Growing your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding. All you really need to get started is some decent soil and a few plants. But to be a really successful vegetable gardener and to do it organically. You’ll need to understand what it takes to keep your plants healthy and vigorous. Here are the basics. Gardening For Beginners!
Gardening For Beginners
Why garden, you ask? If you’ve never tasted garden-fresh vegetables lots of people haven’t!. You will be amazed by the sweet, juicy flavors and vibrant textures.
There’s absolutely nothing quite like fresh veggies. Especially if you grow them yourself—which you can!
Pick The Right Location
Plant in a stable environment. You don’t want to plant in a place that’s prone to flooding during heavy rains, or in a place that tends to dry out a lot. You also don’t want to plant somewhere where strong winds could knock over your young plants or keep pollinators from doing their job.
Plant in a location that would make Goldilocks proud.
Get Basic Gardening Tools
Once you have a plan, you’ll need some basic gardening tools unless you intend on digging with your hands. Thankfully, gardening only requires a handful of tools. Tools for digging and raking. In order to start planting, you will need a series of tools for digging and preparing the soil. For this, you should have at least one spade, a trowel, and a garden fork.
The spade and trowel will be used to dig the holes for your plants, whereas the garden fork is incredibly useful for breaking up large clumps of soil or for removing the roots of old plants and weeds. You will also need one or two rakes – one with metal prongs and another with softer, plastic prongs. Metal rakes are great for levelling the soil and removing stones in plant beds. Plastic rakes are better suited for basic garden maintenance, such as clearing your lawn of leaves.
Improve the Soil
Invariably, soil needs a boost. The solution is simple: organic matter. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost, decayed leaves, dry grass clippings, or old manure. If you dig soil, till the organic matter into the soil. If you decide not to dig or are working with an established bed you can’t dig, leave the organic matter on the surface and it will work its way into the soil in a few months.
To learn more about your soil, have a soil test done through your county cooperative extension office. They’ll lead you through the procedure: how much soil to send from which parts of the garden, and the best time to obtain samples. Expect a two-week wait for their findings, which will tell you what your soil lacks and how to amend it.
Choose the Right Seeds or Transplants
My favorite seed sources can be found in the article, “My Favorite Seed Sources, Seed Storage and Germination“. Dave’s Garden Watch Dog is a great place to check out a company before you order from them.
To learn which plants grow best directly seeded in the garden and which plants are better as transplants, visit the seed starting calendar. If you want to grow specific varieties, especially heirloom varieties. You’ll probably need to grow your own transplants from seed. Starting your own transplants is a great way to save money, too.
Keep Good Records
Finally, we end up where we started — with the realization that, although gardening can be rewarding even for beginners, there is an art to doing it well. There is also a mountain of good information and advice from other gardeners available to you. Yet one of the most important ways of improving your garden from year to year is to pay close attention to how plants grow, and note your successes and failures in a garden notebook or journal.
Just as drawing a garden plan each year helps you remember where things were growing, taking notes can help you avoid making the same mistakes again, or ensure that your good results can be reproduced in future years. For instance, write down all the names of different vegetable varieties, and compare them from year to year, so you will know which ones have done well in your garden.