Have you ever wanted to grow your own vegetable garden? The idea has always been appealing to many of us; there’s something homey and comforting about growing your own vegetables. Furthermore, it’s the best way of ensuring that the veggies you use while cooking are actually organic! With that being said, a lot of people put off starting their own vegetable gardens and exploring backyard vegetable garden tips, simply because of the effort and time they expect to put into it. Many also have the idea that vegetable gardens are high risks with low rewards. You may not be putting years of effort into creating your own garden, but if you spend days on the project and end up with on measly carrot, you may feel a bit cheated. But that was your mom’s garden. This is yours. And if you do your research ahead of time and take on the right tips, you should be able to build a vegetable in your backyard that, over time, could provide you with most of the vegetables you need for your kitchen.
There are more advantages to growing your own vegetable garden than simply growing the healthiest, freshest vegetables you can. As the United States continues to undergo the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are being encouraged to grow their own gardens if they can. During the beginning of the virus’s first wave, many basic grocery store products quickly sold out, making lots of people newly aware of a need for self-sufficiency and of, course sustainability. There are a number of environmental reasons why growing your own vegetables, and perhaps later on your own fruits as well, is beneficial. Essentially, the more people grow their own plant products, the easier it will be for them to maintain access to those products and in the long term cut down on the amount of labor and waste accumulated in mass plant production. It’s important for all of us to be doing our part, and living as sustainably as possible. With that being said, let’s look into some helpful backyard vegetable garden tips, which will ensure that your gardening process is as simple as possible.
1. Check And Prepare Your Soil
Lots of people are turned off of the idea of starting a vegetable garden because they believe that their soil won’t provide the right kind of environment for plant growth. It’s true that some soils don’t foster growth quite as well as others. If your backyard has particularly sandy soil, or soil built with clay, you might need to do some additional preparation in order to make it suitable for a vegetable garden. However, with that additional preparation, you should be able to do so eventually. It’s possible that your backyard has already been subject to a soil absorption test, perhaps before the installation of a septic tank system. If that’s the case, you may want to refer back to the test’s results before deciding how to proceed.
If the natural soil in your yard isn’t suitable for planting, you can invest in some topsoil from your local gardening store. There are different varieties of topsoil available for varying ground conditions, and it’s important to get the kind of soil that works with your specific needs. For example, if you get the kind of topsoil that is meant for an overly dry yard, you may end up with conditions that are too wet or loose for planting a garden. It’s important to consider this among your most important backyard vegetable garden tips, as it’s crucial to create a good “bed” for your garden before moving on with the process. Another matter to consider is adding fertilizer to your topsoil. While some gardeners are against fertilizer and would prefer to go the completely “natural” route, if your natural soil is inappropriate for gardening, fertilizer can give your plants the extra boost they need.
2. Choose Your Vegetables Wisely
Not all plants are created equally, and caring for plants that are meant to provide you with edible vegetables is quite different from your typical shrub care. Furthermore, different types of plants have wildly different requirements when it comes to their expected conditions, when they should be planted, and how they must be cared for. Some vegetables produce a relatively small amount, but come in larger forms, like certain types of squash. Others, like carrots, may be easier to grow in larger quantities but must be pulled from the ground, it can be a bit difficult to tell how well they’ve grown until that time. While deciding on what types of vegetables you’re growing may not be chief among the backyard vegetable garden tips that spring to your mind immediately, you should be aware that choosing the right types of vegetables can make a huge difference in terms of ensuring the success of your garden. You’ll find that different sorts of vegetables are better for first-timers. In the spring, lettuce may be a good veggie to try your hand at, as well as carrots and broccoli. Tomatoes and eggplants are better for the height of summer, while you can continue to explore plants like potatoes and cabbage well into the fall.
Also a question for beginning gardeners is whether to start with seeds or to buy seedling plants and transfer them to your garden. While it may seem easier to start with plants that have already “started”, which are often easy to find in a home improvement store, there is more to them than what meets the eye. Utilizing sprouted plants involves transferring them from the containers that they come in, to your own garden. While some plants are easy to transplant, others react poorly, and may not grow well at all. Whereas if you begin with seeds, you can cultivate the plants on your own and ensure that they are well-suited to the environment that you have made for them. Among the most important backyard vegetable garden tips is to create an atmosphere in which all your plants can coexist together. You’ll also have more control over the growth directions of plants that you grow from seeds, which can make them easier for gardeners who have smaller backyards to deal with.
3. Protect Your Garden From Pests
There are a number of reasons why pests can be an issue for amateur vegetable gardeners, even when they don’t live in the countryside. Vegetables can be vulnerable to a lot of different animals and pests. First and foremost are, of course, insects that can chew at and spoil your vegetables before they’re fully grown. Birds can also be an issue for certain smaller vegetables, and for that matter, ground animals and particularly rodents can also be problematic. While it’s impossible to prevent every single type of pest from disturbing your garden, a fence can of course block out larger animals. If you currently lack one, you may want to get in touch with a fence company before planting your garden. Once that is in place, it’s really the smaller pests that you have to worry about. Though you may be tempted to use pesticides to prevent insects from feeding on your vegetables, remember that these can have a negative impact on the quality of your plants. If you do use them, make sure to wash your vegetables carefully before eating them. There are organic pesticides available, however; if your bug problem is really out of hand, you may want to discuss them with a pest control company.
Of course, rodents can be a more difficult problem to deal with. While you may not be aware of any rodents on your property, the chances are high that there are some in the vicinity. Furthermore, some of the rodents that can cause the most damage to your vegetables burrow underground. Moles and voles can chew on the roots of your plants, causing them to wither and die. Using certain scent-based products can dissuade these rodents, but if that’s not enough for your particular problem, you can seek out rodent removal services. While some do involve exterminating the rodents, there are more humane traps that you can seek out as well, if you would rather catch and release these particular pests. Ultimately, all pest control is about ensuring the future health of your garden, and you shouldn’t feel bad about taking control of your own property. As much as most of our backyard vegetable garden tips are based on things that you can do yourself, pests might require a bit of outside help.
4. Prepare For The Weather
Generally speaking, it’s important to plant vegetables that coincide with the season that you’re planting in. However, there are times in which unseasonable weather occurs, and unforeseen weather events can wreak havoc on your fledgling garden. Fortunately, there are a few backyard vegetable garden tips that can help steer you in the right direction. Some are particularly suited to specific types of vegetables. For example, if you anticipate something of a freeze during the fall, you should not only cover your plants ahead of time, perhaps with something breathable like a piece of tarp, but also water them in anticipation of them being difficult to reach. Furthermore, when you add water to the soil ahead of time, it traps in heat and keeps the roots underground from being as harshly reached by the freeze.
You may also want to consider setting up something that is often referred to as a “plant nanny”. Essentially, this is a watering device that involves sticking terra cotta stakes into the ground and funneling a water bottle into them. This means that even if your plants need to be watered more frequently due to unusually high temperatures, they’ll be taken care of. At first, the plant nanny may seem like a basic part of lawn and garden care. However, this is perhaps particularly important among backyard vegetable garden tips, as these types of plants can’t be easily moved indoors, the way flowers can. Just don’t forget to refill the water bottle every week or two.
Again, plastic sheeting or tarp is one option for those who are worried about excessive amounts of rain or water harming their garden. However, netting is also a potential option that can also ward off some of the bigger or more concentrated swarms of insects. Unfortunately, this won’t have much impact if a rainstorm turns into a hail storm. Therefore, you may want to improve by creating a lean-to. Always homemade, this structure essentially involves using something, perhaps a piece of plywood, to lean over the plants. You may want to lean it up against your home, fence, or trellis. Essentially, it would protect your plants from the impact of hail. While this might change your garden’s initial appearance, you can actually gain quite a bit by having this structure in place. Again, much of what you’ll do to weather-proof your garden will be dependent on where you live.
There are so many reasons why following up on these backyard vegetable garden tips is important. Having a strong, thriving garden isn’t just important for your physical well-being, but for your mental health as well. It’s important to be able to create a natural structure with great results, and to take pride in your garden. Yes, a garden involves a good deal of hard work. But ultimately, this work is well worth it when you have a positive result like a healthy garden. This is also the kind of skill that you can eventually pass on to your friends and family.
If you follow these basic backyard vegetable garden tips, you’ll hopefully be able to spread the gospel of gardening. Right now, just 35% of households in the U.S. grow their own food; let’s try to get that number up in the future! The more we all garden, the healthier we will all be as a country in the long term.