Environmentally Friendly Ways to Begin a Vegetable Garden

Starting a vegetable garden has many advantages. Vegetable gardening is an environmentally friendly way to reduce your grocery bill, get some exercise and have fresh produce.

Choosing the Site

To choose the best garden site, watch your yard for a few days. Sketch out the morning, afternoon and evening shadows. Note which places get sun, for how many hours and at what time a day.

For example, a patch of yard that receives six hours of sun would be great for tomatoes. Other sun-loving plants are squash, eggplants and rosemary.

Some vegetables tolerate significant shade. Lettuces, kale, chard, parsley and mint can grow well in only three to four hours of direct sunlight.

Selecting Materials

lanning reduces waste, eliminates mistakes and saves money. After selecting your site, draw out what you want your garden to look like. Then you will know what materials you need to buy.

Many personal ad websites have farm and garden sections. People list tools, pots, extra soil and surplus lumber that they are either selling or giving away. It’s a great opportunity to reuse materials and not contribute to waste.

Buying soil and mulch from a reputable plant nursery is essential for the health of your plants. Buying in bulk will save you hundreds of dollars over purchasing soil bags from a big-box retailer. Not to mention you’ll reduce trash from countless plastic bags!

Plant Varietals

Heading to the nursery to buy seeds and plants is one of the most exciting parts of gardening. There are a few things to consider when making your purchases.

First, plant what you’ll eat! If you hate broccoli, don’t plant it.

The most cost-effective vegetables are lettuces and herbs. A packet of seed is more than enough for a year of salads. A well-tended pot of rosemary can live for years.

Consider climate and season when purchasing your plants.

Spring: artichokes, carrots, chives, cilantro, leeks, lettuce, mint, peas

Summer: basil, eggplants, melons, oregano, rosemary, squash, tomatoes,

Autumn and Mild Winters: broccoli, collard greens, chard, kale, parsley, turnips

Ask for guidance! The staff of a local nursery can ensure that the plants you purchase will do well in your particular climate.

Planting and Tending

For seedlings in pots, moisten the area where you’re planting. Then dig a hole deep enough to cover the plant’s roots. Gently loosen the plant from the pot and place it in the hole. Cover with soil, then water. That’s it!

Using seeds requires planning ahead. Read the package directions first. Some vegetables, like eggplants, require being started inside six weeks before you intend to plant them. Others, like carrots and turnips, are directly sowed into the soil.

Vegetables like about an inch of water a week. An easy way to check is to insert your finger into the soil. It’s time to water if the top inch is dry.

There are a few garden amendments that ensure vital vegetables. Adding mulch to your topsoil regulates plant temperatures and helps retain moisture. Compost feeds plants to ensure a bountiful harvest.

There’s nothing quiet like harvesting your own sun-ripened tomatoes or fragrant basil. A little planning and work can ensure that even a beginning gardener can have a bountiful harvest.


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