There’s something special about a garden in the summertime. The vegetables that home plots yield always taste better than the bruised plants you pick up in the local supermarket, and it can be wonderfully rewarding to sit down for dinner knowing that you grew the food on the table. Even a small yard can benefit from a lovely vegetable garden or berry patch.
But it can be seem daunting to start planting when you don’t know which seeds to buy or when, exactly, to plant them. It’s no lie – taking care of a garden requires work and time. But when those plants produce their first summertime yield, you’ll realize that the time and effort you put in was well-spent.
Besides – dishes made with fresh, home-grown vegetables taste so much better!
Find a good place to plant.
Gardens need a lot of light, so mark off an area that will get direct sunlight. Don’t be too ambitious – a decent-sized garden for a beginner should be 16×10 feet at the largest.
First and foremost: Plant at the right time of year. Your ideal planting window will depend on your location and climate, but it will generally fall just after the final frost of the season. For more detailed information about when to plant, you can use a date calculator like this one.
After you determine when to plant, make sure that you use good soil. Not all soil is ideal for growing, and depending on your situation, it might be a good idea to invest in some decent fertilizer. Then, strategize. Pick your plants, then plan out your planting so that you don’t crowd or leave your garden too empty.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, vegetables need at least six hours of direct light per day. If your plants are crowded too close together, they might end up competing for sunlight and nutrients in the soil – and end up suffering as a result. Give your vegetables room to grow! Space requirements are specific to plant types, so check your seed packets for planting best practices.
On a related note, make sure to get decent seeds! There’s nothing worse than planting a garden and having a small yield because your seeds didn’t germinate.
Be patient; growing takes time and care. Make sure to water and weed your garden regularly, and watch out for pesky intruders – rabbits often steal away tasty vegetables. If you do have a rodent or insect problem, try planting marigolds! According to Our Herb Garden, the brightly-colored flower can ward off rabbits and some beetles, and encourage growth in other plants!
A good garden needs time and care to thrive, and the initial effort of building one can seem intimidating to a beginning gardener. But bringing a plot to life is a rewarding experience – just looking out my kitchen window at the gently waving stalks of a new tomato plant can lift my mood! Give it time, and you’ll find that the benefits of a garden far outweigh the challenges.