If eating is one of the ultimate pleasures of life, eating food that you have grown yourself is an even greater gratification. The satisfaction of picking and cooking vegetables from a garden that you have lovingly tended to and nurtured cannot be surpassed by much else.
Maintaining your own vegetable garden is a very advantageous pastime, but when you’re just getting started it can be a little intimidating. This guide puts together some of the basics that you need to know before you get started.
First and foremost, you will need the following basic tools:
- A trowel for weeding and digging holes;
- A pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands from bugs and and prickly plants and weeds;
- A watering can or hose – depending on the size of your garden and the location of your water supply;
- A rake for spreading mulch and cleaning any debris that has collected around your garden;
- Shears to prune dying leaves or to snip stems;
- A pitchfork to create a compost heap;
Type Of Garden
There are three common types of gardens:
In this type of garden, plants are grown in the ground. This allows you limitless growing possibilities and allows you to make use of the natural ecosystem present in the earth.
This type of garden is ideal for those who do not have outside space, such as apartment dwellers. Any suitable container with proper drainage can be used to grow select plants. Garlic, herbs, onions and carrots are some advisable candidates for container gardening.
3. Raised beds
These use raised beds created from wood, cinder or even rocks to grow plants in. This type of gardening allows better control over the soil and easier access for those with back problems. Deep rooted vegetables are especially suited to this method as the roots can grow without obstruction from rocks and compacted dirt as you fill the beds in yourself with loose earth.
Prep The Soil
Use tests available at your local garden centre to determine how healthy your soil is. Poor quality soil will undo all your hard work and labour.
If tests reveal that your soil is not up to standard, use compost and materials such as pine needles, bone meal and limestone to bring it up to par.
Choose What To Grow
This decision depends on what you like to eat, the size of your garden and the condition of your soil.
The cost of the seeds will be offset by the produce it reaps, which will be higher in nutrients and taste better than anything you can buy at the market, in addition to being cheaper.
You can buy seeds that have to be sown directly into the soil, or seedlings that are partially grown to save you time. Read the instructions on the packet carefully before you plant.
Once you have made all the above preparations, plant your seeds in an area that gets adequate sunshine and water. Different plants will require different levels of these. Add compost and be careful when watering the plants. Do not under or over water.
Lastly, start small and enjoy your new hobby. As with anything, you will experience successes and failures. Relax, as you will learn and grow along with the plants you have sown.