Edible gardens are all the rage right now, as more and more people realize the health benefits of consuming fresh, organic and non-GMO vegetables. But, as with anything, it’s important to plan it properly if you’re to yield a favorable harvest.
Here are some tips to help you get started with your own vegetable garden or revive an existing one!
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. – Lao Tzu
One of the most important things to consider when planning a vegetable garden is to make sure that it’s well-positioned.
It doesn’t matter if you’re using planter boxes of raised beds, your seedlings must be located in a spot that allows them to thrive. Here are some tips to choose the best spot:
The direction of your vegetable garden largely depends on your location. For instance, south-facing yards in the Northern Hemisphere tend to enjoy sunlight more than north-facing gardens. Midday sunlight hits west-facing gardens the most, and this isn’t the best environment for lettuce and other tender greens.
Eastern-facing vegetables will only get access to a little bit of morning light and this isn’t enough for tomatoes and other sun-loving vegetables. Consider nearby structures and buildings that might block light and take them into consideration when planting your garden.
It’s worth noting that the amount of sunlight generated in a usually sunny climate might be too harsh during the summer months. On the other hand, gardens in the Pacific Northwest and familiarly rainy environments can struggle to get adequate light.
For the best results, just look for a spot in your yard that gets the most sunlight during the day and position your vegetable garden there.
Choose the Right Crops
Make the most of a stationary garden by selecting your crops carefully. For instance, tender greens like lettuce and spinach thrive in areas with partial shade and they don’t like a lot of harsh sunlight.
No amount of perfect positioning can substitute for good soil.
Check if your location is flat or has any slopes. Low-lying slopes can really come in handy in dry climates because they’ll allow your plants to retain rainwater for longer.
A south-facing slope is recommended for gardens located in shaded or wet areas in order to maximize sun exposure and drainage. However, if you’re using raised beds, then you should keep them level at all times and practice garden edging.
What is Your Capacity?
It can be tempting to plant an entire acre of vegetables because you have that amount of space at your disposal. But, it’s advisable to start small since gardening is no piece of cake.
This can be a very demanding and time-consuming activity if you make it big. It’s best to approach it as an ongoing project that starts out small and grows according to milestones that you reach along the way.
Consider Your Lifestyle
A container garden is a semi-permanent commitment that’s perfect for the busy professional or frequent traveler that wants to dabble in a bit of edible gardening.
If you opt for a backyard garden, you may also want to invest in a timed irrigation system that waters your garden automatically when you’re not around.
Make a Plan
Not everyone has the same goal for their edible garden. Perhaps you’re an avid home cook who wants to harvest herbs and vegetables from your garden instead of buying ingredients all the time.
Or, maybe you’re a casual gardener who wants a few herbs at your disposal while cooking. Either way, you should plan accordingly and not go overboard.
What Will You Plant?
The next step is to select the plants that you’d like to start with. If the variety of options is too confusing, consider starting with sturdy, common and low-maintenance vegetables that are compatible with most types of soil. Most landscaping companies have an edible garden specialist that might be able to help you choose the best plants for your garden.
The real planning starts when you pick your plants, the location and time at which you’ll plant them. For the best results, it’s best to come up with a streamlined plan that’s easy to follow. It will consist of space blocks for each plant based on its needs. Remember that some plants require more space than others.
If you’re using raised beds, then you should use nails and strings to organize each bed. This method is called square-foot gardening and it’s a great way to plant and maintain salad greens over a short two-week period or so.
Plant rotation is essential to avoid nutrient deficiencies and soil-based plant diseases over time. This means you should never plant a similar or the same plant in the same spot each year, as plant diversity is the key to healthy and nutritious produce.
Want to start your own edible garden? Contact a local landscaping company to help you with the process!