Now, before you get planting your veggie garden, there are a number of basics that you need to know first – from soil preparation and planting, to seasons, weather, and watering habits. We’ll start from the very top and offer a few nifty tips along the way!
Prepare Your Soil
Firstly, you need to decide where you would like to place your veggie garden. Take a walk around your garden, look for a nice spot that has both shade and sunlight (depending on your plants' needs). Once you have found the perfect location, mark off where you want your beds to be.
Now it’s time to prepare your soil and pack it full of nutrients! This is a very important step, so keep reading. Dig out about 25cm of soil and put it aside (this is your topsoil), then dig out another 25cm of soil and keep it in a separate, second pile. Now, fill in the hole with organic material - such as manure, some dry leaves, cut grass, bone meal, wood chips, hay, etc. - and water it. Once that is done, you can replace the second batch of soil over the organic layer, then put the topsoil on top. To add more nutrients to the soil to feed your plants, top the soil with a thick layer of compost then rake it all neatly. And that’s the soil done!
Tip: For anything to grow, you need to have good quality soil that drains well. Too much water can drown your plants. To find out if you have the right soil, dig a 50cm hole, get the hosepipe and fill it with water. If there is still water at the bottom of the hole after about half an hour, then you have bad drainage. You can make the soil's drainage better by digging further into the hole and covering the bottom with some gravel and some soil.
What To Plant, When?
With the soil prepared, you now need to decide what you would love to plant in your veggie garden. You can plant whatever you like, just make sure you plant them in the right season or else they will not take. A good time to start planting a number of different vegetables is in the second half of the year, around about July and August. And, if you are feeling a little nervous about starting your own veggie garden and just want to get a feel for it first then plant easy-growing plants, such as green beans, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, peas and onions. Once you have those down, you can try your hand at other veggies!
Tip: When it comes to planting seeds, be sure to plant seeds at least three times its width into the ground. Also, to protect your plants and growing veggies from birds and rodents, place a chicken wire “cage” around your beds.
Watering Your Veggie Garden
To keep your veggie garden alive, you will definitely need to water it! Give it a good watering at least twice a week, or even three times a week if the weather has been extremely hot or if your soil is overly dry. If your plants wilt, then you may need to water them more often. Just be sure not to over-water your plants as you can end up drowning and killing them.
Tip: Soil must always feel damp, and if this is not, then put mulch over the soil. It will help stop moisture from evaporating.
What About The Pesky Bugs?
Along with the hobby of maintaining a veggie garden, is the problem of having pesky little critters destroying and damaging your plants! There are several options you can use in order to keep your plants healthy and bug-free. It’s a little more expensive but you can use organic insecticides and set up snail traps to keep the slimy creatures out.
Tip: You don't need to splurge on insecticides, there are many homemade alternatives that you can whip up yourself.
Feed Your Plants
When picking out fertiliser, your best bet is organic. But if you are looking to keep this hobby on a low budget, then you can easily just make your own fertiliser at home. All you will need is a plastic bag filled with manure. Fill an old dustbin or bucket with water, then place the bag in the water to soak and stew for about two weeks. After the two weeks, take the bag out of the water and store the fluid in the dustbin. When you need to fertilise your plants, use some of this fluid diluted with some water. It's that simple.
And now that you have all the tips and knowledge that you need, you can start growing your very own veggie garden! If you have any other tips or advice for fellow green thumbs, comment below! Happy gardening!