Last March, seed sales for at-home gardens hit an all-time high due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason behind this massive surge was understandable: people were looking for a solution to address the food supply anxiety sparked by the pandemic.
Even though life is beginning to return to a more normal pace, the interest around at-home gardening has continued to increase. Whether you’re wanting to boost your creativity, lead a healthier lifestyle, or explore your green thumb, creating an at-home vegetable garden is a great way to save some money while also growing some delicious veggies.
Choose The Right Location
Picking the right location for your garden is the first and maybe most crucial step in starting your vegetable garden. You will want to look for a space that gets a lot of sun throughout the day as most vegetables require at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. If you live in a primarily shady spot, there are still some vegetables you can plant. Vegetables that will grow in light to partial shade include arugula, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale.
When looking for the right location, you should also try to pick a space that has moist, well-drained soil. If your yard typically pools with water after a heavy rain, you probably don’t have a well-drained lawn. If this is your situation, try planting your veggies in a raised bed or a raised row for improved drainage. Wet soil leads to wet roots which can create rotting vegetables, which is definitely something you don’t want.
Finally, when considering your location, try to avoid areas that would be affected by strong winds. Wind can wreak havoc on your garden and can keep bees and butterflies from pollinating your plants.
Choose A Plot Size
If you’re a beginner gardener, it’s best to choose a small plot size. One of the most common errors beginners make is planting too much too soon. So, what is the perfect size for a small vegetable garden?
A 16 x 20 food plot is a sufficient size for a family of three or four. However, if you’re new to gardening, something smaller might suit your needs more accurately. The Farmer’s Almanac recommends that beginner gardeners make your garden about 10 feet long and about 11 rows across.
When plotting your garden, make sure you have foot paths that let you access your plants easily. You will have to weed your garden consistently if it is going to flourish, so you’ll want to be able to access your plants readily.
Choose Your Plants
The next step in your gardening journey is picking the right plants for your individual garden. Some plants are easier to take care of than others. Good choices for beginners include:
When choosing your plants, consider what your family likes and will actually eat. You should also be realistic about how much your family can actually consume. Be very cautious about over-planting. If you’re still struggling to pick your plants, contact your state’s Cooperative Extension Service. They will help you find out which plants grow best in your area.
Another handy tip is to mix in flowers among your vegetables, like marigolds or chrysanthemums. These flowers discourage pests and attract pollinators to your garden.
Know When And How To Plant
Finally, you should know when and how to plant your garden. Depending on where you live, every region has a different planting time based on local weather. You can look up gardening calendars online to figure out when to plant your garden. You’ll just need to enter your zip code.
Before planting, you should know the difference between cool-season and warm-season vegetables.
Cool-season veggies grow in the spring and include things like lettuce, spinach, and root vegetables. Warm-season vegetables are planted once the soil is warm and there is no threat of frost. Examples include tomatoes and peppers.
Almost all vegetables are annuals, which means you will need to replant every year. If you only want to plant perennial plants, you could look into growing asparagus, rhubarb, and some herbs, but sometimes these plants are a little more high maintenance for beginners.
Ask Your Local Agent
If you have any questions about the value adding an outdoor garden space gives to your home, don’t hesitate to contact experienced agent, Kim Clark. With over 15 years of experience, she knows exactly how to assist you in making your home appeal to the widest audience possible. Set yourself up for success—contact Kim today.