Growing Vegetables for Beginners

So you want a vegetable garden? And you also want this garden to be organic – that means it needs to be free of poisonous chemicals that will harm the environment and add unsafe ingredients to your cooking!

The basic ingredient you need to create a great vegetable garden is all around, more at certain times of the year and in different climate zones, but everywhere has it to some degree. That's right – this magical ingredient is sunshine. Find a spot in your garden where the sunlight is at a premium and you will have identified the best place to start.

Growing alternatives

There are many ways to create a garden. A garden plot on flat land is by far the most common, but it's not the only way to go. If space is limited you could try a vertical garden, where plants grow along trellises, are supported by stakes, sprout from containers attached to walls and so on. Climbing plants are ideal for this gardening solution and these types of plants are among the most prolific. Establish a vertical garden and you will be rewarded by an abundance of produce.

Gardening in containers

Try a pot or container garden. Clay pots are attractive and they come in many different shapes and sizes to fit into your environment. But it's not necessary to restrict yourself to expensive containers. A row of polystyrene boxes, usually free from vegetable markets, make great growing containers. Plastic pots are also cheap and they have the advantage over clay of not drying out too quickly. But just about anything that will hold soil will take seedlings.

One very important thing to remember when creating your own containers is to add holes for drainage. If the soil becomes soggy it will simply rot the delicate fibers on the roots of your plants. Make at least three drainage holes in the container. It's also a good idea to then cover the holes with fine wire mesh or something similar to prevent soil from escaping.

You also need to make sure your pots or containers don't sit flat on the ground. Raise them on bricks or stones to allow excess water to escape. If you're concerned about water damaging the surface of your balcony or floor, put the raised pots in trays.

Don't forget the magic ingredient. Place your containers where they will get at least six hours of direct sunlight. Vegetables grown in containers indoors usually fail due to lack of direct sunlight.

Container gardens need more care

If you are lucky enough to have space for a traditional garden plot, your planted crops will probably need minimum care. However, vegetables grown in pots and other containers will need more attention than those out in the garden. Watering and feeding must be done regularly. Don't wait until your plants are wilted and bedraggled to remember to give them a drink. By then it could well be too late.

Source of Growing Vegetables for Beginners by Janet K Hall – author of Growing Vegetables for Beginners article

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