Are you ready to start a garden? Starting a garden can seem overwhelming if it's a new venture for you. We are breaking down the steps to take before you plant vegetables and herbs this year.
Before spending the time and effort to start a garden, however, it's important to think about the time and effort put into selecting, planting, maintaining, and harvesting. Often times, it's easy to get overly excited and put the cart before the horse so to speak and get overwhelmed with your garden.
We are outlining the steps you should take into consideration when starting a garden.
What Is Your Goal In Planting A Garden?
Are you looking to save money? Then plant the vegetables that have high prices in the store, like tomatoes, peppers and summer squash for example.
Do you want to enjoy food that is homegrown, organic or with little to no chemicals, then planting your own garden can give you this assurance.
How much space do you have?
Where you plant your garden is really very critical. You will need to think about the following:
How much square footage are you working with?
How many hours of direct sunlight a day does this area get? Your plants will need at least 5-6 hours of sunlight a day.
Is my space easily accessible to water and for you to get in and out of to harvest, weed and tend to your plants.
If this is your first time gardening, you may want to start small.
Think about what foods your family enjoys
It's important to be realistic about what your family will eat. While yes, some vegetables are just plain fun to grow, if no one wants to eat it, there is no sense in wasting time and energy to prepare the soil and plant it.
Only plant items you know for certain you and your family will eat or that you will have time to preserve.
Do some research to see what grows best in your gardening zone.
What Are Your Eating Preferences?
Before planting, think about how you would like to use your vegetables. For example, there are many different varieties of tomatoes, all with different uses.
Do you like to enjoy tomatoes in your salad? If so, cherry tomatoes are the type to plant. Do you only like tomatoes on a sandwich? Then a variety such as Beefsteak may be the way to go. If your goal is to make spaghetti sauce or ketchup, then a variety such as Roma may be a better option.
How Much Time Can You Devote To A Garden?
Depending on what you plant and how much, the time commitment needed for a garden can be tremendous. Do you have time to plant seeds indoors in February or March, or would you be better served to buy seedlings and planting them directly into the garden in April or May?
How much time do you have to prepare a garden plot? If you have limited time to prepare a full-size garden, consider planting only lettuce, spinach, or peppers, which can be grown in a container placed on a porch.
Do you have time to do daily activities such as watering, weeding and harvesting? If time is limited for these types of garden activities, consider planting vegetables that have a high yield from only a few plants.
What Is The Yield?
After deciding what vegetables you and your family will eat, how much space you have available, and how much time you have to devote to tending a garden, next consider the yield. Some items, such as tomatoes, have a medium yield compared to the square footage needed to grow them. Corn has a low yield.
You should also be thinking about this when you determine how many seedlings you would like to plant.
When Is Harvest Time?
Many vegetables are ready for harvest in August and September. Are you usually busy with family activities at this time with things like vacations or back to school?
If your goal is to enjoy your harvest on your dinner table with your family then that is great. However, think about the time you will need to put aside for canning and preserving if you that will be necessary.
After you think about and answer these questions, get started planning that garden! A little planning goes a long way, allowing you to be stress free throughout the gardening season. But regardless, planting a vegetable garden is so rewarding!