request info email to friend
Starting a Vegetable and Herb Garden
Growing your own vegetables and herbs provides many advantages, starting with saving money. Even when you consider the cost of the seeds or plants, dirt, etc., you almost certainly will come out ahead. And, as an added bonus, your produce certainly will be fresher and probably will be more flavorful than any you buy in a store.
Plus, there is the fun of digging in the dirt, caring for plants and then enjoying the rewards of your labor. Kids especially seem to enjoy it, and it gives them a better idea of where food comes from.
Starting a vegetable and herb garden is not rocket science, but it does take planning. For example:
What kind of garden do you want? You can get a tiller and dig up a significant part of your lawn, of course. But if you want to start with something a little less dramatic, you can create a few raised beds or even plant in containers on your deck or patio.
Where should you locate the garden? The most important things to consider are sunlight and drainage. Most vegetables and herbs require at least six hours of direct sun daily. You also should locate your garden where there is good drainage. If the soil does not drain well, the plants will not grow well and might be more susceptible to various pests and diseases. On the other hand, you will have to water your plants if Mother Nature does not cooperate, so don’t locate your garden too far from your water source.
What kind of soil do you have? If you are digging up your existing soil, you should determine if it needs anything added to it to maximize your harvest. You can take a soil sample to your local county extension office or probably to a local nursery for testing and advice on anything you need to add. If you are going with raised beds or containers, buy soil that is specially formulated for that use.
What do you want to plant? This is the fun part. Obviously, choose veggies and herbs that your family likes. And pay attention to the amount of space and the expected harvest. For example, you will get more tomatoes than corn from the same amount of space. It also can be good to choose plants that are ready for harvest at different times, so you don’t have to wait too long to enjoy your efforts.
How will you plant? You can plant seeds directly into your garden, you can start seeds indoors and transplant seedlings, or you can buy plants. Read the directions for how far apart to plant; planting too close together can reduce your harvest and encourage disease. And as you plant, make sure that taller plants will not block the light from shorter ones.
Once your garden is planted, you should keep it adequately watered and free of weeds. Then, when your vegetables and herbs are ready, harvest and enjoy!