Having a garden is not only visually appealing, but it also can be an investment if you are into growing your own food. As farmers move further from the natural ways of growing crops, many people are becoming increasingly concerned about what they are putting in their bodies. You definitely do not want to feed your family fruits and vegetables full of chemicals or, worse, genetically mutated food.
This is why starting a vegetable garden can be a great idea. After all, there is nothing more important than the safety of your family. Nonetheless, growing vegetables in your own garden can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are not blessed with green fingers. No need to worry, though, because we have got you covered. Just check the expert tips enlisted below to start growing your own crops today!
Make Sure That Your Soil Is Up to the Task
Growing flowers is completely different from growing crops. While flowers may thrive without fertilizers, crops need a fertile soil full of nutrients to grow and give enough yield. So, if your soil seems lacking, you have to step up your game if you want to get those fresh veggies. It is true that artificial fertilizers give crops the nutrients they need, but they come with a hefty price—they make the crops full of chemicals. Because artificial fertilizers are a big no-no if you want to go all-natural, then using an organic fertilizer can be a good alternative. Either manure or compost should do the trick; however, they do not exactly smell like daisies. As their smell might be a little off-putting, the gardening experts at https://www.simplegrowsoil.com/ point out that you should opt for earthworm castings. Earthworm castings are odorless, so you do not have to hold your nose every time you apply it. Moreover, they promote the growth of your crops, as they have just the right amount of bacteria and hormones vegetables need. So, as you can see, there are many options out there if you want to go for organic fertilizers. Just make sure to use the right amount, and do not hesitate to ask a professional for advice when in doubt.
Build Up the Soil
Building up the soil to make what is known as “raised beds” does not only promote faster growth, but it also leads to more produce. The science behind this trick is that raised beds have more fertile, looser soil and help you space crops more efficiently. Thus, you will not have to waste efficient space anymore. While tight spacing might seem like a bad idea, experts agree that this method gives less space for weeds to grow, so you will not have to spend countless hours weeding to keep your plants in tip-top shape. Moreover, watering and harvesting are going to be a breeze! Using raised beds is a foolproof way of making sure that you get plenty of healthy plants.
Stop Planting Crops in Rows
Sometimes, only using raised beds might not give the amount of yield you need. However, there are other ways to maximize the space you’ve got without affecting the quality of your crops. Traditionally, many farmers plant vegetables in rows. While this technique can be effective in wide areas, it can take a lot of space if your garden is not that big. Instead of planting in rows, you can arrange plants in the shape of triangles to save some space. By employing this method, you can have around 15% more plants in every bed. Yet, beware; fitting the plants too tightly can inhibit growth, so avoid placing them too close to each other.
Choose the Right Location
You may think that you are doing everything right, but notice that your plants are not growing as they should. Well, in most cases, the location you’ve chosen to plant your crops is to blame. Choosing a well-shaded area is not a good idea because plants need at least eight hours of direct sunlight to thrive. So, do yourself a favor, and choose an area with plenty of sunshine. Moreover, make sure that such a location has good air circulation, and select a level area to avoid erosion.
Keep the Seasons in Mind
Planting a summer crop during winter is definitely a waste of time. Granted, it can be challenging to know all about sowing seasons, but some research can go a long way towards maximizing your investment. You can simply search the web for different crops and their planting seasons. This will help you get a better idea of what you should plant each season. Also, after you gain some knowledge about the matter, you can even customize your own gardening calendar and fill it with the crops you plan to plant each month as a reminder. Moreover, you should consider the general climate where you live. If you live in a hot area, opt for cucumber, melons, peppers, and squash. On the other hand, if the weather in your city is usually cold, plant cool-season crops, such as peas, onions, and cabbage.
Start With Small Plants
We totally get it; seed packets are much cheaper than plants, but using seeds when you are just starting your vegetable garden can be a bit discouraging because they take a lot of time to grow and give you produce. So why not make it a bit easier? By purchasing small plants, you can give your garden that much-needed head start. You will definitely pay more up front, but you will enjoy your home-grown vegetables a lot faster. Sounds like a sweet deal, right?
Get Organic Seeds
According to experts, you should always select quality seeds. Skimping on seeds will only get you in trouble! Quality seeds are usually organic and have not been exposed to any chemical, which is exactly what you need to start an organic vegetable garden. If you do not know where to get such seeds, going to your local farmers’ market is your best bet.
Water Your Garden Efficiently
Some crops do not need that much water, but they still need water early on until the seeds sprout and take root. Because different crops need different amounts of water, there is no way around doing some research, but the information on packet seeds can sometimes give you a hint about the amount of water your plants require. As a general rule of thumb, do not water your plants when it is expected to rain, as this can drown the plants. If you are still unsure if you should water the crops, there is a simple way to test the moisture of the soil. Just stick your finger in the soil; if you find it dry, then it is time to water the plants. Once you figure out the watering needs of the plants, it is going to be smooth sailing, and you can make it even simpler by using smart gadgets. For example, smart irrigation systems have timers you can set. When the timer goes off, the sprinklers connected to the system will start spraying the plants with water, then the system will automatically shut them off when all plants are watered.
Weed Your Garden
If you are not using raised beds, then chances are that you are going to notice the weeds sprouting out every now and then. Weeds are detrimental to any crop, so you need to get rid of them as soon as possible. Once you notice any weeds starting to grow, pull them out because leaving them will just give them the chance to spread and ruin your crops. So, do this every other day for the best results.
Severe weather conditions can wreak havoc with the growth of your plants. To protect your crops, you can opt to apply a layer of mulch to insulate them. Usually, mulch is made of organic residue like leaves, hay, and straw, so you do not have to worry about introducing chemicals to the plants. Moreover, mulch helps the roots of your plants stay moist, which boosts their growth rates. In any case, mulch is very affordable; thus, you will not have to burn a hole in your pocket if you want to keep your crops healthy. However, if your budget does not allow it, you can also make your own mulch without any undue effort. Just collect leaves and grass clipping to get your makeshift mulch!
Go for Heirloom Crops
True to their name, heirloom crops have been a staple in any vegetable garden for many years. They are different from hybrid crops, as hybrid crops have been bred to have certain properties, such as disease resistance. Yet, heirloom crops are much tastier, nutritious, and cheaper. Therefore, they are great if you want to enjoy the delicious home-grown produce.
Gardening is not only therapeutic, but it also makes your home look more appealing and showcases your eco-friendly tendencies. So, if you want to make sure you are getting nutritious, organic food, you should certainly grow your own. By following the above tips, your vegetable garden will be the talk of the town in no time, and you will be able to provide your family with quality food.