Inside: Get ready to grow your own fresh produce! Our guide to planning a vegetable garden covers everything from site selection to seed starting.
Are you dreaming of a vegetable garden? Before you start planting, it's essential to plan a vegetable garden to maximize productivity and reduce waste. In this post, we'll walk you through the steps of planning a vegetable garden, from assessing your site to choosing your crops and maintaining your garden.
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How To Plan A Vegetable Garden
Growing your own vegetables is not only a great way to save money on groceries, but it can also be a fun and rewarding hobby. It can be overwhelming to know where to start when planning a vegetable garden.
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Choose A Location
First, choose a location for your vegetable garden. Look for a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and has good drainage. If you're starting a new garden, consider testing your soil to determine its pH level and nutrient content.
Consider the garden's proximity to water sources and your house. Identify any existing plants or structures that may affect the garden's layout.
You want to make sure that you aren't going to dread the walk to and from the garden or hauling water uphill, or at all for that matter. These things are going to make you resent your garden, and you aren't going to maintain it as you should.
Decide What to Plant
Consider which vegetables are best suited for your climate and soil type, as well as which vegetables your family enjoys eating. Don't grow something just because you think it looks pretty, or you were given the seeds.
Keep in mind the amount of space each plant needs and how much you want to harvest. And when they are going to be harvestable. You want to space out the time frame of when you need to be harvesting your vegetables to give you time to can or dehydrate your harvest.
Create A Garden Layout
Once you know what you want to plant, create a garden layout. This will help you determine how much space each plant needs and how many plants you can fit in your garden.
Consider companion planting, which is when you plant different vegetables together that benefit each other, such as planting tomatoes with basil. And make sure not to plan things together that are going to hinder the growth of your plants.
Prepare the Soil
Before planting, prepare the soil. Remove any weeds or rocks and loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller. Add organic matter such as compost, manure, or leaves to improve the soil's nutrient content and structure.
Yes, you can use chicken or quail manure in your garden but as it is hot manure you need to let it sit for a year before adding it to your garden. Rabbit and goat manure is considered cool manure and its pelleted state makes it suitable for direct applications to flower and vegetable gardens without the worry of burning plants.
Plant the Vegetables
Once the soil is prepared, it's time to plant your vegetables. Follow the planting instructions for each vegetable, such as how deep to plant the seed and how far apart to space the plants.
If the seed package says to start indoors before the last frost, this is important not a step to skip. Doing so is going to add time to your growing season and you might run out of time before you get a chance to harvest.
Maintain the Garden
Water the garden regularly, ideally with a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses if you need to water. I rarely had to water my garden last year as Nova Scotia gets a good amount of rain most years.
Mulch the garden to suppress weeds and retain moisture. Or you can put some of those Amazon boxes to use and lay them in between your rows to do the same thing without the added cost.
Monitor your plants for pests and diseases, and take action if necessary.
Harvest and Enjoy
Finally, it's time to harvest your vegetables and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Pick your vegetables when they are at their peak ripeness for the best flavor and nutrition.
Planning a vegetable garden may seem daunting at first, but by going step by step instead of looking at all the work and all the effort required, you can grow a bountiful garden and enjoy fresh, homegrown produce.