Backyard vegetable gardens are exceedingly popular among homeowners. Some new gardeners are looking for a way to grow healthy food for their families, some are looking to spend less on produce, and others still are looking for a rewarding hobby. Whatever your reason for starting a vegetable garden is, though, you most likely want to know how to get the most out of your time and efforts. Here are some tips for growing healthy and thriving vegetable plants in our region. With a little thought and planning, you can be on your way!
Choose the right space
It’s well known that gardens need plenty of sunlight, but equally important is that they’re placed in an area with plenty of drainage. An excess of water in soil can prevent your vegetables from growing and is as bad for plants as too little water is. Make sure you don’t place your garden on a patch of ground that’s lower than its surrounding regions, as rainwater could collect in your garden and create soil that’s too watery for plant-growth.
Use all of your space
Many gardeners’ first instinct is that it’s best to plant in rows: it’s orderly and seems to utilize the space well. However, you’ll actually get more growth out of your vegetable garden if you stagger your plants rather than placing them right next to each other. Starting at the edge of your garden area, set down one plant. Then, place the next slightly above your first plant and to the side, and the next slightly below your second plant and to the side. If you keep planting in this triangular formation, your vegetables will actually have more room to grow.
Strengthen your soil
Plants glean many essential micronutrients and macronutrients from water they absorb through the soil. Thus, in order for your plants to thrive, your soil should be rich in nutrients. A great way to improve upon the quality of your soil and give your vegetables what they need to fully flourish is to add compost to your garden. Compost is available at a number of retailers, but it’s best to make your own if you have the time and resources.
Consider using raised beds
If you’re new to growing vegetables or don’t have a lot of time to invest in your garden, you may want to consider using raised planting beds. These are easy to make with a few planks of wood, or you can buy them at a garden store. Raised beds allow you to more easily maintain nutrient-rich soil, as you can fill them with your own customized soil mixtures.
Finally, don’t forget to fence in your garden to keep pets and other animals out!