Monday, 21 May 2012

How to start your own vegetable garden

Often we hear: "oh, how I would like to grow my own fruits and vegetables, but I do not know how and where to start." For those, we would like to give a simple step-by-step outline and tips to start your own vegetable garden.
As for all first times: don't make it too complex or too big. You will loose your overview. And especially with growing plants, this can be discouraging.

February would be an adequate time to begin with the following steps:
Step 1. Firstly, think of the vegetables you like to eat, and which plants would you like to grow? Don't take crops that are too exotic for the climate. Also, don't buy too many (different) seeds for the first time. We would recommended (for a temperate climate): radish, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, onions, leek, pumpkins and zuchinni. These are relatively easy to grow.

Step 2. It is important that you make a plan before you just throw in the seeds. If you buy seeds in packages, there is a calender at the back which tells you when to sow and when the crops are ready to be harvested. If not, there well be tons of sowing calenders for your climate on the internet. 
Decide if you want to breed the seeds earlier indoors, or you want to place them immediately in the soil. If your garden is also inhabited by rabbits, or if the garden is not immediately near your house, we recommend that you sprout the seeds in little pots in your window sill. Here you are able to keep a close eye on the seeds and water them if needed.

Step 3. Place the seed packages before you and make a list including the following: vegetable name; the planting season(s) (indoors and outdoors); followed by the harvesting season. Also include other notes from the package, for example the space that is needed between the plants. Next to that, make a little drawing of which plants you place where in the (square) vegetable garden. Then write in your diary, or make a note on your phone, when you have to sow the particular vegetables.

Step 4. Then it is time to prepare the soil. Choose a sunny spot and set out a few square meters. If the soil is very sandy: add a little dark/black soil. If the earth is very though and moist: add a little sand. Remove weeds and dig the soil a spade length deep. Make sure the soil is mixed well (so that the upper part is mixed well with deeper soil). You can also mix in some dung or compost.

Step 5. When it is time to sow the seeds, make little holes in the ground. Just place the seeds a few centimeters under the ground (approximately one time the size of the seed; so the bigger the seed, the deeper it goes) and cover them with earth. You can place a name tag with it, or separate the beds with sticks. Make sure the seeds have plenty of water. 

Now there is only a little watering and weeding needed. It is worth the work and patience to see your food growing! 

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