Growing a Vegetable Garden in Your Backyard
What could be more rewarding and fun than growing your own vegetables? To get started, all you really need is a few plants and some decent soil. But if you want to become a very successful organic vegetable gardener, it is important to understand what your plants need to stay vigorous and healthy. Here is a look at how you can be the best organic farmer and have the best vegetable patch in your backyard.
Make the Best use of Space
Your garden’s location (how much sunlight it receives, how well-protected it is from wind and frost, and how close it is to a water source) plays an important role. It is equally critical to make the best use of your garden space when you want to grow vegetables.
Many people dream of a sprawling vegetable garden where they can grow virtually anything they want, even crops that require large space like pumpkins, watermelons, winter squash, cucumbers, melons, dried beans, and corn. If you have the space, as well as the time and energy that you need to ensure a well-grown sizable garden, you should consider it for a variety of reasons. Also, if you are a beginner, you should press the button for raised beds since they are easier to manage.
Do Away with Rows
By choosing 3 or 4 ft raised beds instead of traditional rows, you can maximize the space in your garden. Single crop rows may be the most ideal on farms where large machines are used for planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops, but they may not be the best choice when it comes to backyard gardens. When you have a home-sized garden, when you have fewer rows, you will need fewer paths between rows. This will ultimately give you more square footage for growing vegetables and crops.
If you already have enough food growing in your row garden, you can downsize it by switching to open or raised beds. When you free up this existing space, you will find that you have a huge area to grow additional vegetables. Converting to an intensive garden system also means less soil compaction and less work for you.
Go the Trellising Route
Apart from intensive planting, trellising is another profound way to make use of garden space. If you have a small garden, more crops can be grown through the use of vertical supports. Pole beans, peas, and other vining crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers are outstanding vegetable choices to grow vertically in your garden.
You can also use the fence that surrounds your garden as a trellis, but keep in mind that you need to change the vegetables you grow on the fence every few years. Other types of supports for your vegetables are generally constructed from metal or wood. However, no matter what materials or design you choose, you should make sure that your trellis is up and in place well before the vegetables actually need support – preferably before they are even planted. With some vegetables, you may have to bind the plants to the supporting frame or carefully weave them through the trellis as they grow.
Keep Rotating Crops
It is important to rotate the crops in your garden. Crop rotation means planting the same vegetable in the same spot once every three years. This way, you make sure that the same vegetables do not deplete the same nutrients in the soil year after year. It also helps you to get rid of disease pathogens or insect pests that may be lurking in the soil after you have harvested your crops.
One of the best practices of organic gardening is to rotate plant families every season. This ensures that related crops are not planted in the same spot for over 3 years. With crop rotation, you can maintain the right balance of nutrients, soil dwelling micro-organisms, and organic matter in your garden soil.
Make a plan of your garden during each growing season by marking the location of all the crops you sow. If you grow many different vegetables, having these garden plans can be very beneficial since it allows you to find out what and where you planted.
It is a magnificent idea to keep a garden journal or notebook so that you can keep records of everything in your garden. From a list of vegetables that you grow to which ones failed and which ones succeeded to what caused those successes or failures, you can keep track of everything that pertains to your garden. This is a judicious way to remember which vegetables grow best in your garden.
It is not difficult to keep your vegetable garden thriving and luscious. You can enjoy fresh vegetables that you have personally grown, and you can be sure that your meals will be even more enjoyable. You will experience a real sense of pride knowing that you grow your own vegetables right in your backyard and they are growing beautifully year after year.