There are huge benefits to growing your own vegetables. It is a very popular hobby that is only growing worldwide. These days, it’s actually considered very trendy to have your own garden. Not only can it save you quite a bit of money; it also can product high quality vegetables that you know are safe to eat and are unaltered.
Isn’t a Vegetable Garden Meant to Be Hard Work?
First, let’s look at a few specific reasons why this is a good idea. The first is that it’s really pretty easy to grow your own garden. Many vegetables grow in almost any climate, and you shouldn’t run into many problems along the way.
Another reason is that the cost of keeping a garden is much cheaper than the cost of going out and buying vegetables every week. Rather than buying each vegetable from the store for retail price, you’re mainly just paying for seeds, fertilizer, and other necessities for successfully growing healthy, delicious vegetables, which brings us to a third reason to start your own garden: health.
If you grow your own vegetables, you can know without a doubt in your mind that the product you are receiving is high quality and unaltered. Growing your own garden allows you to decide which brands of fertilizer and pesticides you use, or not use. This means that you are not only spending less money, but you are also getting a product that you can trust and be positive of the benefits to your health that you will be receiving.
In addition to these benefits, the process of creating and tending to your own garden also provides personal satisfaction and can even be very fun!
What Do I Need to Know?
There are several things to take into consideration when creating your first vegetable garden. One of these is the time you should expect to spend working on the garden. For beginning purposes, expect to spend about one to two hours per week working on the garden. This divides into only about ten to twenty minutes per day. This time should be spent checking on every aspect of your garden to make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary or potentially harmful for your vegetables. You will want to make sure the soil is at the proper moisture and that no pests or fungi are threatening your vegetables. Spending more time will no doubt produce higher-quality vegetables, but for beginning purposes, following these guidelines will ensure that you successfully grow the vegetables you desire.
In the event that you don’t have the necessary space to grow your own garden, do not fear! Plastic buckets and other containers can be used to hold your vegetables in a method called s “container gardening.” This would allow you more freedom when it comes to your plants and is a method used by many beginning gardeners.
Most vegetables out there are very easy to grow and require nothing more than three simple things. Nutrients, sunlight, and water are all you need to keep many of your vegetables growing the way you want them to. Because of this, it is not necessarily easy to categorize vegetables by “easy to grow” and “hard to grow.” However, the majority of vegetables will grow under almost any climate condition, with the exception of extreme hot or cold.
To get you started, we’re going to list some vegetables that are relatively low-maintenance and easy to grow. In a warm and sunny climate, the following can be grown rather easily as long as they are taken care of properly (see section about checking your garden).
Low-Maintenance Vegetables (Warm Climate)
- chili peppers
- runner beans
Low-Maintenance Vegetables (Cold Climate)
- Brussels sprouts
In addition to these, cucurbits can also be grown very easily with the proper amounts of care and natural resources. Cucurbits are members of hundreds of different vegetables, notably squash, gourds, and melons. Some examples of these include the following:
- Crenshaw melon
- honeydew melon
- pickle cucumbers
- summer squash
- winter squash
Take Care of your Plants’ Specific Needs
Though it may seem an overwhelming concept at first, growing vegetables is really not that difficult. Technically speaking, there aren’t any vegetables that are significantly more difficult to grow than any other vegetables. With proper planning, and careful tending to the crops as they grow, even a beginner can see success with gardening.
Planning is an essential part of successful gardening. It is important to know the best time to plant specific vegetables. This alone can almost guarantee success if you are knowledgeable on the needs of individual plants. Some examples are listed below.
- Tomatoes have the best chance of growing when there are NO further threats of frost.
- Potatoes must be planted in soil that is 18 degrees Celsius in order for the roots to grow properly. After that, they can grow at almost any temperature.
- Sweet potatoes require warm climates to grow successfully.
Good Soil Is Key to an Easy-to-Manage Garden
It is important to know that there are many cases where a vegetable will not grow if the soil is not the proper temperature. This is especially important when growing vegetables in generally colder climates. It is best to take this temperature before 8 am. When taking a temperature reading, make sure you dig at least four to six inches deep.
Many vegetables can only be grown seasonally. For example, when planting lettuce, the gardener must be aware of the different types of lettuce that thrive in different climates. Some types of lettuce grow better during the summer, while others grow better during other seasons.
It is important to make sure that the lettuce you are growing fits the season you are growing it in. Other examples of plants like this are onions and garlic. These vegetables can grow in all but the coldest of times, so it is important to make sure they are planted in warmer times. Tomatoes are also similar. If they are exposed to the slightest bit of frost, they will die. This is the same for cucurbits. Some other seasonal vegetables are kale and broccoli.
The Perfect Soil
When preparing soil for vegetables, there are many things to take into consideration to make this soil perfect. It is best to use soil that is loosely packed and does not contain many other substances. It is also important that the soil has the proper pH levels. In order to test for heavy or light soil, you should pick up a handful of it and form it into a ball in your hand. If the soil remains in a ball shape, it is too heavy and should be balanced by adding compost and light sand. When the soil no longer clumps together, it is ready to grow vegetables. While it is not necessary, it can help to add organic mulch, which will attract creatures that help to keep your soil light. It is also possible to make your own soil from scratch with the use of straw, manure, and other forms of compost.
Green Manure Crops
In addition to typical types of fertilizer (e.g. manure), there are also vegetables that can be grown and used as fertilizer. These are called “green manure crops.” Some commonly used examples of these are clover, oats, rye, mustard, fava beans, and alfalfa. When used as green manure crops, these vegetables are grown before they want to be used, and cut into pieces and used as compost. Using natural fertilizer like this can prevent unwanted chemicals from contaminating your vegetables if you were to use some store-bought fertilizers.
When taking care of your vegetables, it is very important that they receive the proper amounts of water. The soil they sit in cannot be too wet or too dry. It is a good idea to make sure the soil is wet down to the root level of your plants, but not much more than that. It’s also useful to look for signs of wilting, as this can mean a plant needs more water.
When in doubt, water your plants frequently, but not necessarily routinely. It is important to learn the needs of each plant in your garden so you can give proper amounts of water that are beneficial to each individual plant. It is also important to make sure your plants get enough sunlight. Generally speaking, the more sunlight a plant gets, the healthier and fuller it will ultimately end up being. It usually can’t hurt to allow a plant to get more sunlight, and at least six hours a day is recommended.
By following these rules and using the guidelines mentioned earlier, you can successfully grow almost any vegetable with very little trouble. As we said before, there are not any vegetables that are “more difficult to grow” than others. With the proper research and the proper care, you can turn your back yard into a garden with a variety of different vegetables that are clear results of your hard work.