This year is the year that you have decided to grow your own herbs and vegetables. Congratulations. Now all you need to know is how to start a small vegetable garden from scratch. Easy right?
Gardening is one of those things that you think should be easy. People have been doing it for hundreds of years. How difficult can it be? Turns out, very difficult.
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You Must Really Want a Vegetable Garden
I absolutely don’t want to put you off if you have decided to grow your own. But you need to go into this with your eyes wide open. Even if you are going to just have 2 pots of lettuce, they will take more work than you would think. You need to be committed to the project before you even start.
I have been gardening for a couple of years and I make mistakes every year. If I was a teacher grading my gardening, it would definitely be a ‘could do better’. There is a big learning curve, and you will be learning every year. But eating your own tomatoes, cucumber, beans, peas, and more, make it spectacularly worth it.
A lot of the hurdles you will meet could be avoided by some planning in the beginning. And this is the stage that many beginner gardeners fail. They don’t want to do the research, they just want to plant something. And yes, I was exactly the same.
Learn From The Experts
Gardening is one of those weird things that you both can and can’t, learn from a book. However, I do suggest you buy some books as well as looking online. You need the information at your fingertips when you want it. If you have to go off and search for the information, odds are you will become distracted and stop the task at hand. If you want to learn how to start a small vegetable garden from scratch, then a good book is a valuable resource.
Whenever people think about becoming a gardener, they start watching videos from experts. They see huge gardening beds filled with thriving plants and bountiful harvests. But don’t forget that these people are experts. They have been doing this for quite a while, perfecting their green thumb and learning what it takes to succeed.
The Variables of Vegetable Gardening
It would be nice if you could simply listen to some instructions, follow them exactly as prescribed and then be able to proclaim you’re a successful gardener. But unfortunately, there are too many variables in the gardening world for there to be a cookie-cutter routine that works for everyone.
You have varying climates from one city to the next. Insects and pests of other sorts aren’t all the same, either. Humidity and rain conditions can affect the quality of a harvest. Even the way your soil is compiled will differ from someone else’s soil.
Also, the layout of your garden is important. You need to make the best of what you have to give your plants a better chance.
Because of this, you want to take your time learning the ins and outs of gardening on your plot of land or in your containers before you start investing huge amounts of money, time and effort.
Don’t Run Before You Can Walk
Getting started with gardening can definitely cost more than just buying veggies at the shop. You need fertilizer, seeds, tools, and much more. But once you’re able to use them successfully every season, you will start to recoup your money.
The last thing you want to do is plant a half-acre of vegetables if you’ve never grown anything before. You might end up with an entire garden spoiled from your lack of knowledge. Far easier to start planting a few pots of herbs.
One of the mistakes that people make, is that they don’t grow what they like to eat. I know, right! I’m in the UK and in March the only thing I should really be planting out are broad beans. I couldn’t eat a broad bean if my life depended on it. It is the only vegetable I hate, and boy do I hate it. So there is no way I am planting a single broad bean in my garden.
Another mistake is to plant too much of something. If you are making too much work for yourself, then you will end up hating it. Imagine if you decide to take up running. Your first run would not be a 20-mile run. You need to build up to that and if you start by doing too much you will hate it and stop. Gardening is very much the same. Only with less lycra!
You can scale up over time. If you’re capable of handling the routine and working out issues that arise with your plants in a small area, then you’ll easily be able to care for and address any problems in a larger area.
As a gardener, you’re almost like a parent to these seedlings. You have to take care of all of their needs – nutrients, protection from pests and more. You’ll have a much easier (and enjoyable) time knowing you aren’t overwhelmed with an enormous workload than if you did just enough to enjoy and learn from a smaller area.
This will also help you discover how much produce your family actually needs and uses during a growing season. Many people overestimate and then end up with spoiling produce they can’t use up in time. Lettuce soup anyone?