For some time now there has been a renewed interest in gardening. In urban areas as in the countryside, flowering plants and vegetables of all kinds give a new dimension to gardens, balconies and terraces. Gardening today is a real Art of living. It offers great satisfaction and is among the many activities beneficial to physical and mental health. It would therefore be a shame to do without it, if only for the pleasure of working in the great outdoors. To help beginners who are reluctant to take their first steps, here are 6 tips to start your vegetable garden well.
1 – Observe your terrain
Beginners cannot be advised enough not to jump headlong into the creation of a vegetable garden without having previously taken sufficient time to observe, note and reflect. A site must first of all be understood in order to be able to be arranged as judiciously as possible. The information statement must therefore include:
- The position of the house, the neighboring buildings, as well as those of the openings overlooking the land,
- The establishment of trees and shrubs, whether isolated, in groups or whether it is a hedge, as well as that of other plants (roses, hydrangeas, cannas, etc.),
- The passage of cables underground and various pipes,
- The positioning of electric and telephone wires in the air if they pass over the ground,
- The shadowy zones brought by a fence wall, a building, trees, at every hour of the day, as well as the zones of full sunshine.
After such inventory, it will be much easier to find theprivileged location of the vegetable garden to meet the needs of the plantations. This can also be useful if you want to spend time there away from the gaze of neighbors or if you want to be able to admire it from the house.
The time for reflection is long. Ideally, the study of the land takes at least one year since each season the shading and sunshine zones vary somewhat, and their duration as well. We also learn to detect areas that remain wet long after heavy rains or those on the contrary which are always very dry … It is very instructive for good. organize your garden afterwards.
2 – Choose the ideal location for your vegetable garden
A vegetable garden should be placed at a strategic place for crops to thrive. After taking the time to observe your land, you should preferably choose an area of the garden:
- Oriented south / southwest so that the plantations benefit from a maximum of sunshine which favors early harvests,
- Sheltered from the prevailing winds,
- Away from trees that provide too much shade and risk being in competition with vegetable plants,
- At least 2.50 m from a fence wall and much further from a house that casts its shadow far,
- Preferably flat enough rather than on a steep slope or in a basin so that rainwater and irrigation water does not stagnate there,
- Easy to access in all weathers,
- Near a water point to make watering easier.
To place your vegetable garden in the best possible place, it is therefore essential to know which area of the land is the most sunny and most sheltered from strong winds while still benefiting from a sufficient ventilation because a too confined location is not beneficial to the plants.
Even if it is not desirable for the vegetable garden to be completely under perpetual shade, it may be desirable that part of it be half-shaded at the hottest hours of the day because some vegetables do not like the scorching sun as is the case with lettuce for example. This is why once we have found the best place to cultivate, we draw up a map of the vegetable garden on paper.
3 – Develop a plan of the vegetable garden
A tape measure, a pencil, a notepad and let’s go! the diagram must indicate:
- The dimensions of the plot to cultivate,
- Its shape,
- The central (main) path, if possible grassed, 80 cm wide because it must be accessible to the tiller and the wheelbarrow,
- Trails 30 to 40 cm wide allowing easy access to the various vegetable beds, both for their maintenance and for harvesting without having to trample the plantations. If they are paved, these small paths remain passable in bad weather.
- The location of the humus pile.
When planning your garden, practicality and comfort are also important criteria.
The plot must then be divided into different areas of 1 m², knowing that we can grow vegetables and aromatics in planks, rows or squares. When drawing the plan of the vegetable garden, it is important to take into account the following points:
- The species to be cultivated in the most suitable location (full sun, partial shade, shade),
- The number of plants per square meter as well as the yield depending on the cultivated species, for example on 1 m²:
- 3 tomatoes for 10 kg,
- 1 zucchini foot for 5 to 7 kg …
- A small location in a corner reserved for compost which will then be used to naturally fertilize the earth.
You can reserve a small plot, slightly sloping and facing south if you wish to carry out later early sowing that must be protected by a tunnel or one frame. But that requires having enough space.
4 – Identify the soil in your vegetable garden and prepare it
Vegetable garden plants, like all other plants, must be able to benefit from suitable growing conditions in terms of exposure but also of soil quality. All vegetables do not tolerate poor soil, or too calcareous, a soil that is too acidic, or even too heavy … To be able to select the products to be cultivated, we therefore learn to know the soil of your garden then we work this land so that it is ready to receive sowing and planting.
On virgin land, that is to say one that has never been cultivated, it is necessary to use the spade or, better, the tiller in order to unpack andloosen. This is essential for allowing young plants and seeds to take root easily and more generally for all crops to thrive.
Good topsoil should be fine on the surface and cabinet 30 to 40 cm deep, but also free of stones, plant debris and weed roots. Finally, you should know that good plowing allowsaerate the earth intended for cultivation. We take advantage of the plowing to make a add compost well decomposed.
Plowing can be done in autumn. But at this time of year, many local herbs have already gone to seed. Burying them in the ground risks promoting their proliferation. Better to tear them off first. On the other hand, if the plowing takes place In early spring, weeds can be buried without risk provided that care has been taken to remove their roots at the same time as the stones.
5 – Delimit a small plot intended for cultivation
No need to have eyes bigger than your stomach. If we wish start a vegetable garden, it is more reasonable to be satisfied with a small surface, knowing that 50 m² perfectly exploited over the seasons can feed a person for 1 year. This advice is especially valid for novice gardeners who are still working and have little free time to take care of their vegetable garden. Seniors can start with a larger garden, without going overboard so as not to become slaves to it. We therefore try to assess the family needs that cultures are capable of filling.
It is more than sufficient to start with a vegetable garden of a hundred square meters. This allows you to get your hands on without risking being overwhelmed by events. It is indeed necessary to learn to sow, transplant, plant, fertilize, to manage the waterings according to the cultivated species, the season, the weather conditions. It is also necessary to be able to treat in case of parasites or disease and to be there at the right time in order to harvest because the goal is to be able to taste the garden products when they are ripe. On a plot of 100 m² it is also possible to trace the paths and install a small greenhouse or a shed.
6 – grow easy-going vegetables
Nothing is more encouraging to a novice gardener than to harvest your first vegetables. So we start with select the easiest to grow to have fun, for example:
- Cherry tomato,
- The lettuce,
- The radish,
- The carrot,
- The courgette,
- The row bean,
- The pepper.
We don’t forget the precious ones aromatic herbs and the condiments but also some edible flowers that make the taste buds sing, such as:
- The Basilic,
- True laurel or laurel-sauce,
When buying his seeds to sow or his seedlings in pots, it is essential to learn about their needs in order to group them together in the same area of the garden. There is little risk of making a mistake when we take care to group plants by family because their behavior and their needs are quite similar. Finally, it is useful to learn to practice the crop rotation in order not to exhaust the soil, to minimize the risk of diseases in the garden and attacks of pests harmful to plants.
After tasting his first harvests, the novice gardener will not only be proud of the work accomplished, but also encouraged to continue his fun activity and it’s a safe bet that the plot reserved for the vegetable garden will quickly grow.