The aim of creating vegetable garden is to make a dent in your grocery expenses, not burning a whole in your pocket. Therefore, you can use some miscellaneous items in your house. You can use used buckets, food containers, tires, or even boots. Those used things come in handy again.
Apartment dwellers may find difficulty in growing some plants due to insufficient place. You can try to grow some lettuces or other leafy greens on your windowsill. You will need some small pots to cultivate your favorite vegetables. Then, put them on your windowsill where they can obtain adequate sunlight.
Now you know that making vegetable garden at home is not that hard. It is even challenging and fun. Think about all the benefits that you will get from gardening. If you are getting cold feet and not quite sure what to begin with, you can have a crack at some useful vegetable tips that you have read in this article. You will find gardening is a breeze.