The majority of people want to make sure that the food they're putting in their bodies is as healthy as it can be. That is the main reason why many people nowadays want to learn how to cultivate their own fruit and vegetables. Being able to provide fresh food without going to the store will save you a lot of money, especially during summer days when gardens are overflowing with vegetables. For this reason, you might want to look into getting your garden ready for the season. Here’s how you do it.
1. Choose the type of garden you want to plant
There are many types of vegetable gardens, but most fall into one of three categories. If you have a yard and want to grow some vegetables there, a flat-earth garden is the best option for you. If you don't want to invest a lot of time and finances in your garden, then this is the best garden type for you. Instead of buying it, you will be able to use natural soil in the ground. However, you will need to dig up the existing grass before planting the vegetables. It is vital to remember that once you plant your garden, you will have to maintain a flourishing growing environment to stimulate the growth of your vegetables.
If you're looking for the easiest way to get going with gardening, opt for a small container garden. There are many crops and vegetables you can plant in a container garden. This option will allow you to have complete control over soil, and you will also be able to harvest fresh herbs and vegetable all year round. Containers have the added benefit of being portable.
Most expert gardeners will agree that planting a garden in a raised bed is the best option. It will save you a lot of time and enable you to establish a deep layer of fertile soil. The soil in a raised bed will warm up faster in the spring, which allows you to start growing vegetables earlier in the season. You can also gain up to 20 per cent of the space that you use for planting by rounding up the soil in the raised garden beds.
2. Start with a plan
All big projects start from scratch. The first step to growing a beautiful, healthy garden is making sure you understand what you need and how exactly are you going to do it. Start by creating a gardening pan, and mark off the places where you want to build your garden beds. To figure out the best set up for you, consider the size and location of your garden.
Choosing a position for your vegetable beds is crucial, but keep in mind that you can change the location overtime if necessary. The shape of your garden is also vital for building vegetable beds. Once you decide where you're going to place the garden beds, you will be ready to start growing your vegetables.
3. Avoid planting in rows
Paying attention to how you arrange your plants is crucial for gardening. You can fit up to 14 per cent more plants in your garden bed if you avoid plating in rows and square patterns. What you should do is plant vegetables with similar traits in a triangular pattern.
However, be careful not to space your veggies too tightly. Some vegetables won't be able to reach their full size if other plants hinder their growth. Planting too close together can also stress plants, making them more sensitive to diseases. If you want to grow more vegetables in less space, know that planting in triangles is the best method for you.
4. Compost everything
Compost is very beneficial for the land in so many different ways. It adds plant nutrients and beneficial microorganisms to your soil and is an essential part of reducing household wastes. You should add up to one inch of compost in your garden each year.
Learning how to make your compost is not necessary, but it's good for the environment, and you will be in complete control over what fertilizers you use to enhance your garden. Once you spread a layer of compost, worms and microorganisms will help it meld with the soil. A thick layer of compost will prevent the weeds from growing in your garden, and it can also help the land to retain moisture.
5. Try climbing plants
Some of the vegetables that are great for vertical gardening are melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash. These vegetables take up a lot of space in the garden and growing them in a vertical direction will enable you to plant more vegetables in your garden beds.
Vertical gardening saves time and allows you to harvest and maintain your vegetables faster. Fungal diseases are less likely to affect plants that grow vertically. Use trellises or stakes to support your vegetables, and tie growing vines onto them.
6. Use urine as a fertilizer
Believe it or not, you can use recycled and aged human urine as a fertilizer. Although this practice is not for everyone, it is good to know that urine is rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, which are the nutrients plants need to thrive.
Instead of using fertilizers from the store, you can give your plants enough nutrients from a source closer to home. If you're eager to try this method, dilute one-part urine with nine parts water before you add it to the soil.
7. Invest in gardening equipment
When planting a garden, it's essential to choose good gardening tools and look after them to make sure they last for a long time. Adequate garden equipment will help you better tend to your plants to help them grow and develop. It’s why you should invest in all the tools that would help you make gardening practical and less painful. You will need a shovel, garden knife, and secateurs to make vegetable gardening simpler.
To make your life in the garden easy, you should also invest in garden spades and a wheelbarrow. A wheelbarrow will enable you to transfer the soil quickly. Not to mention that every gardener should own at least one pair of gloves. To get rid of small weeds, purchase a cobra head, and use an electric weed eater to cut the taller grass around the beds.
8. Provide a lot of sunlight for your plants
One of the easiest ways to nurture a healthy garden is to plant in a sunny location. Most herbs and vegetables require at least six hours of direct sunlight a day to grow without hindrance. If you plant vegetables east to west, the rows will throw shade on each other.
That's why the best way to plant vegetables in the Northern hemisphere is north to south. Warm soil is essential for the growth of your plants. In cold soils, the seed may rot or fail to begin to grow. Switching to raised beds gardening will secure the faster warming up of the soil in the spring.
9. Water your plants regularly
Over the summer, you should apply at least one inch of water over the surface area of your garden per week. A sufficient supply of water will help your vegetables grow quicker. If your goal is to plant a large garden, you will need to spend a lot of water to supply your vegetables with moisture. Saving water in the garden is just as crucial as saving water at home.
Start collecting rainwater and use it to water the plants. Having drought-resistant plants in your garden will also help you save a lot of water. Install a water system that will reduce water waste and prevent diseases that are spread from one plant to another by wet leaves. Install a moisture meter to avoid dryness of the soil. If you don't water your plants regularly, it won't take long before you notice the consequences.
10. Run a soil test
Sometimes it's necessary to organize a soil test before you decide to plant anything in your garden. Soil pH is a crucial factor in plant growth because it affects the availability of the nutrients to the plants. A soil test will give you an insight into the condition of your soil.
Once you get the results, you will know if the earth you have is suitable for the plants that you want to grow. Running tests is not cheap, but it can help you avoid financial loss if you plan to invest in a large garden. The good thing is that you don't have to run tests every year to check the pH of the soil.
11. Choose the right pairings
Planting compatible corps and vegetables will save you a lot of space. Cultivating different types of crops together will make the watering process easier. You can intercrop plants with deeper roots with shallow vegetables such as potatoes and lettuce.
Carrots make a good pairing with lettuce and chives. Other successful pairings include broccoli and onions, and you can also put strawberries together with spinach. If you're not sure what you need to do, ask someone with more experience to help you choose the right pairings.
12. Time your crops well
Many new gardeners think that the growing season doesn't begin until April or May. You can start planting a variety of plants in February and expect to harvest fresh vegetables by the end of April. That's why you should inform yourself about the crops you want to grow.
Succession planting allows you to plant various crops in the same space throughout the growing season. That means you can harvest two to three crops from a single area. To make this possible, you should use transplants that are already a month old and choose fast-maturing varieties.
Bringing a wide variety of plants into your vegetable garden can have many benefits. Gardening is a fun way to get in touch with nature, but it also has a lot of health benefits. If you cultivate them properly, you will always have fresh vegetables that you can use to prepare light, delicious meals. However, you will have to put a lot of work and effort to make it work, but the final result is quite rewarding. Healthy gardens require ideal conditions, but once you learn what it takes to establish a healthy environment, it will be much easier for you to maintain it. Start small, and gradually start planting more vegetables and fresh herbs.