You don’t have to be an organic, raw food only, vegan-loving individual to see the potential benefits of having your own vegetable garden. Once the staple feature of many backyards, vegetable gardens have sadly fallen from grace. But, the ever-increasing costs of produce, along with a rise in self-sustainable lifestyle followers have started to change this.
Vegetable gardens are now officially back in fashion, and to help you keep up with the trend, we’re offering a simple, seven step guide to starting your own.
Planting a vegetable garden is unfortunately not as easy as heading out and digging a hole, and leading with that is the easiest way to doom your garden before it even begins. Instead of running wildly into the unknown, create a solid design for your garden, a plan that you can follow in building. This allows you to better anticipate issues and solve them before you start. Also, if it is your first time creating a garden, we recommend you start small.
Once you’ve laid out your plan, it is time to prepare your garden beds and soil. Many people now choose to create raised beds for the gardens, which have a number of benefits including ease of design, preparation and construction. Once you’ve raised your beds, or created your garden bed via other methods, you’ll need to get your soil ready by fertilising and watering to encourage an ideal growing environment.
The next step is to start the process of collecting seeds to plant in your garden. If some of your friends are gardening, you can get seeds from them, otherwise look at seed or farming collectives in your area, a growing trend. Of course many outdoor stores sell seeds, but the choice can be limited. You might even have luck buying from certified online seed sellers.
The biggest thing to remember when you’re planting your garden is how your plants are going to be organised. Many people believe that rows are the best way to grow produce, but in fact that style is more suited to large scale farming. There are a number of simple planting styles, including triangular and intensive planting, that are better suited to smaller garden spaces.
Some types of produce flourishes by growing up, and providing for these kinds of plants isn’t just good for them, it can save you lots of space. These kinds of plants include tomato vines, cucumber, beans and many more. Many gardens choose to use stakes to support these plants, but trellises and cages can maximise your growing space and your harvest.
Seasons change, and so too should your garden. Make sure that you don’t just plant your garden and neglect it, keep reading on how to streamline it and help it reach its full growing potential. This includes reading up on seasonal planting, extending your garden’s growing season, and planting compatible produce combinations. You garden is always growing, and your knowledge about gardening should be too!
There’s nothing quite like harvesting fresh produce straight from the plant to your plate, so don’t get scared when it comes time to pick. Remember that many plants, like zucchini and lettuce, can be harvested at different points in their growing cycle for different tasting produce. In many cases, the more you harvest from a plant, the more it will produce, so get picking!
A vegetable garden is a chance for you to educate yourself and your family about the value of real food, and is likely to make you think twice about what you buy and what you eat. It can also be a great way to save money, and enjoy a regular, gentle exercise, with rewards worth working for.