December 28, 2022
Starting off as a vegetable gardener can be pretty overwhelming. If you want to be an organic gardener to boot, you'll really need to understand the essentials – that is, if you want to keep your plants healthy and vigorous. If you have never eaten fresh organic veggies, you will be absolutely amazed by their sweet, juicy flavors and vivid textures. Garden-fresh foods not only taste, but also look amazing.
Yes, it takes work, but you'll reap what you sow. In this piece, we'll discuss the various areas you can choose for your vegetable garden, how to make the correct sized garden, the type of soil you will need, and which foods to grow.
First off, choosing a good spot for your garden is critical. Remember: a suboptimal location results in suboptimal produce. Ideally, plant in an area that gets full sun. That means, at least six hours a day (eight to 10 hours is even better) of morning sun and a bit of afternoon sun. Here are some further pointers for choosing a good location:
Getting the most out of a small garden is much better than getting frustrated with a huge one. It is very easy for beginners to over-plant, which often results in either overwhelm, or simply too much produce (if you are lucky!). Plant only what you know you and your family will eat. Begin with small tasks and focus on what you know you and your family will enjoy.
A lot of people wish to have a large vegetable plot, a large area that supports a variety of crops, including space-hungry ones like corn, dried beans, pumpkins, and winter squash, melons, cucumbers, and watermelons. If you have the place and the time, then sure, plant a massive garden. But vegetable gardens that take advantage of every inch of growing space are much easier to keep in top condition, whether you're talking about a few pots on the deck or a massive football-field sized venture. Raised beds are a good option for beginners, since they make the garden more manageable.
Trellising is one of the most effective ways to maximize space in the garden, besides intensive planting. People with small gardens may want to plant as many crops on vertical supports, and gardeners with a lot of space may still need to support some of their vegetables, such as climbing pole beans and cabbage. Vining crops, such as cucumbers and tomatoes, are frequently trellised.
Your trellis may well be used to support crops for multiple years, as long as the crops grown on the fence are rotated. Metal or wood trellis supports may be used in addition to wood or metal vegetables supports. Regardless of how you build your trellis or materials you use, make sure it is up and in place before plants require it – preferably even before you plant the crop. You may also require slight tension or careful weaving through the trellis with certain crops like tomatoes or melons.
Correct soil conditions are a must for successful gardening. Healthy organic soil is the foundation for a healthy organic vegetable garden. The most crucial part of soil is the organic matter, such as manure, peat moss, or compost. The latter is the best option, because it contains decayed past plant life. You may create your own compost pile by designating an area or bin for decomposition. Or, you could buy organic compost in bulk if you have a lot of space, or buy it in bags at garden centres and home improvement stores.
Chemical fertilizers are often used in conventional farm crops. When applied excessively, this type of chemical force feeding can gradually deplete the soil of its resources. Furthermore, it may render the soil an inert growing medium that only shields plants' roots, providing little or no nutrition in its own right.
It is far more important for an organic garden to maintain a healthy, balanced soil than to add various fertilizers and mineral nutrients. Because organic matter is such a vital component of healthy soil, you can add it in many different ways, such as compost, shredded leaves, animal manures, or cover crops.
Organic matter improves the fertility, the structure, and the tilth of all kinds of soils. In particular, organic matter provides a continuous source of nitrogen and other macro and micro nutrients that plants need to grow. It also provides a rich food source for soil microbes. As organisms in the soil carry out the processes of decay and decomposition, they make these nutrients available to plants.
Begin by choosing vegetables that are also productive. We've provided ten below. However, it might also be useful to contact your state's Cooperative Extension Service to learn what crops thrive in your region. For example, temperate vegetables that prefer cooler temperatures might be out of luck in an area with extremely hot weather.
Here are some vegetables that are easy to grow for beginners:
Beetroots (Beta vulgaris) is a root crop that is a blood red in color grown during the seasons of summer through autumn. You can eat beetroots cooked in dishes or raw in fresh salads since it is a great source of nutrients such as vitamin A, fibre, beta carotene, and antioxidants.
The tomato (Solanum lycopersicon) is one of the garden favorite vegetables many folks love to grow in their yard. And, the reason for this is because tomatoes are simple and easy to grow producing a great yield when harvested. Tomatoes can be consumed fresh in salads or raw in many cooked dishes as it’s a great source of lycopene, folate, vitamin C, and potassium.
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) is a staple in many home gardens because of the many ways you can cook and consume this in the kitchen. Potatoes contain loads of starch making it an excellent choice as a source of carbohydrates. Other nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and fibre.
Garden peas (Pisum sativum) are quick and easy garden vegetables to grow. Plant them today and in no time you’ll see a bounty of them ready for harvest. Peas can be eaten fresh in many salads (or snacking!) or cooked in dishes. These vegetables are rich in fibre, protein, starch, and vitamin C.
Radishes (Raphanus sativus) is a root vegetable commonly grown in home gardens for it’s juicy root and leaves. This cool-season vegetable can be planted in spring and ready for harvest end of summer. It is rich in antioxidants and minerals such as potassium and calcium.
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a cool-season vegetable grown by many home gardeners for its crisp leaves. It’s rich in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium and is also low in sodium making it a favorite ingredient in fresh salads.
Chili (Capsicum frutescens) is a great choice of vegetable to have in home gardens because it’s very simple and easy to grow. Not many can tolerate the spice chilies have but when eaten, chilies provide high sources of vitamin C and is known to reduce bad cholesterol.
The Courgette or Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) is a viney vegetable crop producing small squash-like fruits during harvest. Thet are best grown in the summer and ready for harvest in the late fall. If ever you’re feeling thirsty, snack on a courgette because it’s rich in water as well as antioxidants, fibre, potassium, and vitamin C.
We are obviously talking about selecting the right crops, but also consider sowing flowers such as marigolds. These discourage pests, attract pollinators, and provide some color and beauty!
Rotating crops within the vegetable garden means planting the same crop in the same location only once every three years. The same vegetables will not deplete the same nutrients year after year, and this policy also helps foil any bugs or diseases that might be lurking in the soil after the crop is harvested.
In order to use a three-year crop rotation system, make a map of your garden on paper during each growing season to record all of your plants. These plant maps are extremely valuable, since they can be difficult to categorise even two years ago, much less two years ago. Keeping up with your previous two or three seasons' plant maps gives you the freedom to make no assumptions about memory alone.
Often, gardeners prepare their seedbeds and plant or transplant all their crops in one or two days in the spring, to maximize growing area in the garden. It would be much easier to plant a few seeds or transplants throughout the entire growing season rather than trying to get everything into the garden at one time.
The more you divide up your job, the easier it will be. So, consider planting new greens in the garden every week during the sowing season. You can even interplant crops that respond well to thinning (e.g. radishes) alongside other vegetables that require a long season (say, carrots or parsnips), or sowing their seeds together.
This so-called succession planting also means that your harvest season lasts longer for every crop. This also ensures that your plants don't get buried in snap beans or summer squash as they mature all at once, but rather that you stagger planting to ensure a steady, but more manageable supply of fresh vegetables.
Paying close attention to how plants develop is one of the most significant ways of improving your garden from year to year. It is important to record your garden plan each year to remember where things were growing, just as it is for remembering your garden design each year. It is also a common practice to record the date and amount of organic matter or fertilizer applied. Noting down any pests, diseases or nuisances can also be helpful. There usually is so much going on in your garden that you simply won’t remember it all from year to year.
The more careful you are in recording and monitoring your vegetable plants' growth information, the more you will learn about them. Although gardening books may provide some useful information, your notes will be based on your own experiences and observations and will reflect what works best for you in your unique environment!
Starting your own organic home garden may seem like a lot to do but we promise, the rewards you’ll reap are worth it in the long run. To begin your gardening journey, keep in mind some important notes to ensure healthy plants and a bountiful harvest. Some things to keep note of include, having the right space and choosing the right location, working smart, choosing the best soil, using organic over chemical fertilizers, selecting the best plants, early prepping, and having garden records to keep track of progress. You may seem overwhelmed by all these but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have the garden of your dreams in no time.