With the trend towards eating healthier and being more aware of where your food comes from and how it is sourced, growing your own small vegetable garden has become quite popular. Even smaller-sized yards can handle a small vegetable garden which will yield some tasty options for homeowners to enjoy. But just like with any project, getting started with vegetable gardening can be daunting. Where do you start? What should you grow? What kind of space do you need? What is the maintenance like? There are plenty of questions to be asked.
To help get you started, here’s a look at seven essential tips for growing your first backyard vegetable garden. These tips will help to keep things simplified and enjoyable so you’ll be able to enjoy your own small crops this year.
Begin with a Small Sized Garden
A good tip for beginners is to start relatively small. If you enjoy having a vegetable garden and it is a success, you can always expand it the following year. Starting small is just a good way to begin as it won’t be too overwhelming, maintenance will be manageable, the cost will be low, and it gives you a chance to at least try it out.
So, what’s a good size to start with? If the space allows, aim for a garden that is 10ft x 10ft. If you need to shrink it down, go ahead and do so. You could even halve the size and still have enough room to grow a few fun and tasty items. The reason experts tend to suggest starting with a 10×10 garden is that it will give enough space to yield a good amount of vegetables, while keeping the weeds to a minimum.
Give Thought to the Location
The location of the garden should be something you give a lot of thought to. Vegetables need sun to grow, but too much or too little won’t be good to it. Those crops that are considered fast-growing typically need six to eight hours of sun per day. Plants that like a lot of sun include peppers, squash, eggplants, tomatoes, peas, corn, cucumbers, and beans. If you don’t have that, then you can opt for plants that prefer partial shade. These types of plants include herbs like cilantro and thyme, as well as spinach, lettuce, chard, and kale. For those who want to be able to grow root vegetables like beets and carrots, they tend to require at least four hours of sun per day.
Give Them Good Quality Soil to Get Started With
One of the most important things you can do to get your vegetable garden started is invest in rich good quality soil. This will be providing your plants with the nutrients you need, so this isn’t something you want to skimp on when it comes to quality. It’s a good idea to add organic matter in the form of compost to your soil. This works for both sandy dry soil and denser, packed clay soil. Compost works to retain nutrients and moisture for your vegetables, it helps to break up dense soils, and it even helps to allow oxygen to reach the soil.
Protect the Garden from Unwanted Wildlife
Of course, now that you have some tasty garden vegetables growing, you want to be able to enjoy them. If you have wildlife that likes to frequent your backyard such as rabbits, they will see your garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet. A good idea can be to build a small fence around the garden to keep them out. You will need to figure out the perimeter of the area you want to fence in, giving yourself enough room to move around within the fenced in area.
Use a Row Design When Planting Your Vegetables
When you’re ready to start planting, be sure to do so in rows. These should be single file with plenty of space between them, ideally 18 inches if you have a large garden. You need to be thinking ahead and giving your plants enough space to grow and flourish.
Keep Weeds Under Control
As your garden takes hold, you may find that the weeds are doing exceptionally well. You want to stay on top of weeds by digging them out on a regular basis. Another tip is to keep cultivating, which means stirring up the top layer of the soil. You can do this with a small hand fork.
Be Sure to Give it Enough Water
The final tip is to make sure you give your garden just the right amount of water, not over or under-watering the vegetables.
Now all that’s left to do is enjoy your results!