Now is the time to start planning your vegetable garden. You might not have a large area yet this is not to say you are unable to grow a substantial amount of healthy vegetables for you and your family.
The best of all, having a vegetable gardening for beginners does not have to be difficult, it can be much easier than you think.
Laying Out Your Beds
One of the first steps is deciding on the space you have available. This overall determines some of the vegetables you can grow and the quantity. If you do not have a large area, this does not matter are there are still ways you can grow more than enough vegetables for you and your family.
If you have space in a garden bed sizes of 16ft x 10ft are the ideal size, yet you have to remember you need access to both sides. If you have a pathway, these should be at least two ft. wide to allow for access to your beds.
Although these need some simple construction to start with, raised beds can be beneficial, and in some cases, you can grow more vegetables than in a flat bed. A raised bed is comprised of a retaining wall and many of which are constructed by two lengths of wood that are 8ft in length and two pieces that are 4ft in length.
All these pieces of wood should be around 12inches in height to allow roots to grow good and healthy. These are then fastened together to form a rectangle and have supports bracing the wood for when you fill them with soil. A raised bed, once vegetables are growing, has the advantage for the over 50’s as access requires hardly any bending.
On a regular vegetable garden, you till the soil and then spread a good inch or two of compost and mix these. This allows nutrients and oxygen into the soil in preparation for planting. This also goes a long way to making your soil is the correct pH for your plants. Soil that is too far, either way, can hinder their growth.
Raised beds as with container gardening are easier to obtain better soil conditions. As it is a regular practice to purchase a good quality topsoil that will be pH neutral. This gives ideal conditions from the start although it is advisable to mix in the compost to provide the best number of nutrients.
Planning and Planting
All rows that you plant should run east to west as this gives them a chance to gain the most amount of sun as vegetables require 6 to 8 hours per day to grow at their best.
If you have any climbing vegetables these, you should make sure are on the north* sides of your beds and don’t cast shadows over your other vegetables.
Tomatoes are a typical climbing plant yet you can opt for a bush type and grow these in hanging baskets. This makes them easier to grow, harvest and can free up vital space for other veggies. When it comes to planting you have 3 options, you can use old veggies that have sprouted, transplant seedlings that have been grown in another area or sow directly from seeds.
No matter what method you have used to plant your vegetables, they will have to be tended to. Watering can be weather dependent yet, as a rule, if the top inch of soil is dry, then your veggies will require water. Containers and raised beds will need more water, as the irrigation and drainage is much better than regular soil.
The evening is also the best time for this as watering in hot sunlight can lead to scorching of your plants. If you are one of the baby-boomers generation and are active in the garden, you can create your own compost from old leaves and vegetable scraps.
This when ready can be spread around your veggies to give more nutrients, or you can purchase a good quality fertilizer from your local garden centre.
You will have insects attracted to your vegetables and a simple method to help control these is introducing a birdbath. Once birds come to your garden, they will help control the pests that love your veggies.
Regardless of which generation you are from obtaining a healthy lifestyle can be easy and enjoyable. Vegetable gardening not only gets you out in the fresh air and having some exercise, but you also have something to show for your efforts. Fresh tasting vegetables that are much nicer than any store bought alternatives.
* (Editor’s note: direction is north if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, south if you live in the Southern Hemisphere)
BIO: Tim Graham writes for the yardandgardenguru.com about his passions in life yard care, gardening and getting outdoors. Outside of this he spends time enjoying the outdoors with his wife and grandchildren