If you’ve always dreamed of making a salad from freshly picked vegetables, having your own garden in your backyard may be just the thing for you. It requires some effort but assuming you would like to start it as a hobby and to satisfy your family’s needs, it should not take up too much time and it should be the right amount of exercise. I will make it sound really simple with the following 5 tips.

Make room for it

Select the sunniest part of your yard as you need to ensure as much daylight as possible. Remove the top layer of grass or any other plants from the area. Dig through it and make sure you get all the roots out. When the time comes, you do not want to be surprised by having unwanted ‘guest’ plants. You can wait for spring so to allow the ground to warm up naturally or you can lay down plastic foil on top of the cleared area. The second might be better as it will speed up the warming of the soil and it will encourage any left over plants to grow so you can pluck them out before you plant your vegetables.

Get the soil right

Even though this is just a hobby for you, make it worth your time and have the soil from your garden tested. That way you will know which nutrients it is missing and which plants it is good for. Create your own compost to enrich the soil the most natural way possible. One thing you could do, and it could fall under several categories here, is to build raised beds. That way you will have more control over the drainage, the soil, and weed.

Plan and plant

Plan the layout of your garden. Get informed on which vegetables complement each other and which should be next to each other. Once you have that done and once you know what you will be growing, obtain seeds. Get good quality seeds as it is in your best interest to grow healthy vegetables and considering the size of your garden you will not save much by buying lower quality ones.

Water it regularly

A sufficient supply of water is crucial for a growing vegetable. The watering depends on the temperature and the level of rainfall. Plain water hose pipes and a couple of sprinkles will do the trick. Sprinkles help water to get spread evenly.

Have a weed and pest regime

Since I started with an assumption that you are growing a small family vegetable garden, there is no need for you to get over ambitious when it comes to yield. You should strive to produce only what is good for you so try to keep it organic. Do not spray your garden with herbicides and pesticides but remove any weed by hand. The same goes for certain pests. There are even some non-invasive homemade pesticides you could learn to make and use.  Once your plants are about 4 inches tall you can cover the soil between them with organic mulch. This will reduce the occurrence of weed.

If you decide to go ahead with this little project, I wish you all the best. However, if you are not certain you will have enough time to dedicate to it it is better to wait, as a withered garden can be depressing to look at and all the time invested originally, could go to waste. An advice if you want to start small, choose the plants with the least upkeep required so you do not get too disappointed for the first time.

Published by Victoria Lim