Vegetable Gardening: The Basics and Things to Consider

Gardening isn’t an easy feat, and it requires work, so here are some basic skills and things you should consider when you want to venture into vegetable gardening.

PLANNING

Choose the location of your vegetable garden

The first and the most important step in planning for your garden is choosing its location. A minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight is needed to grow a vegetable to its absolute best. Lettuce, spinach, and other leafy vegetables grow with less daylight. It’s best to have your garden away and nowhere near shrubs and trees since their roots might rob the vegetables of water and much-needed nutrients. Also, you need to have good soil with great drainage. Be sure to have a water source close by and test your soil before doing any gardening to know if it lacks any needed nutrients.

the vegetable garden at the back, red radish, human hand, soil on radish

Keep a Journal

You should keep a note of your garden activities in a garden journal. Take note of the different vegetables you’ve grown. You can also keep a record of planting and seeding dates, yields, weather and harvest dates, and insect and disease problems. These are valuable information in planning your future gardens.

CHOOSE WHICH VEGETABLE TO GROW

Choose the vegetables that suit your and your family’s taste. Grow what it is you would like to eat. Also, first-time gardeners should stay away from “exotic” and hard to grow vegetables like cauliflower.

You can also try growing hybrid vegetables, which are usually healthier and stronger than other vegetables. These hybrid vegetables frequently have higher yields, and a lot of them are disease-resistant, making them more likely to recuperate from bad weather. They might be a bit more expensive than other vegetable types, but they’re worth it. Hybrids are not consistent in the type reproduced, so if you saved some seeds, keep in mind that the new plant would be of lower quality than the mother plant.

For those looking for some guidance and ideas on what vegetables to grow, the most popular vegetables for vegetable gardening are beans, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers radishes, summer squash, tomatoes, and winter squash. There are many more that you can try, and these are only a few of them. For those who are just starting their backyard vegetable gardening, you might want to choose around two or three from these and grow them until you get the hang of it.

DRAW YOUR GARDEN PLAN

Another great idea is to draw a plan of your vegetable garden. It doesn’t have to be grand. You could just do a simple diagram. For your garden placement, note that the tallest plants should be placed at the north end and the permanent vegetables at the side.

CONTAINERS

For those who want to plant vegetables but don’t have enough backyard space or only have a sunny balcony or a patio, you can still grow them in containers. It can be as simple as a hanging basket, a bushel basket that’s lined with plastic, or an earthbox.

All of the containers must always have drainage. It’s necessary to frequently water the soil since they dry out quickly in containers. Containers without drainage will bring about the development of root rot. You should use a sterilized soilless mix for container gardens since they are light and contain several organic matters.

BASIC GARDENING TOOLS

  1. Hoe: used to cover seeds, chop up the soil, and for weeding.
  2. Labels, Ruler, String: used to create a layout of rows and measure the correct spacing. Each vegetable must be labeled with its name and the date it’s seeded or planted.
  3. Rake: used to break-up large clods of soil and prepare the seedbed.
  4. Spade: used to dig up the garden to prepare for planting and add organic matter to a plant’s soil.
  5. Trowel: used to break up the soil around the plants and dig holes for transplants.
  6. Watering Can: used to water seeds and transplants.

HOW TO PREPARE THE SOIL AND ADD FERTILIZER

Soil preparation must be done before planting. The soil must be dug to a minimum depth of 6-10 inches. Next, a two to four-inch layer of organic matter must be added and incorporated into the soil. This improves the structure of your soil and adds nutrients to it.

To grow, vegetables require nutrients. There should be an analysis of 5-10-5, 10-10-10, or 12-12-12 for a good vegetable garden fertilizer. The first digit is the nitrogen percentage, the second is the percentage of phosphorus, and the third is the potassium percentage.

Nitrogen aids in green growth, phosphorus in fruit development and root growth, and potassium in resistance to disease and root development. For organic vegetable growing, organic fertilizers like compost, composted cow manure, or peat moss are great sources of nutrients for vegetables.

PLANNING TECHNIQUES

Plan to maximize all the space you have in your garden. You can do this by doing several planting techniques like intercropping, vertical cropping, and succession planting.