Growing your own food must be the easiest way to feel happy and alive again… not to say you will enjoy the most delicious fruits and vegetables you’ve ever tried. Yes, getting closer to Mother Nature and producing your own food comes with many amazing benefits. But besides the bright side, the recent events in the world – pandemic, crisis, rising inflation… show only one thing – we need to have a Plan B and learn how to produce our food and become more self-sufficient. Today we will show you the best 7 tips to build a vegetable garden for beginners.
Of course, to do that, you need to learn some insights on how to grow the right veggies, how to take care of them, how to take care of the soil, and a lot more. So, let’s see how to build a vegetable garden for beginners.
1. Understand what good soil is
You need a good base, and that’s for sure as for any other thing. Successful gardening comes with it, and food gardening’s base is soil. That’s why it is important to choose the right spots and to take care of the soil the proper way.
If you are going to grow food in your backyard then first you need to dig down and see what actually the type of the soil is. Is it heavy and sticky when wet? If so, you will need to improve it by adding some organic matter like compost. If you don’t do it and plant directly, at some point, you will see that the plants are slowly dying because vegetables need oxygen around the roots to survive and thrive when growing. Yes, oxygen is as important even under the ground.
And in case you have sandy soil – it’s the opposite. It’s now not too heavy but too light. This makes moisture-holding difficult, meaning you’ll need to water more often, and if not, the plants will again die. To improve sandy soils, you need organic matter – compost. Additionally, you can also add some good soil (from somewhere else or purchased) to your existing one. The best soil you can have in your garden is in the golden middle – not too heavy and not too light.
Don’t forget your soil feeds your plants. You need nutrient-rich soil to grow your favorite vegetables!
2. Grow what you want to eat
There is a difference between what grows best in your area, what are the easiest veggies to grow, and what you actually like to eat when making dinner. Naturally, people want success. Especially beginner gardeners that simply want to grow something and be proud of it. Don’t let this be your case!
For example, if your area is popular for growing a lot of corn, then you’ll actually be able to buy corn relatively cheap at the local market. So growing it just because it’s easy isn’t necessarily the best use of your garden. Well, of course, if it is something you love eating and want to have every day in your garden, by all means, grow it! All we are saying is that when you are a beginner, you should stick to two things – what you want to grow and what you can grow. Because going for vegetables that are not easy to grow in your climate, would be an advanced step to take.
The good news is, there are lots of vegetables that most people love, and that can be grown almost everywhere, and most of them are easy to grow, so as a beginner gardener you’ll love them!
3. Grow at the right time
Most places around the world allow you to grow all sorts of veggies, but you just can’t grow them whenever you want. Obviously, in a cold climate, you can’t grow much because the snowy winter will stand in your way. The same goes for spring – even if it is generally better weather than winter, it is still too cold for some veggies to grow right away. That’s why most people start growing tomatoes at home in small pots and then later bring them outside. They are sun-loving plants, and the temperature is still too cool for them in the early spring.
Other crops like cabbages, kale, or garlic are fine to plant early, while it is still cool. In warmer climates, you can grow veggies all year round, but there are some time-slots when vegetables grow best if planted in. For example, zucchini tend to grow best when it is not too hot and not too cold – both in autumn and spring.
Understanding when is the best time to grow each crop will give you a great harvest, and the way you do this is by using local charts and advice from experienced homesteads. Or you can also research online for additional information. Then, you can adjust your growing time to the proper windows of time for each vegetable and fruit.
Every zone and garden has a different orientation to the sun, different geography, and physical barriers or other things that affect the climate and might change slightly but don’t worry – all of this you will learn with time and it will only get easier to know the best time for growing and planting.
If you want to start small and gain experience as a beginner gardener, you will love this DIY herb garden. It will allow you to produce up to $100 worth of your own herbs at home. Click here to see how it works.
4. Don’t overfertilize
Some beginner gardeners think that more fertilizer will grow bigger and better vegetables, but the truth is, too much of it can even lead to killing the vegetables. Naturally, it can lead to growth and development problems, and at the end of the day, you are just wasting resources and time.
There are three times that are good for fertilizing. First, when preparing the soil for the crop. Second, if the plants require it, and third when there’s been a lot of time, and you see the plant is not really growing or is in stagnation, you want to give it a boost, and you can do so by fertilizing. This is good for tomatoes, for example, or for lettuce when you want additional leafy results. The same goes for the opposite – when you see your plants thriving, hold off on the extra boost.
The easiest way to make sure you are not overfertilizing is to ensure you only use organic products because natural organic fertilizers break down slower and absorb slower by the plants. This makes the whole process a lot more natural.
5. Grow organically
A common mistake many beginner gardeners make is they plant in heavy soil at the wrong time of the year, so without them realizing it, they lead themselves into the moment of necessary need for pesticides. And using pesticides on already sick plants only delays their death. With time, you’ll realize you only need water to spray in your garden, and if you need to add something more, it is best if it’s natural and organic, often even homemade.
Keep in mind that it is better to water deeply rather than just to it more frequently. This is especially true when it comes to vegetable gardens because drenching your plants can filtrate and drain nutrients, so they won’t produce richly. A better practice is providing water to the base and roots of the plants.
6. Plant enough plants but not too many
Like most things people tend to overdo, planting too many vegetables is common mistake beginner gardeners make. Actually, as a beginner, you need to remember that if you start small, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding. Growing vegetables in your own garden is not too hard, but it’s not too easy either, and you’ll find it overwhelming to take care of such a variety of different plants that require a different type of care.
Be realistic on how much you can really accomplish. Even if you decide you just want to grow seasonal veggies and keep yourself occupied in the summer, that’s okay! Just have a plan and stick to it.
7. Water, weed & feed
Your three musts when gardening are obvious – water, weed, and feed. This might be a tip you’d think to disregard, but it is actually truly important to be taken into consideration. Some beginners don’t know when is the right time to water or how much or even how to feed their soil.
Remember, newly seeded beds need more frequent watering than the established crops that require a deep watering process instead. As for the feeding, long-term veggies like eggplants and tomatoes will need you to boost their growth in the season. Use organic products to support them and encourage a great harvest later.
To sum up
Every year you might find a failure in your garden with a specific plant but the best thing is you can only learn from it so the next year you’ll be better at it. You need to remember that this is a hobby that always comes with mistakes that you can learn from, and no one does it with no setbacks.
Taking care of a garden is not rocket science either, so you can become an excellent food gardener in no time if you just follow our tips, take your time, and keep an open mind. As plants take their time to grow, so will you! Be patient, and the fruits of your learning process will soon reward you!