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Looking to save some money and start harvesting your produce right from your own backyard vegetable garden? But the end results are well worth the time and effort. For example, depending on the size of your family and your current vegetable garden layout, you may need to add more planting real estate to accommodate the crops you intend to grow. Generally speaking, square feet of garden space per person will allow for a harvest that feeds everyone year-round. If your family is larger or smaller , scale up or down as needed. Also, keep in mind that some crops take up more space than others.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to Build Raised Beds: Everyone Can Grow A Garden (2019) #8Content:
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- The Pros and Cons of Square Foot Gardening
- The 6 most cost-effective vegetables to grow in your garden
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- Planning a Garden
- Growing Vegetables in Small Spaces
- Vegetable Garden Size Calculator: How Much to Plant for Your Family
- 043-Raised Bed Gardening, Pt. 2: Perfect Soil Recipe
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Log In. There is a PDF version of this document for downloading and printing. Vegetable gardening is becoming more popular—both as a pastime and a food source. We experience satisfaction in planting a seed or transplant, watching it grow to maturity, and harvesting the fruits of our labors. In addition, vegetable gardening offers a good source of exercise, with the added benefits of healthy snacks and food for the table. Vegetable gardening consists of selecting a site, planning the garden, preparing the soil, choosing the seeds and plants, planting a crop, and nurturing the plants until they are ready for harvest.
The end result is fresh produce to eat, share, or sell. Anyone who is willing to invest some time every day or two to nurture the plants can grow a vegetable garden. With patience and practice, your skills will improve every year. Growing vegetables takes some space, but not necessarily acres.
Many vegetables can be grown in containers. For example, enough lettuce for a salad can be grown in a inch pot on the back deck. Add a few radishes and carrots, also grown in inch containers, for spice and sweetness, and you have a good start on a delicious salad. Success, however, takes more than just a place to grow the vegetables.
They need sunlight, water, air, soil, fertilizer, and care. Choose a convenient site in full sun with easy access to water and fertile, well-drained soil. Avoid areas near trees and large shrubs that will compete with the garden for sunlight, water, and nutrients. Most vegetables need at least eight hours of direct sunlight. Plants that we grow for their leaves—including leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, chard, and spinach—and plants that we grow for their storage roots such as radishes, turnips, and beets can be grown in as little as six hours of sunlight but do much better with eight hours or more.
Plants that we grow for their fruit, including tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers, need at least eight and do better with 10 hours of sunlight. Water is heavy and difficult to move, so locate the garden near a potable water supply, making it easy to water the garden properly. Dragging a hose hundreds of feet or carrying buckets of water across the yard every few days makes having a garden a lot more work.
On average, vegetables need one inch of water per week, and you need to provide only what is not supplied by rain. Water the soil, not the plant.
Many diseases are spread by water splashing on the leaves. Overwatering can also lead to insect and disease problems as well as washing nutrients away, converting a valuable garden resource into pollution in nearby streams. Gardening is not as easy as simply planting a seed or transplant and watching the plant grow.
Once a site is selected, there will be several other questions to consider in the planning phase. Container gardens. Many vegetables can be grown in containers that are deep enough to support their root systems.
Containers may range from as small as a inch flowerpot to a half whisky barrel. The bigger the container, the easier it is to be successful. The larger the mature plant, the larger the container needs to be.
Vegetables that do well in containers include beans, beets, carrots, collards, cucumbers, eggplants, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuces, mustard greens, peas, peppers, potatoes, spinach, squash, Swiss chard, and tomatoes.
Mix and match vegetables in one container for extended beauty and harvest. Containers require more frequent irrigation than gardens, especially as the plants grow and require more water. A drip irrigation system connected to a timer is a great addition to a container garden. Raised beds. A variety of materials can be used to construct raised beds, but do not use materials that might leach chemicals into the soil, such as old railroad ties. Soil in raised beds will heat up more quickly in the spring and stay warm longer into the fall.
Vegetables in raised beds will require more frequent irrigation than those in an in-ground garden. When planned and planted properly, one 4-foot by 8-foot raised bed may supply a good portion of the produce for one or two people. The addition of trellises provides vertical gardening and increases the space available to vining plants like cucumbers and beans. Use intensive gardening techniques to optimize use of the space.
Succession planting will also aid in maximizing the harvests from a raised bed in a small area. In-ground gardens. Larger areas allow gardeners to choose traditional row gardening or gardening in beds. While a row garden is easier to manage with a tractor for planting, harvesting, and other garden chores, planting in a bed makes better use of available space. Using beds allows for several rows to be planted closer together, shading weed seeds and preventing them from growing later in the season.
Beds may require a bit more labor to plant initially. But when planted correctly, beds can reduce the need for weeding later in the season. You can also incorporate vegetables in your ornamental beds. If you want more land, explore opportunities at a community garden. Whichever garden style is chosen, start small. Only plant the amount of space that you can manage joyfully. The garden should be fun and fascinating, not a chore to be dreaded and avoided.
Start small, improve the soil, manage the weeds, and expand the garden as your skills and interests grow. Grow what you like to eat. If space is limited, concentrate on vegetables that yield the greatest return for the effort, such as pole beans, tomatoes, root crops, and leafy greens. If you like to cook unusual foods, try vegetables that are difficult to find or expensive in the market—such as specialty lettuces or broccolini.
In North Carolina most vegetables are grown as annuals, but some biennials and perennials are also grown. Vegetables are grouped by when they grow:. Plant cool-season crops early and warm-season crops in late spring.
Use a cold frame or frost cloth to begin earlier in the season. Cool-season crops will bolt as the days lengthen and temperatures rise. Use shade cloth to protect plants and extend the season. Warm-season crops planted in late spring will grow until the first fall frosts.
In late summer, plant cool-season crops for fall. Cool-season crops established in late summer will continue to grow through moderate to freezing temperatures. Cold hardy crops such as kale, collards, and turnip greens planted in fall may live through the winter. In colder areas, use a cold frame or frost cloth to extend the season. For specific planting dates, consult your county Extension center. You can also use N. Scheduling when to plant and when to harvest can be done in several effective ways.
Writing the planting dates and projected harvest dates on a calendar is a method used by many gardeners and farmers. Another method is drawing a diagram of the garden and writing projected planting and harvesting dates on the garden diagram. Knowing when an area will be harvested helps with planning when to plant another crop in that space. Using this method of planning allows for a small space to be managed to its fullest potential.
If planting in rows, run them across the slope of the land to reduce erosion. If there is little or no slope, north to south orientation makes the best use of sunlight. Do not foster the buildup of insect and disease pests by growing the same types of plants in the same spot year after year. Instead, plan a three- to four-year crop rotation for each bed or garden area to prevent crops in the same plant family from being planted in the same space in succession Table 1.
Crop rotation reduces the likelihood of nematode, insect, or disease buildup in the soil. This method of planning works well when the garden consists of three or more raised beds or is large enough to be divided into three or more plots. Table 2 depicts a sample four-year crop rotation plan for a garden with four plots growing vegetables from four plant families. Having a garden plan makes it easier to decide what seeds or transplants to purchase, how many will be needed, and when they will be needed.
Things to record in the garden journal would include a list and map of what was planted, planting dates, varieties, source of plants, air and soil temperatures during the growing season, soil test results, fertilizers and pesticides applied, rainfall received, and amount and dates of harvest. Include photographs throughout the season. Containers : Purchase potting soil or make your own by combining equal parts of compost, shredded pine bark mulch, and vermiculite.
Do not use garden soil in container gardens. Raised beds or in-ground gardens : Amend your soil with organic material first either homemade compost or purchased certified compost. Then submit a soil sample to determine the pH and nutrient content of your soil. The N. Cooperative Extension center in your county can provide a soil test kit to have your soil analyzed and obtain specific recommendations for growing vegetables.
Amend the soil based on the recommendations from the soil analysis. Space plants according to the label on the seed packet or plant tag. Allow space for the plant to mature , and leave space for airflow between plants to prevent disease.
Plant seeds only two to three times as deep as the greatest diameter of the seed. Cover the seed and firm the soil lightly to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.
Would you do this project? How much is a raised garden? A raised garden bed that sits above the ground makes gardening easy. Elevate your garden bed and enjoy gardening more. You can grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables and work the soil while sitting on a ledge — a major plus for anyone with a bad back or not-so-bendable knees. And you can design and locate the raised garden bed where the growing conditions are best. They offer raised garden beds made of cedar, recycled plastic or composite material with a system of timbers that connect with anchor joints and screws.
What do I fill the containers and beds with? What are the best plants for an emergency.
As many of you already know, raised beds are ideal for growing edibles and flowers, too , and they are an attractive addition to the garden. We love the idea of using juniper to build the bed. Thanks for the great info, Kirsten! Juniper is a go-to gardening wood. Dunn Lumber carries rustic Juniper landscape timbers. The timbers are cut into rough dimensions. It made it all effortless. This is a simple project, but it does take a fair amount of elbow grease to get it done. Make sure you have plenty of batteries charged for your drill and impact driver.
Updated the introduction with new information, project scopes, and project costs. Updated the Flower Bed Price by Type section. New materials were added to the table and the subsections. Added the Cost to Redo Flower Beds section.
Is your garden bed a twin size versus a king?
They sure are look beautiful, but is this method — known as square foot gardening — effective? Find out what exactly it entails so you can decide if square foot gardening is right for you. Square foot gardening is a simple method of creating small, orderly, and highly productive kitchen gardens. It was invented by backyard gardener, retired engineer, and efficiency expert Mel Bartholomew as a better way to grow a vegetable garden , and it became a huge hit when he introduced the idea to the gardening public in in his book Square Foot Gardening. The basic concept: Create a small garden bed 4 feet by 4 feet or 4 feet by 8 feet are common sizes and divide it into a grid of 1-foot squares, which you manage individually.
In this podcast, we continue our discussion on raised bed gardening. In case you missed it: I had invited my email group to send me any questions they hoped I would answer on the topic of raised bed gardening. I received a huge response, many from folks who plan to start raised bed gardening for the first time this season. Last week, I covered benefits and drawback of raised bed gardening as well as site selection, layout planning, material selection, and site preparation. It was rich with information learned through my many years of raised bed garden experience also detailed last week and a lot of research. This podcast explores some recommendations for the bed construction, but especially, the construction of the soil. How level depends on the materials you are using. Concrete blocks, for instance, are pretty unforgiving in structural soundness on uneven surfaces.
Avoid planting your garden close to or beneath trees and shrubs because shade and the competition for nutrients and water may reduce vegetable.
Vegetable gardening is the most common type of food gardening NGAIn , the COVID pandemic generated a surge of interest in vegetable gardening with people confined at home and trying to be more self-sufficient YuBenefits of gardening are numerous, and motivations vary.
Growing your own food is a healthy way to save money and enjoy fresh produce at home. When done correctly, even the smallest backyard plot can produce copious amounts of fruits and vegetables and possibly even a significant saving to the grocery budget. However, it takes time and patience, and a small outlay of money to buy seeds, and tools, if you need them. The total bill for a do-it-yourself veggie plot will vary by type of plant grown, the number of plants purchased, and the length of a growing season in your home region. To calculate the true cost to start a garden and maintain it throughout the year, add together the following factors:.
Raised garden beds are a great way to both organize plot space and provide easy access for school and community gardens. To determine the dimensions of raised beds, consider three basic questions:.
Of course you don't have to get that philosophical when thinking about your raised bed garden. But the underlying message you're going to probably get tired of hearing about in this post is that good soil matters for a healthy, productive garden. For a garden of this size, you'll need 0. Or you can just get our magical custom blend Thriller Bed Filler and call it good. Bagged soil comes in various sizes from 16 quart, 1, 1. So you have to do a little math to divide your bag size into 21 cubic feet.
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