5 Tips For Planning A Vegetable Garden
We're saying goodbye to winter -- and our big rewards for enduring cold temperatures are lush green grass, colorful flowers and sunshine so we can spend as many hours outside as we did inside during the dark days of January. One the best ways to take advantage of that outdoor time is by gardening -- but to really experience all the benefits of spring and its bounty is by planting a vegetable garden. If you haven't had the pleasure of eating a tomato from your own soil, now is the time to start! Here are 5 tips for planning a vegetable garden.
The first thing you should do before planting your vegetable garden is figure out what you want to grow. There are dozens of easy-to-grow vegetables, but you should be selective about what you want to plant. Choose vegetables that you like to eat over how easy they are to grow. Radishes are easy to cultivate, but it doesn't do you much good if you won't want to eat them once they're harvested. Plant vegetables you eat frequently so your hard work and good vegetables don't go to waste.
If you don't have a yard, you still have options for planting a vegetable garden -- container gardens are an adaptable way to grow gardens in small spaces. But if you have a larger garden outside, you'll want to think strategically when you plan where you want to plant each vegetable. It's best to grow vegetables that complement each other -- that means they require the same type of soil, amount of water and sunshine to survive. Planting vegetables that grow well together will make their output a better quality and you won't have to think as much when you're caring for them.
What you want to plant will determine where you can plant. Make notes on how much sun exposure your plants will need; for example, tomatoes require 6 hours or more of sunlight every day. Make sure the spot you choose gets the amount of sun exposure as the vegetables you want to grow need.
If you get an early enough start, you can start your seeds in containers indoors -- long before the ground is warm enough for plants to live comfortably. This is determined by the last frost date in your region -- it could be anytime between March and June, depending on where you live. If you're too late to start them yourself, nurseries always have seedlings that are ready to transplant.
You can keep your vegetables free of pests and well fed with minimal effort if you have the right borders. There are shrubs and flowers you can use as edging for your vegetable gardens that are natural bug repellents. In addition to shielding your plants from pests they also can help with drainage.