So you want to plant a vegetable garden and can’t wait to get started. You envision the end result of healthy, abundant vegetables not only on your dinner table but also as give-aways to your neighbors. (We all have zucchini stories). Not so fast. Like any project, a lot of thought and research will really make the experience rewarding but without it, can be a disaster.
For instance, do you know what plant growing zone you live in? That will determine what will grow in your area. Reading a lot of gardening books will help too, or you can go online to to get oriented with vegetable gardening. I have had a vegetable garden for close to 20 years and have made all the mistakes in the book. Below are my top ten mistakes that first time gardeners make. Try to avoid them.
What to grow?
Any vegetable that thrives in a backyard garden can, in theory, be grown in a container. However vegetables with deep root structures can start breaking through the bottom of a plant container, and plants like tomatoes that grow tall, or develop long, trailing vines, can overwhelm a small space.
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- Location is the first consideration.
- Water needs to be close at hand.
- Soil preparation is vital.
- Soil pH indicates the level of acidity or alkalinity in your soil.
- Planting time depends on what your plants need.
- Plant spacing instructions on the seed packets are important directions to follow.
How do you start? I recommend that you start with either tomatoes or eggplant. They seem to be the easiest summer vegetables to grow.
- You do not need a large space. Find a location in your yard that gets a good amount of sun. My first vegetable garden was only 3’ x 10’ before I upgraded to a much larger part of the yard.
- If your yard is all cement or you only have a balcony, you can purchase raised planter beds at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
- Your neighbors will not like you, but treat your soil with straight manure. I will put a couple of bags into the garden and turn it with the soil. If the soil is still hard and clay-like I would recommend bordering the planter with either raised plastic or wood and adding more manure (face mask is highly recommended).
- Once you are done treating the soil it is all ready to plant!
- Although seed planting is very rewarding I always find it easier to plant seedlings. They always grow stronger and produce more vegetables.