Winter isn’t over but it’s not too early to begin thinking about the veggie garden; where strategy is especially important if you’re planning your first vegetable garden!
Today’s post is a guest article written by Geoff Wakeling that will offer some valuable insight to the first-time gardener, as well as considerations that experienced gardeners sometimes overlook.
Big Payoffs for the First-Time Vegetable Grower
Growing vegetables at home is an absolutely fantastic way of getting fresh and extremely tasty food for the kitchen table. Many vegetables are easy to grow and require very little effort to get good crops.
And with seeds costing far less than weekly trips to the local supermarket, you could also find that the financial costs of growing your own food comes in less than it would be to buy goods which aren’t as fresh and don’t taste as good.
However, when starting your first vegetable patch it is a good idea to make a few plans so that you can maximize both your continuing interest and bountiful crops.
Which Crops are Best for that First Vegetable Garden?
There will always be something that you can grow on your vegetable patch, no matter how small it may be. Planning is vital though, ensuring that you can get the most use out of your growing area.
Rather than running off to the garden center and buying loads of seeds, first think what you use in the kitchen and which crops are most in need. There is no point growing carrots if you barely use them or don’t even like them.
Which vegetables do you like the most? Which vegetables do you have to buy week after week? These are the crops that you should look at growing, reducing your weekly expenses whilst enriching your kitchen table.
Garden Planning to Maximize Your Productivity
Another important point to consider is how long vegetables may take to grow, and how much space they need. It is a good idea to try and grow a range of crops which will provide a variety of foods at different periods.
Salad crops, especially cut-and-come-again leafy plants such as lettuces, will mature within weeks, providing ongoing fresh food as long as they’re not allowed to flower. Meanwhile onions, potatoes, or cabbages will require an entire season to grow and mature.
Do you want to plan for the future and grow a large amount of these latter harvests which you can store? Or is it better to grow fewer potatoes and allow space for other vegetables so you can get a good variety of home grown foods?
Incorporating Crop Rotation and Soil Improvement into the Plan
Whilst, if you are newcomer to vegetable growing, you won’t necessarily be armed with the experience, it is important to know a little about crop rotation and soil enrichment. Crops such as potatoes or those from the broccoli family cannot be grown in the same place each year because they are nutrient greedy and vulnerable to disease.
This means that for each season, crops must be rotated to a new growing area. This is actually ideal in many cases, as some plants such as broad beans actually ‘fix’ nitrogen, meaning that they put goodness back into the soil. Combining groups of vegetables and rotating them each year can therefore not only ward off disease but actually allow natural recovery of soils.
So, when getting ready to start your first vegetable garden ensure that you take time to plan and consider exactly what you want to gain from the experience. Taking this moment to think carefully about home growing will allow you to maximize the experience and get the best crops for you and your family.
Geoff Wakeling is a writer with Brookside Patio Furniture which specializes in resin wicker patio furniture which can be conveniently stored during the winter in a recommended facility such as Toledo storage.
Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts: