Agripedia

Home gardening for beginners

Growing your own vegetables can be fun as well as rewarding. All you need to get started is - some decent soil and few plants and this way you provide fresh healthy vegetables to your family. But if you want to become a professional vegetable gardener then you will have to learn and understand what it takes to keep your plants healthy and strong.

A good home gardening plan may include selecting the right location, determining the size of the garden, deciding upon the types and varieties of vegetables to plant. Now let’s discuss it in detail;

1. Site selection

You must select a place where the soil is loose, rich and well-drained. Never choose low areas where water gets collected or the soil remains wet. Your vegetables will not grow in poorly drained areas. Also, take care that vegetables need proper sunlight to grow well so do not plant it at a place where there is shade or shadow. Most of the vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Make sure there is a water supply nearby, if possible. Water is not required every time but is needed after long dry periods or when planting seeds.

2. Size of the Garden

One of the most common mistakes made by the enthusiastic or new gardeners is making the garden too big.  It is important to mention that a garden that is too big in size will have too much work to do. And if the garden is small, you will easily manage it. Hence while determining the size of your garden, consider the below given factors:

  • Reason for gardening - If the garden is merely a leisure activity for you then a container or flower bed garden can be big enough. But if you want to grow vegetables for canning or freezing purpose then it will require a bigger area.

  • Types of vegetables to be grown - Some vegetables take a lot of space whereas others don’t. But most of them need at least 3 feet space between the rows. So if you are planning to plant 10 rows of vegetables, your garden must be 30 feet wide.

  • Size of Family - If gardening is a family activity then a large space can easily be taken care of moreover a larger family will also use more vegetables.

3. Deciding on what to grow

Now this is indeed a big question. Many people usually get confused at this step because they don’t know what will be right crop for their garden. What to grow in the garden is as big as where to locate it. You can consider the following points in selecting the vegetables:

  • It is advised not to plant watermelons in a small garden as they need too much area. There are other vine crops like cucumbers and cantaloupes that can be easily grown in small gardens.

  • If your garden is smaller, you will have to get high production from each row. Small, crops like turnip, radish, and beet yield quickly and do not require much space. On the other hand, tomatoes, bush beans, and peppers need more space and produce over a long season.

  • You must plant vegetables that are costly to buy at the market. Broccoli is one of the more expensive vegetables that can be grown in most home gardens.

  • You can grow different kinds of vegetables to put more variety into your diet.

  • You must also grow vegetables that your family likes to eat.

4. Location of vegetables in garden

You need to arrange vegetables in a way that makes the most efficient use of the space as well as light. Tall vegetables like okra, corn and tomatoes can be grown on one side (preferably at the north) of the garden where they won’t shade short-length vegetables like bush beans. You can also divide vegetables according to maturity.  You should also plant small, fast-maturing vegetables between the big ones. If possible plant vine crops near a fence. Make a rough sketch on paper to show the location and spacing of vegetables in the garden.

5. Time for plantation

Vegetables in general are divided into two groups based on season i.e. warm season and cool season. Cool-season crops can tolerate lower temperatures so you can plant them before the soil gets warm in the spring. They can also be planted in late summer to yield after the first frost in the fall. Whereas, warm-season crops cannot bear frostiness, it will not grow when the soil temperature is cool so it must be planted after the last frost in the spring and early enough to mature before frost in the fall.

6. Keep a Record

Finally, keep a record of each and everything you do in your home garden as it will help you in the next planting season. This indeed is one of the most important ways of improving your gardening – all you need is to pay proper attention to how the plants grow and note down your successes and failures in the garden notebook.

Here are few vegetables that you can grow in the beginning:

  • Tomatoes

  • Cabbage

  • Bush beans

  • Lettuce

  • Beets

  • Carrots

  • Chard

  • Radishes

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