Growing your own vegetables is a great way for you to enjoy fresh, pesticide-free and nutritious greens minus the grocery expenses. If you have enough space in your garden and if you can commit a regular period for garden care and maintenance everyday, preparing a vegetable garden bed is one of the best investments you can make. The next time your recipe calls for some greens, you can just go to your garden and pick the freshest ingredients ever.
- Determine the location. Most if not all vegetables require abundant sunlight in order for them to grow properly. Observe how much sunlight your garden receives. It’s best to choose a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight, and which are unobstructed by shade from trees or other structures. You might also want to put up fences around your garden bed to protect your produce from the wind.
- Prepare the soil. It’s great if the soil is already rich and the loan soft. If not, you will have to till the soil by using a hand tiller or a motorized tiller until the soil is soft. At the same time, apply chicken manure or cow manure to feed the required nutrients to the soil. Do this at least one month before you actually plant the vegetables.
- Apply fertilizer. Fertilizer will also be needed while the vegetables are growing. The fertilizer requirements will depend on the type of vegetable that you will plant. Find out the specific nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium ratio that the vegetable needs. For example, tomatoes require a fertilizer ratio of 5-10-5. You could use granulated or solid fertilizers and add them about three inches away from the stems of your vegetables.
- Choose the vegetables that you will grow. If you’re an amateur vegetable grower, it’s best that you choose vegetables that are very easy to grow and which have minimum care requirements. Ask for tips from local vegetable growers and farmers as to what vegetables are best grown in your geographical region and climate type.
- Use natural pesticides. Pesticides may be beneficial to keep pests away from your garden, but most of the time, they do more harm than good. To stay safe, opt for natural pesticides. Some examples include ladybugs and birds, which thrive on aphids and other unwanted insects. You could also cover your crop with a light barrier or netting, or simply handpick insects out of your vegetables. There are also non-toxic organic pest control solutions, such as sprays made of garlic bulbs, chili peppers, vegetable oil and liquid detergent. This solution is effective at repelling harmful insects.
- Water your plants properly. The best time of day to water your plants is during the early morning, when the sun isn’t high enough to evaporate most of the water. Different vegetables have different water requirements, so research the amount of water that your vegetables specifically need. Generally, your vegetable garden needs five to six inches of water, and the soil must be thoroughly soaked. You may need to water your soil a little less if your soil is clayey and loamy, and more if your soil is dry and sandy.
Preparing a vegetable garden bed does entail a lot of time and effort on your part, but the benefits are truly worth it. Good luck!