You need the best topsoil to grow a lush and bountiful garden and searching for “topsoil near me” would point you in the right direction. However, there’s more to gardening than just the soil. Let’s check out how you can start vegetable gardening even as a beginner:
- Start small – It’s best to start small when you begin anything, whether it’s a restaurant, a coffee shop, or a garden. When you start gardening, it’s more about the thrill of seeing new crops grow and flowers bloom rather than calculating the pounds of harvest. Moreover, you’re bound to make many mistakes when you start this new hobby. So, it makes sense to minimize the damage to a small area and learn from them so that things turn out great when you want to expand. When you start small and slowly grow your garden you would also be able to figure out how much veggies you and your family can consume. A 6×6 feet plot is usually a good start for a veggie garden. You can plant different crops and check out what works for you.
- Grow what you eat – Think about what you and your family like to eat. That will give you an initial list of crops you may want to grow in your garden. After that, it’s time to be picky. Check out the description and tags on the seed packet. They will tell you about the characteristics of the crops. For instance, tomatoes come in many varieties. While some are ideal for small gardens or containers, some provide better yield or disease resistance suitable for large gardens or for those that have a pest problem.
As a beginner, it’s easy to plant too much. To avoid that, think about how much your family eats every season. How likely are you to pickle or freeze the rest of the produce and how much can you give away? To minimize waste, you can start with plants that produce throughout the season. For instance, you can plant squash or peppers once and they will keep producing every season. Other crops like radishes and carrots need to be replanted after harvest. You can make the most of your garden by planting cold and warm crops with vegetables and herbs. That means you can get something out of your garden throughout the year.
- Pick the right spot – Location is key for a successful garden. All plants require plenty of sunlight for photosynthesis and that’s why some of the fastest plants need around 8 hours of direct sunlight. That’s why if you opt to grow sun-loving vegetables, you need to select the location carefully to avoid shade. If your property has a shaded region, grow plants that thrive in that condition. Plants like kale, chard, lettuce and spinach grow plentiful in partial shade.
Apart from sunlight, you also need to think about water access for the roots. It’s best to have your vegetable garden close to a water source. The first few weeks of planting and germination would require you to water the plants frequently and a close water source makes it easy and convenient. Once the plants have established themselves in your yard, you can water them for a long time every few days so that it forces the roots to go deep for water. When you sprinkle a bit of water every day, it makes the roots stay near ground level. When that happens, the sun can dry up the soil very quickly and more water is wasted. Instead, deep watering every few days is more efficient and saves you money on the water bill. If you want to optimize watering and have the budget for it, consider installing a timer and drip irrigation for your plants.
- Plan the layout – You can either have intensive cropping or row cropping for your garden, not both. Row cropping should be reserved for large gardens where you plant your veggies a few inches apart in single-file rows. This kind of layout also lets you fight weeds and root them out easily.
A small garden is better suited for intensive cropping where you plant a few plants close together in a 4 feet wide bed. To prevent the leaves of plants from touching, you can place transplants. This method helps you maximize the productivity of your small garden. However, weeding with tools isn’t possible when you grow plants like that.
- Get rich soil – A good vegetable garden can’t do without rich and fertile soil. Rich soil is easy to dig and drains water well. To check soil quality, pick a lump in your hand and feel if it’s gritty, powdery, or wet. You don’t want either of the textures. You want a texture that’s a combination of all of those conditions. That makes for the perfect ratio of sand, silt, and clay. When it comes to color you want dark and crumbly soil that is full of helpful microorganisms. You can always improve the life in the soil by adding high-quality compost, homemade or store-bought.
- Fight diseases and pests – Pests and diseases are a constant in gardening or growing crops. You need to fight them periodically to grow a generous harvest. Weeds are invaders who compete with your vegetables for water, light, and nutrients. You need to mulch them and minimize them periodically. If you live in the woods or a place where large animals like deer and rabbits are plentiful, you need to install tall fencing to keep those animals away from your edible garden. You also need to keep away destructive insects like certain caterpillars and aphids. You can use both chemical pesticides or natural solutions like lime or ladybugs to keep them at bay.
Now that you know all about gardening it’s time to search for “topsoil near me” and get the best type you can afford. Your soil quality will have a major impact on the health of your crops and the types of crops you want to grow.