How to start a vegetable patch

Written by in Lifestyle

Tired of spending time and money on store-bought vegetables?

Most store-bought vegetables can’t match the freshness and flavour of homegrown. Not to mention, most grocery trips often cost you more time and money than you had initially intended to spend.

Growing your own vegetables and herbs are not only fun but also healthy and economical. For those who are looking to start their own veggie patch, here are a few steps when starting a patch from scratch (even if you don’t have a green thumb).

1. Size

For beginners, start small and gradually grow in time as you get more familiar with it. Despite being all pumped up about planting your own organics, maintaining a garden takes a lot of commitment in both time and effort.

Starting small also allows you to learn the gardening basics, understand the nature of the plants and get used to a gardening routine. An ideal patch size should be no more than the size of a tiny bedroom or a car.

To test the waters, start out with around 5 types of vegetables for easy management and add more to your collection as you start getting the hang of things.

2. Types of plant

Since you are growing for your own consumption and your family’s, the veggies that you plant should obviously be the veggies that are most liked by the family.

However, plant too much and you may end up with the headache of having to dispose of unused excess which just leads to wastage. It’s never recommended that you recklessly throw seeds on the soil but rather put in the effort of planting a set number of plants at a time.

Get a good idea of harvest times such as how all-time favourites like squash and tomatoes are available throughout the year.

3. Location

The location for your veggie patch affects the productivity and quality of the plants. It should be exposed to the sun for photosynthesis while away from strong winds.

A good idea is to position your vegetable patch from north to south to allow maximum sun exposure. You will have to be careful when doing so as not all plants love the sun so you will need to do some research about each plant beforehand. Some herbs such as parsley, chives and leafy veggies such as kale, lettuce and spinach prefer slight shade.

4. Soil

Soil is where plants get all their nutrients from. A gardener’s nightmare is ending up with nutrient-deficient plants that look wilted and sad.

So, for the best harvest, start your growing process with nutrient-rich soil. You can examine the soil type yourself by observing its texture. Healthy soil that is dark and crumbly locks nutrients and drains well. If you are still unsure of the quality of the soil, you can get a veggie mix from your local nursery to add vital nutrients to the soil.

5. Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure and that is why you should start taking the necessary steps to ward off weeds and pests on the very first day of gardening. To discourage weed seedlings, lightly stir the top thin layer of soil or add a layer of mulch instead.

Non-toxic insecticidal soap sprays are the most popular to combat destructive insects. As for fungal diseases, the trick is to have dry leaves by nightfall. Water the soil and not the leaves early in the morning to reduce the chances of fungal diseases.