Everyone enjoys fresh vegetables. You might be surprised to know how much you can produce in a relatively small vegetable garden. My father-in-law enjoys fresh carrots, chard, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and even a few potatoes all summer—produced on a very small garden. Here are a few pointers:
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew: Starting a new garden is a lot like starting a new exercise program. At first you might be a little tired, sore, and tempted to quit. If you’re new to gardening, start off with something small, no more than 8′ x 10′ or smaller. You can always expand later.
- Pick a spot for your garden that gets a lot of sun all day: Once you’ve picked your spot, it’s time to get to work tilling the soil. Rent, borrow, or even buy a small tiller to work up the soil and sod (that’s right, you don’t even have to remove the sod). Digging out all the sod will create a recess in the soil, resulting in poor drainage.
- Determine the type of soil you’re working with: If it’s sandy (like mine) or has a lot of clay, you’ll need to bring in some topsoil to get you started right. You can also use compost as a second choice. (If you’re using compost, you’ll need to apply it in the spring and the fall for a couple of seasons before it will start to improve the soil.)
Now you’re ready to plant! Easy-to-grow crops like onions, peas, beets, rutabaga, and zucchini are a great place to start (especially for small gardens). If you’d like advice on the best vegetables to start with in your garden, you can always stop by Western Gardens and talk to one of our helpful gardeners. They are always ready to help you with pest control suggestions, fertilizer recommendations, and their opinions for the best time to plant. Also, visit us on Facebook for daily updates and specials.