starting a vegetable garden


  • Start small. If you’re new to growing your own food perhaps start with a few pots of your favourite herbs. Or if you’re feeling a little more game then plan out  a small one metre square patch. Scour flea markets and second shops for vessels that could be transformed into a veggie garden fit for a king. There are so many ways to embrace fruit and vegetable gardening and be frugal.
  • Watch the sun. Keep an eye on your yard over the course of a day to determine where the sweet spot is. Vegetables need a good 6 hours of sunlight a day to really thrive.
  • Soil, soil, soil. The food you pull from the earth will only be as good as soil you planted them in. Invest in some good quality organic soil and compost to get you started and keep it nourished with your own compost, worm castings and animal manure. It heartens me greatly to see bags of “pony poo” lined up against front gates ready for keen gardeners.
  • Get up close and personal with the soil and test the moisture before you water. By simply plunging your finger into the earth you can deem whether your veggies need a drink. Does the soil feel moist and cling to your finger? Then leave it a day or two more. Does the soil feel dry? Fill up that watering can and give them a good soaking. Aim to give them a thorough drink in the mornings so they can use the refreshment as the day warms up.
  • Choose heirloom varieties when purchasing seeds and seedlings. In a nutshell, heirloom seeds will produce seeds that can be saved for your next year’s planting whereas regular seeds can not. If you embrace saving your seeds you can effectively buy seeds or plants once and then never again! It’s all about the intricate world of pollination and best saved for a story all of its own.
  • Ask questions. Have you ever admired the robust rainbow chard growing in the front yard down the road? Act with gumption and knock on that person’s door (it may be a terrible assumption but I believe that vegetable growers simply have to be good people). So much of the joy that comes from growing your own food is the community that comes with it. There will always be someone out there that has an answer to your “sooty tomato leaves” question.
  • Most importantly, grow what you like to eat. Yes, bok choi can create an overnight jungle, but if no one in your home can stomach it, then all that effort you’ve invested will only be reaped by your compost heap. Plant vegetables that will excite you and those that will be revered at your dinner table when the time comes to harvest.

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