Starting a Vegetable Garden–How to Make Sure You Don’t Give Up
Article by Art Turner
Taking up vegetable gardening for fun has a number of benefits. Many people find that the physical act of working in the soil is a super way to unwind. Others have discovered the unrivalled taste of home-grown, fresh-picked vegetables. Still others are looking for ways to trim down their personal carbon footprint–vegetable gardening makes eating locally much easier.
These home vegetable gardeners share something else: they are intimately familiar with the origin of their food. Between food recalls and e coli scares, having control over your own food supply adds an extra bit of security. Regardless of your priorities, home vegetable gardening is remarkably rewarding.
Earning extra money with your vegetable garden is a snap. It’s a simple matter to grow a lot more than you can consume and preserve, so you’ll have surplus to sell at a farmer’s market or from your own roadside stand. There’s a good chance that local restaurants and health food shops would be interested in purchasing your bounty.
The size of your vegetable garden is one of the very first decisions to be made. How much space can you commit to the project, and how much work can you reasonably expect to do? When you’re doing this initial “gardening in your head” exercise, make plans to purchase lots of different vegetables in a complete range of varieties. If you haven’t grown vegetables before, you may be surprised at the amount of work needed. Don’t plan more than you can handle at the beginning.
Listing all the vegetables you may want to cultivate is a excellent way to get started. At this point you can consider anything you like. This is vegetable brainstorming and all ideas are welcomed. Later on there will be enough time to figure out what you can afford and what you have time to care for. Give your mind free reign to create the vegetable garden of your dreams. But don’t just imagine it. Make sure you actually put something down on paper.
After you’ve finished listing the possibilities, start narrowing them down. Think about what you can buy locally at a good price. There’s little benefit to growing vegetables that are for sale locally. You probably can’t improve much over the taste or lower the cost by growing them yourself.
As a result of this process, you’ll have a list of vegetables that will either cost much less or taste much better from your garden compared to the grocery. Herbs are an prime example of edible plants on which you can nearly always save money by growing them yourself.
Tomatoes are another popular choice for growing at home. It’s simply not possible to purchase a tomato from a store that tastes as good as one freshly picked from your own vine. While we’re in the salad section, specialty lettuce is another good choice. When you grow fancy lettuce at home, you can eat it all you want without thinking about the cost.
There’s no way to avoid the fact that vegetable gardens involve some hard work. You may consider manual labor to be a relaxing activity. But sometimes it’s just back-breaking work in severe summer heat. In case you hadn’t thought it through, there will be dirt and bugs involved.
As long as you don’t make your garden too big, you probably will never regret getting into vegetable gardening. Committing to a project beyond your ability is a sure way to fail. And gardens don’t delay for you to be ready to work. Things need to be done when they need to be done. Don’t take these cautions the wrong way, just narrow your list of vegetables down to something you know you can manage.
Here’s another bit of advice–planting something you don’t like to eat is just silly. Don’t get carried away by photos in the seed catalog; listen to your personal preferences instead. Avoid planting too much unless you plan to sell or give away the excess.
Vegetable gardening can be a restful, rewarding activity. It will provide you with nutritious foods that taste better than store-bought produce. Realistic planning and an analysis of what’s available locally will guarantee that your vegetable garden will be a positive experience and become an annual tradition.
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