Starting a Veggie Garden? Here’s How to Help it Thrive

Sponsor/Writer - LouAnn Moss

While 90% of Americans prefer to live in homes surrounded by grassy lawns, you’re thinking outside of the box. You want to shorten the distance between food and your table, which means it’s time to start your own garden. What do you need to know if you want to reach gardening glory? Sit tight, because in this blog we’ll be talking about veggie gardening tips for those of you who are ready to start growing produce right at home. Let’s get started.

Location Is Everything

This is a common phrase in the real estate industry, but it’s really more appropriate for where you place your garden. In truth, location is everything for your plants. If you’re growing vegetables, you’ll probably want to get your garden started in an area that receives at least six hours of sun throughout the day. Most vegetable plants do best in full sun. And if you’re planning to grow taller vegetables like corn or pole beans, it’s best to place them on the north or west side of your garden so they don’t accidentally cast unwanted shade on your shorter plants.

In addition to making sure your plants get enough sun, you’ll want to make sure the environment is stable. Particularly, this means you’ll want to avoid places that receive strong winds that could knock your plants over or keep pollinators like bees, butterflies, and even birds, from doing their job. Areas with minimal foot traffic and a low risk of flooding are also ideal.

Choose Your Vegetables Wisely

It’s easy to have grand ambitions for your vegetable garden. But if you’re just starting out, it’s probably a better idea to consider growing some hearty vegetables that grow best in your area and that are relatively easy to cultivate at home. Some great starter veggies include:

And if you’re looking to add a little bit of color to your garden, consider planting marigolds alongside your veggies. Not only are they beautiful, but they can help discourage unwanted pests from paying your garden a visit.

But beyond choosing veggies that are easy to grow, make sure you choose veggies that you want to eat! If you want to grow cabbage but nobody in your house eats it, then don’t plant any. In addition, be realistic about how much produce you can eat. If you’re planning on sharing with neighbors that’s a different story, but be careful of over-planting.

Pay Attention to Soil

You have your location staked out and you have a rough idea of what you want to plant. That’s great! But before you put any seeds in the ground, make sure your soil is healthy enough to sustain the kind of growth you’re hoping for. Planting in poor soil is like buying an electric vehicle and forgetting that you don’t have the equipment necessary to charge it at home. It just isn’t worth the money and time. So what makes a great soil?

  • Good drainage
  • Lots of organic material
  • Good moisture content
  • pH between 6 and 7
  • Sufficient nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content
  • Variety of trace nutrients and minerals

If you’re not sure whether or not your soil is appropriate for a vegetable garden, ordering a simple soil test can help you determine many of the factors we discussed above. Your local gardening supply store can also help you determine what kinds of supplemental soil and fertilizers will be best for your garden plot.

One of the best parts about growing your own produce is shortening the distance between food and your table. Did you know that refrigerated trailers, which have a temperature range from -20 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, are used to transport produce all over the world? By shortening the distance your food has to travel, you’re doing your part to save that energy and create a more eco-friendly relationship with your food. Happy gardening!

Image credit: Markus Spiske via Adobe Spark

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