Are you a new gardener? I have some valuable advice for you and tips to live by. Here are my 10 best tips for planting a vegetable garden.
Nine years ago when I planted our first vegetable garden, I certainly needed all of the tips I’m sharing with you today. At the time, my focus was mainly on the design of the garden, rather than the nitty-gritty of growing a successful crop. I was going off the cuff, just sticking to the very basics of growing a garden. I was on a wing and a prayer. Though I was pleasantly pleased with my harvest, it was very evident that I had a lot to learn.
With each growing season, I learn more, and enhance our garden. It has become my sanctuary and my early morning solace. From the garden planning layout to the best soil recipe for growing, I’m inching my way forward to a high-producing vegetable garden.
There’s always obstacles that need to be dodged when growing a garden, but I’ve just chalked those up to wisdom. I’ve become a firm believer that no matter how researched nor how seasoned you are as a gardener, there’s always room to grow. Perhaps we could say that for all aspects of life.
Gardens are all about trial and error. Make note of all that works, and all that fails. This is the life of a gardener. During the winter months, I like to bring a small part of my garden inside as well. And with all of this garden talk, let me share with you what I have learned.
10 Best Tips For Planting A Vegetable Garden
- Plan A Location. Much like real estate, garden placement is all about location, location, location!
- Follow The Sun. You may have picked out the perfect spot for your vegetable garden, but it may not offer the amount of sunlight that your plants require. It all depends on what type of garden you want to grow. Keep in mind that vegetable, fruit and herb gardens require at least 6 hours of full sun.
- Stay Close To Water. If you’re like me and don’t have an irrigation system, then make sure you can run a hose to the site. Gardens get really thirsty. especially during the hot summer months. The best way to see if your plants need watering is to stick your finger down into the dirt up to your first knuckle. If the soil is dry, then it’s time to water.
- Great Soil = Great Crop. I learned back when I started my vegetable garden nine years ago that good soil is a must. Nutrient-rich and well-drained soil is the optimum dirt recipe for a successful garden. If you are a gardening beginner and you’re not quite up for mixing the best soil recipe, then here and here are alternatives. I have used the raised bed mixture for my garden, and have been for the past five years. I stand by it.
- Plan Out The Space. Short on space? No problem! If you’re short on space, consider plating in containers. Tomatoes, for one, are happy to grow in containers. Just make sure the containers receive the required sunlight of the plant.
- Choose The Right Plants For You. Starting out? Then, plant only a few of your favorites. It’s really whatever you feel comfortable growing, but I suggest starting off small, and adding a variety or two each year. It’s all about balance.
- Figure Out Your Zone. This tip might even rank higher than I have here, because if you are trying to sow seeds for plants that are tropical and you live in the northeast, then you’re going to strike out before you even started. Here’s the deal: knowing your gardening zone will help you choose your plants. The higher the zone number, the warmer the climate. Tropical plants will not grow in cold climates; that kind of thing…
- Know Your Frost Dates. Most vegetables are happy to be started indoors, but make sure you transplant outside after the danger of any frost. I like to start sowing my seeds mid to late March for a mid-May transplant. Typically, I aim to open my garden and plant on Mother’s Day. However, even around early May could host a threat of frost. Last year, it snowed here on Mother’s Day, holding me off on planting and opening my garden until Memorial Day.
- Try To Keep The Weed Sitch Down. No matter how hard you try, no garden will ever be 100% weed free. If you see a garden without a single weed, then a gardener was there before you were, doing due diligence on weeding. Try applying 2-3 inches of mulch in the garden beds and around the plants to block weed growth. Black garden fabric will help as well, but remember, though both are not 100%, they do help just the same.
- Pay Attention To Your Garden. Check it daily and keep it watered, fed and maintained. Nothing grows if neglected, and that applies for everything. Follow all of these tips, and this number 10 will prove progress.