Whatever your motivation, the pride of producing your own vegetables, without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, to find a moment of sharing with family or friends, or even the desire to return to nature, the pleasure of cooking good products, to decompress, even to spend time gardening, cultivating your vegetable garden brings many satisfactions.
I wrote earlier about growing herbs indoors on this post and now it is time to take it outdoor with growing vegetables,
When To Start A Vegetable Garden?
A vegetable garden usually starts in spring, and it is indeed the full period of sowing and planting of a good part of the vegetables and berries. It is in May that the vast majority of sowing and planting takes place, for summer crops. But the preparation of the site can be anticipated, and we will come back to this later.
A common mistake when starting out wants to sow or plant at the wrong time, either too early or too late. However, each vegetable has its climatic requirements. Seeds sown too early do not germinate or germinate poorly and are in competition with “weeds”, which are very dynamic in spring.
Moreover, if frost-resistant plants, such as tomatoes, are planted too early, the plant may vegetate or die because it will have suffered too much cold.
The area devoted to the vegetable garden obviously depends on the space available but above all:
- space requirements for vegetables,
- how much time you can devote to your garden.
When you start a vegetable garden, without knowledge of the land, without knowing how to handle the tools, it is preferable to start small! I advise you for the first year a surface which will not exceed 10 m² if you think you have little time, you will enlarge it according to your results the following year. It is always more encouraging to take good care of this small area, and a few vegetable plants, their maintenance and all the work (sowing, planting but also weeding for weeding, watering, etc.) than not succeeding in manage a large plot.
More tips on how to start with vegetable gardening
The Location And Exposure Of The Vegetable Garden
When planning your vegetable garden, it is particularly important to seek the best possible sunshine. Most vegetables need to be exposed to the sun for at least a good part of the day. As far as possible, the vegetable garden should therefore face south.
Good air circulation is also important, the vegetable garden must be located in a ventilated place, not confined, but ideally protected from the prevailing and cold winds. The presence of a wall or a not too high hedge is an advantage to protect the plot.
The land should ideally be flat or on a slight slope in order to limit the risk of leaching. These lands are also easier to cultivate. However, land with a steep slope can always be terraced.
The ground must also be well-drained: indeed a too wet ground, which retains water, involves risks of root suffocation.
The quality of the soil has a capital role for the good growth of vegetables because they draw from it the elements necessary for their growth, water and mineral salts. The ideal soil is arable land (easy to work), deep, rich in organic matter and living in insects, earthworms and micro-organisms.
Rest assured, this ideal land is relatively rare! And if you start your vegetable garden from a lawn, you will not have this type of soil immediately, but any soil can be improved!
The Right Amount
For a “classic” family, it is, of course, useless to plant 30 cucumber plants or to sow all the seeds of a bag of carrot! But it is not always easy to know the right quantity to sow and plant, especially as the years go by and are not the same. Moreover, a very generous crop one year may be much less productive the following year. It’s the vagaries of gardening! My advice: diversify your crops while taking into account the available surface. To do this, drawing up a quick diagram can be useful!
Remember that many vegetables can also be cooked on a grill or smoker in most cases and that this will give you an extra option to provide your family with some healthy food.