Are you interested in beginning the journey of your own backyard garden? If yes, then don't think too much, believe in yourself because positive thinking leads to positive outcomes. If you want to start a backyard garden for growing your own vegetables, you should do it. Don't let that whole useful place go to waste. Gardening has many advantages: it saves money, saves the nature and planet, grows fresh vegetables with interesting flavours.
There are 11 steps for beginners who have no idea where to start;
Selection of Site
The most important step is to choose the right site for a backyard garden.You need a place that gets plenty of sunlight daily, closer to a source of water, and shielded from frost and wind because many plants such as and cucumbers need shelter from the wind. If there are trees around your selected place, consider the spread of their roots, you may need to dig a barrier around your garden to block root incursions. You will also need to terrace the beds if the land is sloped because the beds should be at the same level or you will encounter problems with uneven water distribution and erosion.
Size of Garden
Considering the size of the garden and the types of vegetables you want to grow is also a must. If it is too small, there's usually not enough time or space for people to grow everything that they want or need. For beginners, raised beds are a good choice because they make the garden more manageable.
Before starting any gardening project, you need to get soil test done to get information such as the pH of the soil and the mineral levels. Dig down soil 12 to 18 inches from ground to remove rocks and roots. Soil should be dry before planting, aerated to promote root growth and worm activity; and non-clumpy. Clay soil is nutrient-rich and good for summer crops, but as this type of soil sits cold and wet in winter, you’ll need to build raised beds to extend your season which can help the soil warm up quicker. Rich, organic soil is not something you should purchase from the market, it is developed and nurtured year after year by using strategies such as crop rotation, green manures between crop rotations and the occasional applications of peat to reduce compaction and rock phosphate to ensure adequate phosphorus. If there is any environmental contamination present in your soil, send it to a professional lab, after tests, you'll know if your soil is hazardous for food gardening or not.
Clearing the Area
your garden area is neat and tidy by clearing perennial and annual weeds and leaves, get rid of the places where molluscs hide and dig the grass out. This is the key to successful vegetable growth. Don't put weeds on the compost heap, let them dry off on top off a bonfire and burn them because all plants weeds are in different direction and will always find their way back somewhere. Don't move earthworms out, they are a gardener's friend and a real benefit to your soil.
Make a garden layout of what will be planted and where, when and how. Choose your local adapted varieties because not all vegetable varieties grow well in all areas. Concern your local nursery or cooperative extension office about which varieties are best according to your location and climate conditions. Arrange proper spacing between rows, it is important to allow for growth of plants, ease of cultivation, and efficient use of space.
To dig up the land is an important part of preparing the land for growing vegetables and it is a time-consuming method which will help to reduce weed re-growth. The other important effects of digging is that it opens up the structure of the soil, allowing better drainage, root growth and nutrient availability and it also loosens the soil so roots can penetrate more easily.
Make sure the seeds, plant and equipment for planting are not contaminated. Sow seed at proper depth and space so that the seeds grow uniformly in a row. For seed sowing, hill or drill the seed. "Hill planting" is placing several seeds in one spot at definite intervals in the row and "Drilling," is the way most seeds are sown, i.e. spacing the seeds by hand or with a drill more or less evenly down the row. If you choose a vegetable plant from your local nursery, then try not to disturb the roots of the plant. Dig a hole for the plant and fill it with water. Place the plant in the hole, fill in around it and then gently firm it down with your fingers. Make sure you know how deep the plant should be as some need to be deeper than others. Maintain soil moisture with adequate water supply so that the plants do not dry out.
Fertilize your plants regularly for maintaining vigorous growth of vegetables. The main elements in a fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. People usually use a nitrogen fertilizer at least every 4 to 6 weeks. Avoid over-fertilizing because it can decrease the production of some vegetables especially tomatoes.
You need a mulch of some kind in your vegetable garden because it greatly enhances moisture retention, discourages weed and reduces temperature fluctuations in the soil, making your work a heck of a lot easier. There are many options for how mulching can be done, such as plastic sheeting (black, white, etc.), straw, landscape fabric, decayed leaves, wood chips, and even compost, to name some of the more common ones.
Water is very important for producing high-quality vegetables growth. Need of water for plants depends on soil, how humid your climate is, and how often it rains. make sure to provide water to your newly planted vegetable garden frequently.
It is important to keep checking your plants for knowing when they are ready for harvesting. If you harvested too early, the vegetables may lack in size, taste or sweetness, or if you harvest too late they loose the flavor and may be tough or mushy. It is important to harvest vegetables when they are properly ready, to get the best taste. Several vegetables, especially beans, squash, peppers and cucumbers, will stop producing if not harvested on time.
Backyard vegetable garden helps you to know the difference between fresh food and fast food. It is an important lesson of life and may inspire you to start eating better, healthier and tasty food for better health and fitness in the future. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but also the soul, so if you want to be happy for a life time, try being a gardener.