Tips for Planting a Vegetable Garden
There are many reasons people choose to plant a vegetable garden at home including to save money, have access to super fresh vegetables, and simply because they enjoy gardening. In most cases, vegetables planted in a home garden far exceed those in the grocery store in terms of quality, texture, and flavor. Gardening is a great way to spend time outdoors, and can even be turned into a fun activity for the whole family. Contrary to what people might think, figuring out what to plant in a vegetable garden is easy with the right planning and a willingness to learn proper care. To spruce up vegetable gardens, many people choose to plant flowers as well.
How to Pick Vegetables For Your Garden
It is easy for beginners to go overboard and plant tons of vegetables but it is often best to start small and not overwhelm yourself. Think about the types of vegetables that the people in your house will eat, so your efforts will not go to waste. It is important to keep in mind that vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, and squash will keep producing food throughout the season so it may not be necessary to have as many plants. Other vegetables such as radishes, carrots, and corn will only produce once, so you may need to plant more of these. When choosing vegetables for your garden it is also important to consider the climate in your area. Different vegetables will need to be planted at different times in the season depending on temperature and other factors. Many beginner gardeners start with vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, peas, and more.
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Deciding How Much Space Your Vegetable Garden Will Need
Once you have made the final decision on what vegetables you are going to plant, it is time to determine how big your garden will be. It is best to start small, as a smaller, healthy garden is much easier to tend to than a bigger, pest or weed infected area. Many vegetables don't need a ton of space and can even be grown in containers depending on how much space you have available.
Figuring Out Where To Put Your Vegetable Garden
After you have figured out what you will be planting and how big the garden will be, you need to figure out the best spot for it. To have a successful garden, there are three basic necessities. Most vegetables need at least six hours of direct sun if not more, so planting in an area that gets adequate sun is important. Vegetables that do not get enough light are more prone to diseases and pest problems and will also produce less. To grow vegetables successfully, you also need good soil that is rich in organic matter. Vegetables tend to do best in well drained but moist soil. The third essential ingredient for a successful vegetable garden is plenty of water. The majority of vegetables are not tolerant of droughts and will need to be watered regularly to thrive.
Tips For Planting Specific Vegetables
Tomatoes - Tomato plants need to be staked or caged to give the plant support and keep the developing tomatoes off the ground. Seedlings should be planted after the last Spring frost date and should be placed approximately two feet apart. Plants should be watered generously for the first couple of days and then continue to be well watered throughout the growing season. Adding mulch about five weeks after initially putting the plants in the ground can help them to retain moisture. Tomatoes can be susceptible to pests so care should be taken to prevent this issue.
Peppers - Peppers are a great choice for a vegetable garden because there are so many varieties and they are fairly resistant to most pests. Before peppers are planted, the temperature should be at least seventy degrees. Plants should be placed eighteen to twenty four inches apart, and it is important that the soil is warm or else the peppers will not survive transplant. Peppers are extremely sensitive to heat so depending on the temperatures in your area they may need to be watered everyday. Weeding around plants should be done regularly and if the plants begin to bend, they can be caged just like tomatoes although this is not always necessary.
Squash & Zucchini - Summer squash is very susceptible to heat and frost damage but with proper care, they can be grown successfully. Squash is normally not planted until the very late spring to midsummer as the soil needs to be warm. Squash plants need lots of organic matter in the soil as they are heavy feeders. They should be planted about an inch deep and a couple of feet apart. Plants should regularly be mulched to prevent weeds and help retain enough moisture in the soil. Consistent watering and feeding is necessary to successfully grow zucchini and other varieties of squash.
Peas - Peas are more of a cool season crop but while they have a limited growing season, they are an easy vegetable to grow. Peas are best grown when the temperature is below seventy degrees. Soil should be rich and well drained but should not have a lot of fertilizer as peas are sensitive to nitrogen. Pea plants should be watered fairly sparsely and poles or stakes should be used for taller varieties.