Vegetable Gardens

You might think that it is too hard to grow your own vegetable garden and that it is easier to just go to the store to buy your vegetables. When you have your own garden there are many benefits – like knowing what exactly has or has not been put in your food, getting high quality, absolutely fresh produce, and having the satisfaction of having grown it yourself.  In addition, it is usually cheaper to grow your own vegetables than it is to buy them at the store. Best of all, home-grown vegetables just seem to taste better. There are a few good ways to maximize the benefits from your vegetable garden  and these that are not very hard to do.

 

                           

Set-up

  • To maximize your garden space, the best thing that you can do is to use raised beds to plant in. The easiest way to do this is by simply nailing boards together to form a square or rectangle. These boards should be about two inches in height and about an inch in thickness. The overall length of the raised bed can vary depending on how much room you have for your garden, but I don’t recommend making them more than four feet wide. The reason that you do not want your beds wider than four feet is that it will be easier for you to weed the bed and to harvest the produce since the typical person can only reach about two feet with out stretching.  If you limit your bed to four feet wide and put a path around it you will be able to access it from both sides.  Another benefit of having a raised bed garden is that it is not as prone to weeds. Weeds in a typical garden will often out-compete the vegetables and reduce the amount of harvest.  It will also be easier to control the amount of water you use in a raised bed.

Raised bed form

 

  • Next, you will need to fill your raised garden bed with soil. The soil that you use in your garden bed, should be high in organic matter, but be sure to buy soil that is weed-free. Do not fill your bed all the way up but leave a few inches at the top so that you can place a soaker hose in the bed.

 

  • A soaker hose is a lot like a leaky pipe that just drips out a small amount of water into the soil. Soaker hoses help keep down the amount of water lost to evaporation. Place your soaker hose so that it is only about one foot from the side of your garden bed then double it  back (if you’re doing a four foot wide bed) so that you  get complete water coverage. When you have your soaker hose in place, cover it up with the soil. When you water, the water will be delivered to the roots where it will benefit the plants the most.

 

Planting

  • Now you are ready to start planting but what should you plant and how much?  What you can plant will depend on your location.  Most garden centers will be happy tell you what is appropriate for your area.  They can also advise you on  the proper time to plant your garden.
  • Most of the seed packets will have information about how much you should plant in a given space and will also specify how deep the seeds should be planted and how far apart they should be.
  • Once you’re done planting, you should place about one inch of mulch around the unplanted areas to discourage weeds. Do not place thick mulch where you have placed your seeds as it may keep them from sprouting. If you do not feel comfortable about mulching at seeding time, wait until your seeds start coming up, then mulch around the seedlings. The mulch will help to reduce water loss and keep your soil moist.

 

Watering

  • When you are ready to water your garden bed, just hook up a regular hose to the soaker hose and turn on the faucet. How long should you water?  When you ask your garden center about what to plant for your area, find out also what the water needs for the veggies you’ve chosen since different plants require different amounts of water.

 

Good luck and happy Gardening.

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3 Comments

  1. TopVeg said,

    April 7, 2008 at 5:16 am

    So many benefits to growing your own veg – including the enjoyable physical activity!

  2. Calla Schoenecke said,

    April 8, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    There is some very useful information here. Would you say that the effort and extra to getting raised bed gardens started versus regular gardens is worth the added benefits you discussed?

  3. Marianna Brandt said,

    April 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you for this very useful information. I like the idea of a raised garden and will definitely try it in the future. I will also try the soaker hose for watering. I know from experience that sprinkling does not work.


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