Why Plant a Garden with Vegetables
Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money. A $2 tomato plant can easily provide you with 10 pounds of fruit over the course of a season. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed the best grocery store produce. Growing vegetables can be fun. It’s a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun. Planting a garden that includes vegetables and flowers means you’ve combined natural companions, and that can turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape feature.
When planting a garden with vegetables, it’s best to start small. First, take a look at how much your family will eat. Keep in mind that vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash keep providing throughout the season so you may not need many plants to serve your needs. Other vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and corn, produce only once so you may need to plant more of these.
Many gardeners like to have their vegetable gardens close to the house. This makes it easier to harvest fresh produce while you’re cooking. No matter how big your vegetable garden is, there are three basic requirements for success:
- Full sun. Most vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of direct sun. If they don’t get enough light, they won’t bear as much and they’ll be more susceptible to attack from insects or diseases. Here’s a hint: If you don’t have a spot in full sun to plant a garden with vegetables, you can still grow many leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach. And if you’re in a hot summer climate, cool-season varieties such as peas may do better in part shade.
- Plenty of water. Because most vegetables aren’t very drought tolerant, you’ll need to give them a drink during dry spells. When thinking about how to plan a vegetable garden, remember: The closer your garden is to a source of water, the easier it will be for you.
- Good soil. As with any kind of garden, success usually starts with the soil. Most vegetables do best in moist, well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter (such as compost or peat moss).