In recent weeks, the escalating cost of vegetables, such as cauliflower ($8.99 a pound at the local grocery store) has made front-page news across North America. As more people tighten budgets and look for new ways to stretch their dollars, the cost of basic groceries is expected to increase even more in coming years. This means more people are turning to homemade meals, many of which are surprisingly inexpensive and delicious. The effort doesn’t require much time or cooking knowledge; it’s simply a matter of using some creativity and investing a little bit of time. With a few simple tips, anyone can create their own tasty and budget-friendly vegetable garden.
It’s easy to plant an outdoor vegetable garden. All that’s needed are basic tools and a little bit of patience. The main thing to remember is to start small and expand as you grow your garden. You’ll also need to learn a few important gardening techniques, such as how to protect your garden from the weather and pests, how to select the right vegetables for your garden, and how to harvest your produce (organic vegetables must be harvested before they spoil.)
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to plant, it’s time to go out and start planting. Start by preparing the area where you’re going to be growing in your garden. Clear an area about three feet wider than the root system of your plants, and about one foot of ground. Prepare the soil by spreading it over the entire area and making sure it’s completely even.
Once the area is ready, it’s time to choose what plants you want to grow. Pick plants that are appropriate for your hardiness zone and will stay within the designated vagetable garden area, unless you are planning to apply a spce saving techniques like trellis’ for vines. If you’re growing vegetables from seeds, pick the same varieties and species which your family eats when possible. There is no point in wasting space expecting your family eating habits to change. It’s also helpful to grow different varieties in your garden so that you can have contrasting colors and textures to enhance the contrast of colors in your veggie section.
After you have picked the plants, it’s time to prepare the soil for planting. Make sure that it is completely moistened, but not saturated, after watering. After your soil is ready to go, you’ll need to make sure that it is weed-free and cultivated to a depth of 12 to 24 inches and Hopefully, loaded with compost and other healthy organic material.
Now it’s time to get started planting! If planting from seed planted in accordance with your package instructions. You want to be sure to provide sufficient spacing for the plant at full maturity and for your ability to get in and out of the garden patch amongst the plants without damaging plants and to harvest and work your garden space. After you have either planted the seeds and/or planted your transplant seedlings you will want to gently water for a few days consecutively to allow the plants to settle in. Also, you will want to set up a consistent watering schedule according to your client and the needs of your plants.
For larger raised garden beds, you can use raised beds with pots. Pots are convenient because you can move them around to any location instead of moving the beds. Just make sure that you put a good base down first and that the soil is firm.
Once you have your vegetable garden established, you can experiment with different designs and themes. Do a little research to find out what looks good in your area. You may want to grow vegetables that look like fruits (such as melons, grapes, and bell peppers) in containers and then grow them on raised beds. Or you may want to grow vegetables that look more like weeds (broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce) in planters with small pots and cover them with plastic. Get started today!