We all must begin somewhere in horticulture, including growing yummy vegetables of your own to enjoy and share. This activity, or is it passion, has a long colorful history while most of the time provides an exceptional food source. It can be a bit daunting the first time you try and maybe even the others to follow with determining what, when, where and how to plant for a future harvest.
Selecting that convenient site in full sun easy with access to check on the plants progress. Things you will need to consider are the number of hours of direct sun the garden area will receive. Most garden vegetables will need at least eight hours of sunlight. Many of the leafy greens can be grown with less than eight hours with the least amount of sun at six hours. All others will need eight or more hours of sunlight. Water is a critically important part of successful vegetable garden. Too little water and the plants will not survive well and produce little and too much will reduce or end plant production. A general rule is one inch of water a week during the growing season. This can come from rain or irrigation and likely is a combination.
Planning your garden before doing anything else is critically important. Take out a paper and pencil and sketch out how you want to plant your garden and what you want to grow. Start by drawing rows and labeling each row. Think about spacings between plants in the rows and between rows. Do you plan to plant everything in the ground, raised beds or on a trellis? More effective space utilization can occur by planting two- or three-foot-wide beds to plant multiple narrow rows that can be managed and harvested from both sides of the bed. Some plants to think about growing this way are leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, onion and others.
Going vertical to grow vine type plants like beans, cucumbers, early spring peas and others can be a fun part of gardening. This type of gardening allows for more space use over the same ground area. Other plants can be grown in the same bed depending on the light.
If you have interest in growing with raised beds, there are a number of materials that are used to build the beds. First do not use old railroad ties as they will leach chemicals into the soil that the vegetables can possibly take up or contaminate your soil. I have seen all kinds of creative materials used including cedar wood, plastic boards or preformed beds, even old whiskey barrels with legs built under. Do not forget all kinds of planting containers are available in the marketplace. Make sure there are drain holes in the bottom to allow the water to properly move through.
This is just the beginning of vegetable gardening. Other things to plan involve when to plant, what to plant, what is the budget, use seeds or transplants, depth of planting, watching for plant pests, harvest, storage and so on. Enjoy your gardening adventure!