So you’ve decided you’re ready to start your own organic vegetable garden? We’re super excited for you!
Many homeowners are turning back to the way their grandparents lived by starting their own vegetable gardens, which is great for health and ecological reasons. While starting an organic vegetable garden is pretty straightforward, there are some things you should know. To help you start off on the right foot, consider the following:
Pick the right spot
In order to have healthy, bountiful vegetables, you need to grow them in the right place. Before setting up your garden, here are some factors to think about:
Sunlight: Your garden should get as much direct sunlight as possible, so choose a place that receives at least 6 to 8 hours each day. Don’t have a space that gets that much sun? No worries! There are plenty of vegetables that can be grown with indirect sunlight.
Land: Is there a hill or a slope in your yard? If so, you’ll want to place your garden in the spot that will help it get as much sun as possible, which means you might want to avoid the uneven areas. Is there a place where water collects on your property? If you have no choice but to put your garden here, fill it with good soil so it will dry out. The last thing you want is for all your plants to end up with rotted roots, so fill this area now.
Breeze: Is the site you’re considering exposed to high winds? If your land receives a lot of wind, try to place your garden near a hedge, wall, or other structure that will block it out. You should also consider building some sort of a windbreak if you don’t already have one.
Necessities: You’ll need to access tools, water, and compost easily when working in your garden, and since carrying around a heavy water can is exhausting, make it easy for yourself. Choose a location next to your gardening shed, garage, or home if you can.
What’s the soil like in your future garden area? Is it a rocky area where all the tree roots gather? If so, consider building a raised bed garden area. If that’s not your style, proceed with double-digging the soil so you can grow your plants there. Whatever you decide, examine the soil so know what it needs.
Do a soil test: Take some soil samples to your local garden center or co-op and have them test it. The results will tell you what nutrients your soil needs. You’ll also receive tips on what you can do to improve your soil so it’s ideal for organic vegetables.
Go DIY: If you’d prefer to take things into your own hands, test your soil yourself. It will help you learn a lot about what’s in your soil, what type you have, how healthy it is, how it drains, and its current pH level – all are important things to know!
Once the soil test is complete, follow any instructions it gives you, especially when it comes to the nutrient deficiencies and pH level concerns.
Choose Your Plants
Since you’re taking the initiative to start your own organic vegetable garden, be sure the plants and seeds you choose are organically grown. Anything that was conventionally grown was exposed to pesticides and chemicals – which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.
For high-quality organically grown seeds, choose a good mail order company like Seed Savers Exchange, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, or Grow Organic.
Now that you’ve chosen the perfect place for your garden, worked on the soil, and ordered your plants, it’s time to get growing. Take a moment to look up information and tips about the vegetables you’ve chosen so you can get a healthy, bountiful harvest. Tend to your garden daily so you’ll be able to spot any weeds, diseases, or problem plants.