Today’s post comes to us from Theresa with Faith and Family Reviews. She is going to share with us how to get those gardens started this year!
In the past few years backyard gardening has sprouted new wings and has been making a come back due to the hard economic times. I encourage all of you to consider starting your own garden just for the sake of providing your family with fresh, nutritious food. Fresh is best and saves you money in the long run when you are not running to the doctor as often. It isn’t too late to start your garden this year. Our last frost date is May 15th for the Chicago area, so we barely have anything in the ground due to the cold temperatures we have been experiencing. Here are 5 tips for starting your own vegetable garden:
1. Choose Your Garden Space.
Vegetables need a nice sunny spot. There are only a select few that like or can grow in shade. If you don’t have a sunny yard, try using containers or raised beds so you can put them in a sunny spot. Even the sides of the house or edges of your patio may be used to create garden space. So don’t let a small yard hinder your desire to grow your own food!
2. Pre-Order Seeds.
As beginning organic farmers, we prefer Johnny’s Seeds, Wood Prairie Farm and Garlic Mountain as seed suppliers. There are many others, but we have found these to be the most reliable seeds, if they have the items in stock. Plus they have the option of ordering in bulk, which we need for succession planting. Succession planting just means we do more than one planting throughout the season. Feel free to pick up organic seeds at your local nursery if you are doing a small garden. We recommend the above suppliers for those planting huge gardens.
3. Start Seeds Inside.
Even if you do not have a greenhouse, seeds may be started inside. We have turned our living room into our greenhouse and have three tables in front of our bay window. We just have to rotate the plants from front to back to make sure all the plants are getting enough sun as we only have the one window. Planting inside gives you a jump on getting your plants started. They will need to be hardened off before planting directly into the ground, which means taking the plants outside for a few hours each day so they get acclimated to the different temperature slowly. It also prevents the plants from going into too much shock.
4. Water Consistently.
Letting the plants dry out too much or watering too much can hinder the growth of the plants. Try to water as consistently as possible to optimize the growth of the plants.
5. Use Straw to Mulch with to Reduce Weeds.
Rather than use plastic mulch, we prefer straw. It’s better because it actually decomposes and creates a richer soil, unlike plastic, which will need to be pulled up and thrown out if it cannot be reused. If applied thick, straw greatly reduces weeds. The key is to apply it thick enough so no light gets through to the weeds just below the surface of the soil. Cutting off light prevents the growth of weeds. Mulching in general helps keep moisture in and around the plants, which they desperately need in the event of a hot spell.
It is not difficult to start a vegetable garden. I won’t lie and say it isn’t hard work, it is. But what our family has found is all that hard work is extremely satisfying to know the veggies on the table were grown by our own hands.
Theresa has been married for nearly 18 years and is mom to 8 beautiful children. She is also a WAHM (Work-At-Home-Mom). In addition to blogging, she is a Virtual Assistant with her own company as well as an independent contractor with Your USA VA. Her interests include: reading, writing, travel, education, being an entrepreneur, being self sufficient by growing her own food through farming and gardening. To learn more about her and her family visit her blog Faith and Family Reviews.