Are you dreaming of a home vegetable garden, but don’t know where to start?
There’s nothing better than home-grown fruit and vegetables, but it does take a little bit of work to get started.
There are many ways to start a vegetable garden, but not all of them will be suitable for you.
As a new gardener, it’s important to find a method that is cost-effective, requires minimal skills, and gets fast results.
Without careful planning ahead, you’ll end up overwhelmed with weeds and work and produce disappointing results.
Here are some simple steps to take to ensure that you’re picking tomatoes and digging up carrots in no time!
Find your plot
First, choose the site for your veggie patch.
You’ll need a spot that’s positioned in full sun (at least six hours a day) but that also ideally gets some shelter from the extreme afternoon heat.
You may find that other plants already take up your perfect site, so you’ll need to decide whether or not you’re willing to remove them.
Call in a tree and stump remover to eliminate any large shrubs or trees, making sure they grind the stumps down to give you a completely clear area.
Remember – the sun is key for a productive veggie patch. Full sun.
Your vegetable garden will not thrive in anything less.
Decide on dimensions
After choosing your site, think about how big to make your new garden.
When considering starting a vegetable garden, you should also think about how much time you have to care for it.
Don’t forget – life happens, and if you’re busy with work or kids (or work and kids!) as well as household duties, family commitments and the genuine need for relaxation time, the garden may become too much to maintain if it’s too big.
To start, try creating a garden bed that’s no bigger than four by four meters – you can always expand for next year.
That gives you enough room to grow some staple crops without getting too far in over your head.
Start smaller if you live alone or are concerned that it will be too much work.
It doesn’t need to be a square plot; you might choose several round beds or two long plots to make accessing all the plants easier.
Whichever size and shape you choose, mark off the area with string or rope.
Prepare the soil
Step 1: Remove the sod
Removing the sod means removing the top layer of grass, weeds and soil to reveal the damp, nutritious layer beneath.
This step will be the most strenuous, so take your time.
You can use a flat-bladed shovel for this step, or you could call in a professional digger to come and dig up and remove the sod (saving you the backache and labour!).
Removing the sod is the most demanding job of building a new garden.
Thankfully, you only have to do it once.
Step 2: Enrich the soil
Though the layers of soil underneath the sod are more nutritious, the earth will still need to be enriched to make it a suitable environment for vegetables to flourish.
Spread over and dig a layer of compost into the soil – about one inch thick.
This could be compost that you have prepared yourself, or you could buy bags of compost from your local nursery.
Step 3: Lay down mulch immediately
Preventing weeds starts as soon as the soil is prepared; otherwise, you risk ruining all your hard work.
If you’re looking for a simple alternative, simply gather old newspapers and lay them over the soil – about ten pages thick – and cover the newspaper with leaves, grass clippings or other natural materials you can find in your garden.
Once covered, water it all in to keep it grounded.
Get your plants ready
Once you have prepared the garden beds, it’s time to start planting!
You can plant seeds directly in the ground or transplant seedlings into their new homes.
Which method you choose will depend on which plants you choose, so read your care instructions carefully.
When you’re ready to plant, gently push back the top layer of mulch.
Then, slice a hole through the newspaper, and plant your seeds or transplants through it.
Put the mulch back in place after covering the seeds with soil or nestling the transplant’s roots into the ground.
Water the plant or seeds well.
Taking care of a new vegetable garden
Although you’ve completed all the hard work, that doesn’t mean your work is done.
Now that everything is in place, you need to maintain your garden.
Planting is the fun part but taking care of the garden is absolutely essential to its success.
- Pull weeds when they are young. You won’t have many if you use the newspaper trick. Keeping up with weeds can be time-consuming, and if your garden becomes overwhelmed, your vegetables won’t have the chance to thrive. You could find a local gardener to come and remove weeds regularly, helping you keep your new vegetable garden in good condition.
- Keep the garden watered. Though the mulch will reduce your need to water, you will still need to keep an eye on the roots to ensure they have as much water as they need.
- Stake plants as necessary.
- Harvest your vegetables regularly to keep them producing all season long. Weekly is best.
- Enjoy your spoils! Nothing beats the taste and crunch of vegetables plucked straight from the garden, and after all the hard work you’ve put into growing your produce, you’ve earned them!
For the freshest produce possible, consider starting a vegetable garden at home.
After all, you can’t get any closer to your kitchen table than your own backyard!
Though the initial work is hard, the ongoing maintenance and care are easy if you plan ahead and keep a maintenance routine.
If you are thinking of starting a vegetable garden at home and need some help getting your garden growing or want a professional gardener to simply set a vegetable patch up, call Jim’s Group for a free quote in any of the services listed above on 13 15 46.
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