If you’re like most of the people across the United States right now, you’ve probably been spending a lot more time at home than you once did. Which probably means that you’re seeing the many ways in which you can improve your home. Right now is the perfect time to take up a hobby, after all, and your hobby might as well spruce up your living space in one way or another. For a lot of people, this has more recently meant starting a vegetable garden, whether outside or within the home itself. Even if you’re limited on space, you could consider a balcony garden by using vertical planters!
But why start a vegetable garden? It does take a good bit of effort to get started, and of course, it requires maintenance. You aren’t going to see instant results with a vegetable garden. But what you are going to are long-term benefits. A vegetable garden can add routine to your life during a time in which we all desperately need something to keep us on track. It’s relaxing to do something positive and regular when you’re surrounded by pandemic-induced stress. And though maintaining a vegetable garden isn’t easy per se, it also isn’t overly difficult once you get the hang of it. There can be something relaxing about maintaining vegetable plants on a daily basis. According to recent studies, happy homes are homes where you feel secure according to 69% of respondents, while 64% indicated that they were relaxing places, and 57% declared them spaces in which you were free to be yourself. A vegetable garden can help make your home all of these things.
Plus, you actually get to see the literal fruits of your labor! It’s satisfying to finish planting a vegetable garden and watch it grow. You’ll have your own organic produce that you can cook with right at home. This can help you save some money on organic vegetables, and in the long term is much healthier for you than buying vegetables commercially, though it can of course take you some time to grow a garden that offers a consistent “crop”. Your vegetable garden may need to be supplemented with veggies from the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good for you!
With that being said, let’s delve into how you can get started with your vegetable garden, now that you know the benefits behind them. Yes, you’ll need to put in some initial effort. But with the results we mentioned above, why wouldn’t you?
1. Choose Your Space
Firstly, you need to decide whether you’re going to have your vegetable garden indoors or outdoors. There are pros and cons to both. Obviously, you can be a bit limited in terms of the vegetables you can grow when you’re planting them inside. You’ll have to use either pots or planters, and obviously, most yards are bigger and less crowded than rooms indoors. But at the same time, you’ll be able to climate control your vegetable garden indoors in a way that you can’t outdoors. A lot of vegetable gardens freeze over during the winter and need to be revitalized or even entirely restarted during the spring.
Additionally, you won’t have to worry as much about what your neighbors will think if you’re planting your garden indoors. You may very well have to do some renovations outside if you want to grow a vegetable garden outdoors, adding in or revamping your fence, and maybe even creating a greenhouse if you have the space in your yard. It’s always polite to let your neighbors know if you’re doing anything potentially intrusive to your yard. You may need to do so legally as well. For example, California requires that landowners give 30 days notices to adjoining landowners if they plan on excavating for a fence or another structure. Before you even decide on what you want in your garden, you need to know where you’re setting the garden up so that you can accommodate the plants you want.
2. Choose Your Veggies
It’s not enough for you to buy vegetables that you want. you also need to consider the conditions you have for them. For example, root vegetables can be difficult to grow indoors because they need to grow deep into the ground, rather than shallow pots and planters. Additionally, certain weather conditions are better for different vegetables than others.
After deciding on your vegetable garden’s contents, you should consider whether you want to grow them from seeds or seedlings. Seedlings are already beginning to grow, and you can transfer them into fertilized soil. Seeds can be a bit more challenging for beginners, whereas seedlings can give you a bit of a kick start that you may need.
3. Prep The Ground for Your Vegetable Garden
From that point, you need to prep the ground or the planters and pots into which you are planting. You will likely need to do a bit more preparation if you’re planting seeds versus transplants. A lot of seeds need to be planted in specific ways so that they will germinate properly.
You should invest in a good fertilizer in order to stimulate growth for your plants. Additionally, you should think about how you can use fertilizer in a way that is environmentally friendly. Some fertilizers are less eco-friendly than others. Indeed, some people choose to forego fertilizers entirely and use compost to fertilize their vegetable gardens. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you’re making decisions that will help you protect your garden from animals and insects. While it might be tempting to use pesticides, pesticides are horrible for the environment. Try natural deterrents, like vinegar, as well as good fencing. Plan on regularly checking your vegetable garden for weeds; not only will pulling weeds keep your garden healthier, but it will also ensure that your property is up to code. With one of the most common code violations involving having weeds taller than 12 inches, you should make sure that yours are taken care of.
4. Get Ready to Harvest
As your vegetables grow, keep an eye on them and make sure that they’re growing properly. Do what you can to measure their growth before harvesting them, and prepare for a harvesting schedule if you can.
While a vegetable garden is a lot of responsibility, once you’re reaping your rewards, you’ll forget about the difficulties involved in setting it up. Plus, if you put in the effort now, you won’t have to worry about it later! So, get started and begin kicking off your vegetable garden as soon as possible.