People choose to take up vegetable gardening for many reasons. For some, it is the challenge and enjoyment of growing their food from scratch. For others, gardening is a way to relax, de-stress and get back in touch with nature without having to leave home. Or maybe you want the satisfaction of knowing exactly where your food comes from.
It is also possible to make some money from your vegetable garden. You can plan to sell most of your produce, or just sell some of the surplus. Selling your veggies on the side of the road, or at a local farmer’s market will give a bit of extra cash. Local food stores or restaurants may also be interested in any fresh seasonal produce on offer.
Regardless of the reason you want to take up vegetable gardening, there is no doubt it is very rewarding in many ways. Here are some tips to starting a vegetable garden that will help.
Plan Your Vegetable Garden
Before getting started, it’s necessary to do some planning. Start with establishing how big your vegetable garden will be. It can be so tempting to plant lots of different vegetables, but this can lead to a lot of work. Different varieties will require different conditions and maintenance, so keep this in mind. You don’t want to end up with more work than you are prepared for.
Start by making a wish list – include all the different vegetables you would like to plant. Don’t hold back or worry about the details at this stage. Things like whether you’ll have time to take care of something, if it is affordable etc is not important at this point. Just write down everything that interests you.
With your completed list, it’s time to start fine tuning it. Here’s what to do:
- Remove anything from the list that is readily available locally, at a reasonable price. For example, potatoes and cabbages usually fall into this category. Think of other vegetables that are similar.
- Take out anything that won’t be significantly improved in flavor by growing yourself. Some things taste the same whether they are store bought or home grown. Cabbage and potatoes again fall into this category. They are unlikely to taste any different if you grow them yourself.
This gives you a list of produce that isn’t readily available locally, can get too expensive to buy, or would taste a lot better if grown in your own garden.
A great example is fresh herbs. These are expensive in stores and the flavor is never as good as straight from the garden.
Tomatoes are another example. It can be hard to find decent tasting tomatoes in stores and home grown ones burst with flavor.
You can also grow specialty lettuces that are hard to find locally. These come in a lot of varieties and can generally be a bit expensive.
Be Realistic About Garden Size
It is important to be realistic when getting started with your vegetable garden. A very large garden is definitely not for everyone and can be a lot to handle. It is hard work. Sure, it can be very relaxing too, but when it gets hot, the work can be back-breaking work. Not only that, you need to also deal with weeding, pulling, bending, bugs, dirt and more.
If you create a garden too big to handle, it can become miserable work. Your wonderful new hobby can quickly turn into a nightmare. So don’t overdo it at the start. Keep it realistic, practical and manageable. It’s always easier to expand your garden than pull it back once started.
Like What You Grow
Another consideration when choosing your vegetables is to make sure you like them!
If you only eat peas once per month, don’t plant a whole row!
If you hate tomatoes, don’t plant them!
This might seem obvious but it does happen and it is hard to get excited about harvesting food you don’t even like.
Lastly, don’t get carried away by planting too many of one variety. It might be tempting to plant six kinds of peppers, or one of every variety of tomato. But it’s not realistic. Start with one and go from there.
Use these tips to starting a vegetable garden and you will soon be enjoying your harvest. Be realistic when starting, choose your plants wisely and keep it manageable.