Health and Wellness

A Beginners Guide to Starting a Vegetable Garden

By: Anita Franco

Gardening can be one of the most enjoyable hobbies. It is a great way to increase the amount of time you spend outdoors, and it is rewarding to see your work pay off as your plants begin to grow. Not only that, but research has also shown that there are several health benefits to gardening. When you decide to start a vegetable garden, you’ll have the added benefit of producing fresh food for you and your family.

For beginners that are interested in gardening, the motivation to build a garden might be there, but it can be difficult to tell where to start. Will you need heavy duty tools like an electric chainsaw or a tool fitted with oscillating saw blades to build the structure of your garden? When is the best time to start planting? While some of these answers will depend on your unique circumstances, if you are new to gardening, the following steps can help to ensure overall success as you get started.

Decide What to Grow

The first step is to choose the types of vegetables you would like to grow. When deciding on what to plant, one of the most important things to consider is your climate. Some plants grow better in warm temperatures and others grow better in cooler climates. In some areas, you may even be able to alternate cool weather vegetables and warm climate plants depending on the season. If you want help finding the plants that will work best for your region, you can check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Find the Right Location

Once you know what you are going to grow, you can then start looking for the perfect location in your yard. Most gardens are going to need as much sun as possible, so you are going to want to look for areas that get sun through most of the day.

You may also want to consider yard traffic when planning a location for your garden beds. If you have pets or kids, it is a good idea to keep your garden away from spots that may see a lot of traffic. Additionally, you should also consider the potential for animals to come in your yard. Depending on the species, there are several steps you can take to keep animals out of your garden.

Buy the Right Garden Tools

Having the right gardening tools can make a significant difference in the amount of time and effort you have to spend working on your garden. Tools like a garden hoe, trowel, and shovel are necessities. Along with that, you might also want to look into getting some pruning shears and a garden rake. A small, lightweight wheelbarrow may also be useful for tasks like moving soil, fertilizer, and mulch around.

Build Your Garden Beds

Now that you have selected a location and your tools, you can start building your garden beds. You have different types of garden beds you can design. However, one of the most important things to consider is the amount of space each plant will need. If your plants do not have enough room, they can struggle and it might be difficult to get good results.

Additionally, you are going to want to test your soil to make sure it can support the types of vegetables you plan to grow. There are simple DIY soil tests you can perform to check the pH of your soil, but if you want to test the nutrient content, you’ll likely need to head to the garden store to buy a testing kit. Depending on the quality of the soil, you may need to consider applying a fertilizer.

Plant Your Crops

With your garden beds set up, you can now get your seeds or transplants and start planting. Unless you are working with cold weather vegetables, you want to make sure to wait until after the last frost to start planting. When it comes to the depth and the amount of room a plant needs, most transplants and seeds come with instructions for planting.

Tend Your Garden

Once you have your vegetables planted, you need to be prepared to get out there regularly to care for the plants. Most plants need about an inch of water every week, so if it is not raining, you need to make sure to get out there to water your garden. You also need to inspect your plants regularly for signs of disease and pest damage, and if you see any weeds, you need to pull them up as soon as possible.

Starting a vegetable garden may seem like a lot of work, but it’s easier than you might think. By following these simple steps and planning what you’d like your garden to look like, you and your family can enjoy home grown produce and appreciate the beauty of a home garden all year long.

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