Where Will Your Garden Grow?
You don't need to have a large available space at home in order to start a vegetable garden. A well-tended smaller garden will actually yield more vegetables than a larger counterpart that is ill-managed. If you live in an apartment or if space is very limited, you can choose to grow in containers housed on a deck or balcony.
Regardless of your garden's size, there are some key requirements for successful growing:
- Sunlight Most vegetables require anywhere from six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Plants that donâ€™t get enough light typically bear less and are more susceptible to attacks from diseases or pests. Leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce can be grown in the shade if you donâ€™t have access to a spot in full sunlight. Cool-season varieties such as peas can also be grown in partial shade.
- Water Most vegetables require regular water in order to survive. While a full-scale irrigation system isnâ€™t necessary, the closer your garden is to a water source the easier time you will have keeping vegetables well-watered.
- Soil Plants tend to thrive in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic nutrients. When using containers to grow vegetables, make sure to use a potting mix designed for containers (most contain equal parts clean sand, perlite, vermiculite, potting soil and peat moss).
- Convenience Many home gardeners like to locate their vegetable patch close to the kitchen, making it easier to harvest fresh produce while cooking. If your only suitable growing spots arenâ€™t conveniently located, consider keeping a few favorite potted veggies on handy indoor counters.
What to Plant?
The next step is to determine what you'll be growing in your garden. Begin by examining the types of vegetables your family eats throughout the year. First time gardeners have been known to plant more than they either need or can manage. To begin, follow the old adage that less is more. Seed catalogs can help you narrow down your choices, or you may seek help at your local home and garden store.
Remember that certain types of vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes produce throughout the year, while others such as carrots or corn produce only once. You may need to plant more of the latter as a result. During your first growing season, you may want to plant several varieties of each vegetable to determine which will grow best in your garden.