Gardening is not only a fun and healthy physical activity that the whole family can participate in, but is also a highly rewarding experience. And in addition to saving money at the grocery, you also get to enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor and share them with your friends and family as well!
When it comes to gardening, one of the great things is that there is always more to learn; there’s a whole world of vegetables out there, and each has its own variety too. There are also many different growing techniques as well. This includes raised bed gardening, square foot gardening, growing organically, and much more.
The first thing you’ll need when planting a garden is the right space, and you don’t need a lot of it to grow a fantastic garden either.
If you have a spot in your yard selected, you can either prepare the soil as it sits, or you can build a border of 18 inches high (or more) around an area and fill it with nutrient rich soil. If you construct a border for a raised bed, use materials that will last such as stone or treated lumber.
You can also build a frame around the raised bed to hold fencing that will protect your vegetables from invasive rodents and inquisitive birds. You can then use the frame to support shading materials. This will prevent certain types of vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers from being damaged from over-exposure to the hot sun.
Determining which Vegetables to Grow:
After you have a location for your garden, you will need to determine which types of vegetables and other plants to grow. To do this, think about what your favorite vegetables, fruits, and berries and then select a few of each.
For ideas, consider the ingredients that a healthy and tasty salad bar includes. You should also consider how much you spend at the grocery store each week on certain vegetables such as tomatoes and bell peppers; perhaps you can save a considerable amount of money by growing your own.
As a valuable bonus, you are certain to find that the flavor and quality of the produce you grow on your own far surpasses anything you can find at the grocery store.
When to Plant Vegetables:
When determining the right time to plant a particular vegetable, you must first match the vegetable to your season duration. There are a total of ten different growing zones used in the United States for sowing seeds, and by following the recommendations for your particular zone; you can easily determine which plants and vegetables are likely to thrive in your specific location.
In most cases, the growing season runs through the summer months and is surrounded by spring and fall. The latest spring frost date indicates the beginning of the growing season while the end is signified by the first autumn frost date.
Sowing from Seed:
If you live in an area with a shorter growing season, then you may find that giving your plants an early start indoors and pampering them into the fall is necessary to achieve optimum results. You can also select vegetables that mature quicker than others and implement a few methods that are commonly used to extend the growing season that include:
1. Staring seeds indoors inside of a cold frame box. This is basically a small greenhouse box that is covered with a clear piece of plastic or glass. The cover retains heat and humidity while protecting the plants from the wind as well. Keep the youngsters in the cold frame until they are seedlings and ready to be transplanted into the ground or larger containers.
2. Use plant coverings during colder weeks to protect the plants and help keep the soil warm.
3. Paint one gallon plastic milk containers black. Next, fill them with water and place them around the base of your plants as they’re maturing. The jugs will warm up during the day and help keep the soil warm during the colder evening hours. The cycle will repeat itself daily as the jugs are warmed by the sun.
4. If you don’t have the time to grow your vegetable from seed, you can always purchase healthy seedling plants that already have a strong start on life from your local nursery or large retail outlet center such as Home Depot.
For additional privacy – and to create a unique space in and around your garden, there are several different plants to choose from. The plants you select will depend on your growing zone as well as your preference of size. Some of the more common plants used for adding character and charm while adding privacy and intimacy to a garden space include the following:
- Brush Cherry
- Flowering Maple
- Black Bamboo
- Luma Apiculata
- Sweet Olive
- Strawberry Tree
If you have the time and want a rewarding hobby, consider growing your own vegetables at home this year.