Growing your own vegetables is not just rewarding but also fun! Kitchen gardening has become the hottest trend in gardening for a number of reasons. Apart from reducing grocery bills, when you grow your own vegetable garden you can be sure that you are putting in healthy food into our bodies. And the best part is that it’s far tastier than anything you can buy from the stores.
All you really need to start a home vegetable garden is some decent soil and good quality seeds. You might be surprised to know that it doesn’t really require as much effort as one might think. And the fruits of this little labour are sweeter than your imagination. It’s worth a try at least!
Here are a few tips to begin with:
Whether you have a garden in the back yard or in the balcony, you must keep in mind that a direct sunlight for at least 6 hours is mandatory for plant growth.
Source: Gary Pilarchik
This step is very crucial as plants can grow healthy only in a well-drained, loamy and nutrient-rich soil. You can enrich your soil using natural compost, just apply it 2-3 weeks prior to planting (as it takes time to stabilise and integrate). Also remove rough stones and patches from the soil as it can potentially harm your plants.
As a thumb rule, never ever place your plants near a tree (the tree will fetch all the nutrients and even worse, it will shade the plants). Also, before you start, consider making a garden layout first.
It is a well known fact now that plants grow really well in raised bed gardens. Raised bed offer the best way to get deep layer of fertile soil, so better yield. Not just that, you will be surprised that it saves not only your space but also efforts and time.
For most of the vegetable plants, an inch of water per week is ideal (including rainfall). Using soaker hoses and drip lines is the most efficient way of irrigation as it allows sufficient time for the roots to absorb the required water. This also means that you must avoid using sprinklers (water roots not the leaves).
Don’t overwater, in fact it is more dangerous than under-watering. One can revive a dry plant but it is almost impossible to save a plant with drowned roots.
If you want to have your own kitchen garden but do not have enough space to grow one, then vertical gardening is for you. It not only saves space but is also a visual treat to the eyes.
Using mulch not only keeps weeds at bay but also creates a barrier that can prevent harmful fungal disease spores from splashing to another plant. For an added advantage use an organic material as mulch, upon decomposition it will add organic matter to the soil. Isn’t it a good deal?
Invest in a few planting tools such as garden gloves, spading fork, rake, shovel, hoe, trowel and a garden hose (pipe), if you are planning to give kitchen gardening a try.
For a good yield it is very important to keep the plants free from pests. For this, the best practice is to discourage infection from them.
For this you must pull out weak plants, build a healthy soil, keep your garden clean, rotate crops and interplant compatible crops. You can also use seaweed mulch which promotes healthy development of plants.
10. Plant Selection
Although it is very tempting to grow every vegetable in your little garden space; but you must choose your plants wisely. Browsing through a seed catalogue can be of great help. To decide which plants to grow, first determine the growing season that it prefers. Understand if the plant will thrive best in cool season or during the warm days of summer. Also, growing compatible plants such as corn, beans and squash can bestow really good yield.
Now that you are well aware of how to take this first step towards kitchen gardening, I guess you are well prepared to take this plunge!