Having a vegetable garden in your home can be rewarding and fun. Picking fresh vegetables right from the garden and cooking delicious food is the best way to stay healthy and obtain the nutrition that is naturally present in the vegetables.
Consuming home-grown, organic vegetables free from fertilisers and harmful pesticides will keep you and your family healthy and nourished. It is also a great way to introduce the concept of gardening to young children and let them know where the food comes from.
Are you thinking of starting a vegetable garden from scratch at your home? Are you looking for a detailed guide to help you set up a beautiful vegetable garden that would give fresh produce of your own vegetables? If yes, then you are at the right place.
Here in this guide, we have explained how to start a small vegetable garden at your home and some of the easy-to-grow vegetables that you can grow in your new vegetable garden.
Table of Contents
Choose the best spot
The first step for starting a vegetable garden is to find the best spot. A place that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight and also offers some shade is an ideal place to build a new garden at your home. It should have rich soil so that the plants grow well in it. There should be enough drainage and ventilation for the plants.
In addition to this, the water source must be close enough to provide easy irrigation facilities. You can find an area where the soil is already levelled to skip the extra work. Taking care of each of these points is extremely essential to let the garden plants thrive well under the full sun and yield fresh vegetables.
Design the layout of the garden area
The next step is to plan and design the layout of your garden. This includes preparing a map of the raised beds where you will sow the seeds of different vegetables. Plan the soil beds in groups of four to make crop rotation easier. This is especially helpful in avoiding the buildup of diseases and harmful pests and insects.
Get rid of weeds
When you decide to create a vegetable garden in an abandoned area, there is a possibility of weeds growing in the garden. It is very important to pull these weeds out of the soil before sowing your vegetable seeds. That’s because, if you grow your veggies alongside weeds, they won’t receive the right nutrition from the soil. This will lead to a retarded growth of the plants and result in lesser and low-quality fresh vegetable produce.
After removing the weeds, leave the soil bed for a few weeks. This will let the remaining weed seeds germinate over the soil so that you can hoe them off completely and get started with your exciting vegetable garden. You can also bring some beneficial insects to your garden. These insects feed over weeds and prevent weeds in the garden bed.
While you are working on removing the weeds from your garden area, always work on small sections. Divide the land into small portions and select one part at a time. When you are working on this part, you may cover the remaining land with cardboard or membranous material for weed control in the planting area.
Prepare the garden soil for a starter garden
Preparing the garden soil and getting it right is one of the most crucial steps in setting up a vegetable garden. The first thing to do here is to assess your soil and note down its composition because it will decide the further additions that need to be done in the soil for the good growth of plants. If the soil in your selected land contains a good amount of clay or chalk, it is best for growing vegetables in raised beds.
Prepare a layer of soil-based compost pile. Add a layer of green waste. This green waste will decompose and break down into elements that promote the healthy growth of young plants. Finally, add a layer of topsoil.
If you wish to skip the hassle of finding each of these elements separately, you can buy raised bed kits from the market and perform the required soil amendments to grow your vegetable plants.
If you have decided to prepare your vegetable garden on normal soil, you must check the pH of the soil before moving on to the next steps. It is necessary because most plants grow well in neutral soil. So if your soil is too acidic or alkaline, your vegetable seeds may not grow well or not even germinate out of the soil.
Choosing the crops
If you are a beginner gardener, you must select vegetable plants that are easy to grow and don’t require very strict climate or sunlight conditions. You can choose root vegetables like beetroot, radish, leafy greens like lettuce, salad leaves, or courgettes, and potatoes. These vegetables are some of the best choices for your vegetable garden as these fresh veggies are versatile, liked by everyone, and are easy to grow.
Buy the seed packets of your favourite vegetables from the grocery store. You can also buy the seed packet from the farmer’s market if you are looking for a cheaper alternative that doesn’t compromise the quality of the seeds.
Set up a vegetable garden
Once you are done preparing the prerequisites needed for starting a vegetable garden from scratch, it’s time to begin compiling them and setting up your starter garden. It’s planting time.
You can soak the seeds overnight in water if you wish to make them germinate a bit early. Soaking the seeds overnight softens the seed cover and it is easier for the shoots to break out of the seed and germinate.
Dig in your soil up to the same depth throughout the raised beds. Start by putting the vegetable seeds at a certain distance apart from each other. Apply small pressure on the seeds with your fingers to push them inside the raised beds. Water the seeds and wait for a few weeks before the seeds germinate into plants.
7 easy-to-grow vegetables for your garden
New gardeners may find setting up a vegetable garden very exciting as it involves preparation of soil, choosing their favourite seeds, sowing them, seeing them germinate and grow into tall plants, and finally harvesting the fresh veggies.
Every step in starting your small garden is predictable except the way your vegetables will grow. The quality of produce that you harvest depends upon many factors like the duration of full sun on the crops, the growing season you have chosen, planting depth, the organic matter, and so on. So how do you ensure that you can eat fresh and nutritious vegetables while growing them in your own vegetable garden?
You can do this by growing vegetables that don’t require very strict growing conditions. Here are seven easy-to-cultivate vegetables that are loved by all and don’t need so much care and attention.
Beetroots, especially Boltardy beetroots, are extremely easy to grow and yields deeply red coloured, fleshed, medium-sized beetroots within a few weeks. It is one of the best vegetables to grow for beginners.
2. Salad leaves
You can grow salad leaves and oak-leaf leaves in your kitchen garden as well as in pots. When you have harvested the produce, the salad leaves grow back very quickly without much effort from your side. You can grow several varieties of salad leaves and create a colourful garden.
3. Bush tomatoes
Bush tomatoes make an important ingredient in several sauces, purees, salads, and food preparations. They are very easy to grow and don’t need any support. You can grow them in baskets, pots, or vegetable gardens.
Potatoes are very easy to grow. You can even grow them by simply sowing the potatoes having buds arising from their eyes. When the leaves appear on the soil, cover them with a fresh layer of soil. Wait for a few weeks and you can harvest your first produce of potatoes.
Pea plants can be grown easily and used for a variety of purposes. When the young tips appear, you can trim them and add them to salads. It tastes incredibly delicious in early spring season. Once the pea plants start flowering and pods begin growing, you can create several dishes right from the comfort of your home with your home-grown peas.
Lettuce may taste like spinach. It grows so easily that it has even occurred naturally in some parts of the United Kingdom. You can grow several types of lettuce and pick fresh leaves to make different kinds of salads on each day of the week.
Radishes are another easy-to-grow crop that you can grow in your vegetable garden or even in a compost bin. These root veggies are fleshy and make a great salad.
Things to consider before starting your garden
You may feel intimated while thinking of growing your first vegetable garden. But with a few tips, you can easily ace your idea of growing plants and vegetables in your home. Before you think of how to start a vegetable garden, consider the things given below:
- Ensure that your planning of the entire garden adheres to the ecological balancing conditions of the environment. You can do this by adopting an organic approach for growing your vegetables. This will help in protecting the soil, conserving the water, and maintaining a balance between plants and pollinators.
- Always use organic matter like newspapers, vegetable peels, and leftover food to supply the nutrients to your plants. Never use chemical-based fertilisers and pesticides to nourish your crops and kill pests.
- Assess your chosen garden space well. Look out for areas where it is too windy and how you will protect your crops from strong winds. Is running water easily accessible to the garden? Ask yourself these questions and prepare the solutions as required.
- In vegetable gardening, it is important to know the frost dates of your growing zone. This is essential to plan and grow your vegetable garden. Pair up the assessment of the growing zone with the testing of soil to harvest the best quality of produce.
- It is important to map out how much space your garden will need. Don’t fall into the myth that a vegetable garden requires a very large space. The reality is that you don’t! All you need is an efficient planning of your garden and you can harvest varieties of vegetables in good quantities.
How to maintain your vegetable garden?
Now that you’ve learnt how to start a vegetable garden, it’s time to learn how to maintain your new vegetable garden. Whether you are a beginner gardener or belong to the community of experienced gardeners, maintaining your garden may come forth as a challenge. So here are some easy yet helpful tips to maintain your vegetable garden.
1. Use raised bed to plant the veggies
Making raised beds to plant your seeds is a great way to enhance the quality of yield, its quantity, and also to protect the quality of the soil. When you make raised beds for your plants, the soil becomes loose and the fertile soil comes at the top. This helps the seeds germinate quicker and grow well.
2. Apply triangular planting pattern
Planting the seeds in a triangular bed can save a lot of space while increasing the quantity of yield. Make sure you sow the seeds at some distance apart from each other to provide them enough space to grow and receive the required nutrition from the soil.
3. Plant climbers to utilise space
If you have limited space for building your garden, you can utilise the spaces in between the crops, and use corners to plant climbers like melons, tomatoes, peas, and squashes. This makes your garden look extremely adorable while yielding a variety of crops and saving space.
4. Implement crop rotation
Some crops may absorb all the nutrition of the soil whereas some may supply the nutrition to the soil. In addition to this, instead of growing one single crop all around the year, you can grow different vegetables at different times of the year. This way, you can keep the nutrients in the soil intact while reaping a variety of vegetables.
5. Choose the right plant companions
You can choose two plants combinations that are beneficial for each other. For example, if you plants onions and carrots together, they will kill and control the occurrence of weed plants. This will allow other vegetable crops obtain the nutrition from the soil and grow well.