Vegetable gardening is rapidly becoming more and more popular as the price of fresh vegetables is beginning to be a larger part of the family budget. With only a few preparations anyone can grow vegetables, regardless of where you live, and the quality of your own home grown vegetables is far better than anything available in stores.
If you live in an apartment you can grow them in planters and flower pots on the balcony or in or near windows. If you live in a house with a yard, flower beds are an excellent place to grow vegetables. If you are fortunate enough to have acreage you are limited only by how much you want to grow. The point here is that anyone can grow their own tasty and nutritious vegetables with just a little planning and little effort.
The first thing you will want to consider is soil preparation. If you are growing in pots or planters you will have an advantage here as you will have less soil to prepare. Those of us with a larger area will have to do a little more work but the reward is well worth the effort.
The soil needs to be tilled (this can be done with a shovel in smaller areas) to loosen it up and usually some sort of fertilizer added and mixed in well. Organic fertilizer can be bought at almost any nursery or feed store or gotten from almost anyone with livestock just for going and getting it.
Once you have the soil prepared you need to plant the seeds according to the instructions on the seed packets, or if you are going to use plants from the nursery (as in the case of tomatoes), transplant according to instructions that come with them. I recommend getting a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2011 as it will give you valuable information about planting times in your area and other information that is hard to find elsewhere.
After you have planted your garden it requires very little care. Keep the weeds and grass pulled or hoed back away from your plants so they do not rob your plants of moisture and nutrients, and water when the soil gets too dry.
There you have it. Your garden will grow on its own. Some plants will need to be supported as they grow (like tomatoes and pole beans) but most will do fine on their own and start producing in a few weeks and all you have to do is gather your own produce and wonder why you have not had a vegetable garden every year.
There are some things you can do to get a jump on the growing season such as hot boxes and greenhouses which I will discuss in the next article.
Vegetable gardening will open your taste buds to a new world of flavors that grocery store vegetables just do not have, and you will know the pride and satisfaction of knowing you can grow vegetables for yourself that surpass the quality of anything you can buy.