Love The Cottage Core Life? Here Are 5 Beginner Friendly Tips For Starting A Veggie Garden
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Hannah Yarrington. Find her on Instagram at @513hny. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With September already halfway done and temperatures beginning to lessen, the fall planting season is quickly approaching. People are beginning to plant their trees and prepare their gardens before the frost starts to set in. My mother actually has tried to start her own vegetable garden this spring, and we actually harvested many lovely tomatoes for pizza sauce and salsa recently.
Starting your own vegetable garden not only saves you money, but it is an enjoyable hobby to pick up and learn about! Before this summer, I knew next to nothing about plants, only a little bit about some house plants I had previously. But after working with my Aunt and Uncle at their garden center, I have learned so much about the plant world and how to keep your plants from dying before you can even enjoy them. So today, I’m going to teach you some beginner-friendly tips and tricks, as well as some veggie garden layout ideas to help you get started!
The first thing to take note of is what season you are currently in. Planting in the spring and fall is ideal, and growing in the summer can often lead to excessive heat and more pests. So, planting in spring and fall can give new plants more time to get established before the heat/cold
Another thing to think about is what zone you reside in. Plant hardiness zones essentially tell you what plants will thrive in the area that you live in and which ones will probably die. So, for example, if you live in a zone 3 or 4, you would want to plant vegetables that are more frost-resistant and do well in cold climates, like leafy greens and root veggies. And because of the cold, it’ll take a bit more planning when it comes to planting. But it isn’t as hard as you think it is, I promise. Basically, if you live in a cooler climate, it’s best to plant earlier in the late spring or early fall, but if you live in a hotter climate, plant early spring or late fall to avoid the heat. Make sure you also pay attention to what plants are supposed to be planted at what time, as not all veggies are the same!
Where to plant your plants
Another critical thing about planting vegetables is where you decide to produce them. Most vegetables like full sun, so it’s best to avoid shady areas. Also, note how tall each of your veggies gets as well. You’ll want to place your tall-growing vegetables, like tomatoes and lettuce, facing a spot that won’t shade your lower-growing plants.
As for veggie garden layout ideas, it’s best not to overthink it and start small. You don’t need to go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of plants all at once to begin your garden. Most people go for a rectangular shape, or it can even be fun to build your own raised bed if you’re handy with that sort of thing. I recommend planting your vegetables in rows so as not to get confused about where you planted what, also making it easier to space. Again, plant from big to small and space them according to how big the plant’s spread typically is, and try drawing out a rough sketch of how you want it to look.
When it comes to the soil, vegetables tend to like soils with good organic matter and compost, with aged bark fines to help retain moisture and give the plants lots of good nutrients. Make sure to dig up the dirt in the area you want to plant in and replace it with organic soil, and make sure you aren’t planting it directly in any red clay or sand. How deep you plant the veggie into the ground will depend on the size of the roots, but you don’t want to cover up a lot of the stem and plant it just above where the roots begin.
Watering is so important!! Depending on when you plant will affect how much you water. In the summertime, you will most likely need to water every day to avoid your plants from drying out. But you can also over-water in cooler temperatures; sometimes, wet foliage can lead to disease and pests. It’s all about finding that happy medium. So it’s good always to pay attention to the soil and how the plant is behaving.
When it comes to growing any sort of plant, especially food, dealing with pests is never fun and can ruin all your hard work. So, if you run into this problem, the best thing to do is to try to prevent the problem before it happens by taking good care of your plants with the tips I’ve listed above. But you can also use insecticides or sprays to kill any fungus or bugs attacking your plants. A few things to note when using pesticides are to use one specifically for edible vegetables, and you’ll want to spray them late in the day or at night to avoid killing pollinators. It’s ideal not to have to resort to sprays when it comes to plants that you eat.
What did you think about these tips and tricks? Do you have your own veggie garden layout ideas you love? Let us know!!