Starting a Vegetable Garden
Looking for a new hobby around the house? Now is the perfect time to start your first vegetable garden. Read on to learn about what you need for this project, and about the personal garden that Chris has been building.
An Indoor Greenhouse: Gardman Greenhouse
A Gardening Book: The Backyard Gardener
A Shovel: Wilcox All Pro 202S Trowel
Seeds: We don't have a favorite yet.
Seed Starting Containers: Peat Pots
Garden Plot/Raised Bed: Cedar Lumbar
Home Compost (see Step #3 to learn more!)
Step #2: Raised Beds
All you really need is a spot with full or almost full sun. After that, it is a matter of taste. Chris chose raised beds on a hillside to avoid weed wacking that area during the summer. Chris ordered his online, but says that next time he would buy two 1" x 6" x 8' cedar boards for each 4'x4' square garden bed (see the link in Step #1.)
Step #3: Soil
Soil is critical to a successful vegetable garden, but Chris didn't want to get too overwhelmed with soil testing, so he kept it simple by adding 50% top soil and 50% compost. He bought the top soil and had it delivered, but used his home compost. Home composting is very easy and not as smelly or gross as people often think. Chris keeps a tin on the counter (we recommend: Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin,) and says he has never had an issue with the tin or compost smelling. The compost does smell, but in an oddly good way? The other thing that people worry about is attracting wildlife. Chris says that he occasionally gets a critter or two, who visit his compost and have a snack, but they don't tend to drag food out of the compost, and it hasn't led to any problems.
Step #4: Plan your beds & transplant seedlings after last freeze
Chris shared that he got really into planning his garden, but that you can be more casual and still have a great result.
There are two important parts to remember:
1. Put tall plants in the back (north side) so that they don't cast a shadow on smaller plants.
2. Space out - stagger - the time between planting your seeds. Start your first round of seeds in the indoor greenhouse (4-6 weeks prior to the last frost.) Then, plant seeds (either in your greenhouse or the ground) a few weeks apart. This will give you fresh vegetables throughout the season instead of one large harvest. Leave space in your bed for later planting.
Step # 5: Watering & Weeding
This can be the less pleasant work of a gardener, but Chris says he actually enjoys watering about 1-2x a week depending on the weather. He says that it takes him about an hour, and feels really peaceful.
Chris uses a hose, but many gardeners have a drip irrigation system or timed sprinklers, to take some of the work out of maintaining their gardens.
Once the plants start to grow, it's important to weed them regularly. Chris says he checks on his plants daily for his own personal joy, and because his plants are in clean rows, it is easy to see if a weed has joined the group.
If you're new to weeding, remember to pull/dig weeds up by the roots, so they aren't able to grow again.
Step # 6: Harvest
Pick the vegetables and enjoy!
BONUS: If you're wondering what to make with all the vegetables you harvest, check out these awesome recipe ideas from Backyard Boss. Makes us wish it was harvest time already!