Vegetable gardens for beginners: 5 steps to get started

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With the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, it can be hard not to stress about the supply chain, food shortages, and more. My usual grocery store has been cleared out of a number of basics for the past few weeks, and it’s definitely stressful not knowing when we’ll be able to purchase them again. Though it feels impossible to control or predict anything right now, there are little things you can do to eliminate some of your worry.

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Since we all have a little more time on our hands these days, why not start your own vegetable garden? If you have a little bit of yard space, starting your own veggie patch is a simple yet rewarding activity that will provide you with some of your favorite vegetables. Here are five tips that will have you well on your way to starting your own vegetable garden!

1. Choose Your Planting Spot

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As a general rule of thumb, most vegetables need six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day, so choose a spot that receives full sun. You’ll want to avoid planting in an area that tends to hold water, so choose an area of your yard that tends to have good drainage.

2. Prep The Soil

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Once you’ve chosen your vegetable plot, it’s time to prep the soil for growing. As mentioned, choose a spot that receives good drainage. You don’t want the soil to be sopping wet. Remove any weeds or grass from the area so that your vegetables can grow undisturbed. It’s probably not necessary to replace your soil with new soil, but it’s not a bad idea to mix in some composted matter for extra soil nutrients.

3. Pick Your Crops

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Since you’re new to the whole vegetable garden thing, it’s a good idea to pick easy-to-grow vegetables for your first vegetable-growing season. Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, spinach, green beans, and bell peppers are all fairly easy to grow. You can buy the seeds from your local garden center.

4. Plant Strategically

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Most seed packages will explain how to plant each seed variety. As a rule of thumb, plant in rows, and try not to overcrowd the seeds you are planting. You can buy trellises for climbing plants that produce vines (like tomatoes). Try to plant taller, bigger vegetables in the north side of your patch so that they don’t envelop smaller vegetables in their shadows.

5. How To Care For Your Plants

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Once you’ve planned out your plot and planted your seeds, try to keep the soil as hydrated as possible until plants begin to grow. Once your vegetables are in their growing stage, give them a nice, deep soak on a regular basis. If you water in the morning, the water will soak into the soil more effectively than it would if you water in the afternoon, when the sun is at its strongest. Be sure to weed your vegetable garden on a regular (weekly) basis. It’s not a bad idea to surround your vegetable patch with a critter-proof fence, or else they might be reaping the rewards of your veggies more than you will be!

Now that you know these simple yet effective tips for planning out and starting a vegetable garden, you’ll be able to enjoy your very own homegrown produce. Remember, even if you can’t visit a garden center in-person to buy the needed supplies, you can very likely order them for curbside delivery. Now get going so you can enjoy fresh veggies this summer!