If you take a store bought tomato and one that is freshly plucked from your garden, and then refrigerate both, you will see how much longer the latter lasts. It remains fresh, juicy and edible for significantly longer than the store bought tomato. Not only do you have the satisfaction of consuming something that you’ve grown but you also have the peace of mind knowing that a bunch of growth hormones and toxic chemicals did not go into that tomato. So if you’re keen to grow your own vegetables, here are some tips to get you started.
1. Start small
It is best not to have too many grandiose plans of substituting your grocery shopping with your veggie garden just yet – start modestly instead. Pick a small area in your garden if you plan to make beds in the ground; or a sunny spot on the patio, window sill, etc. if you plan to use containers. Try your hand at a few veggies to begin with, before you expand and experiment. Be sure that you pick a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. Also ensure that you have sufficient water supply because most vegetable growing is water intensive.
2. Pick the easier veggies first
It is also a good idea to pick the easy veggies first. While the climate and soil type where you live will largely determine what you may find easy to grow, most home gardens can successfully grow herbs, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, spinach, egg plant, several varieties of beans, peas, bell peppers etc. Pick plants that are resistant to pests and which can survive in local conditions.
3. Swap tips
If you have a neighbor or friend who is a keen gardener, take advantage of their local knowledge and experience. They will have valuable information on soil treatments, local pests and how to handle them, the sort of fertilizers that work best, disease avoidance and so on.
4. Invest in tools
Good tools make good gardeners. Or was it green thumbs make good gardeners? Never mind that; but if you’re going to make any serious foray into vegetable growing, you will need the basic tools to dig, turn over the earth, do your weeding, harvesting, cutting off dead branches, raking, hoeing and so on.
5. To transplant or not to transplant
There are some plants that you may grow from seed in a container indoors or in some more sheltered spot and then transplant into the garden. Others don’t respond that well to transplantation; root veggies such as carrot, onion, potatoes and so on.
6. Commit to your veggie garden
Make time for your garden most days of the week. Enjoy the time you spend there. Commit to it and do the best that you can for your veggie garden. In time it will become an important part of your life and one that will pay rich dividends not only in terms of healthy fresh produce but of time well spent, of lower stress levels and a hobby that you really enjoy.