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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Starting a Vegetable Garden


Starting a Vegetable Garden

Starting a vegetable garden is one of the first steps toward homesteading self reliance, whether you live in town or on your own acreage. Are you ready for your own fresh, organically grown produce? Here are some tips.

Prepare Your Soil

There is nothing more frustrating than to spend hours digging a garden bed, then planting and watering it and reaping next to nothing in produce. The right type of soil is crucial to your success, and the easiest way to get that kind of soil is through building raised beds using the lasagna gardening techniques recommended by Patricia Lanza in her book, Lasagna Gardening.
In the fall or on a mild winter day, devote a few hours to building your beds by tramping down the grass and other vegetative matter and covering the area with wet newspapers. Then pile on organic matter such as leaves and moldy hay and cover it with black plastic. Come spring you'll have a good healthy soil ready for starting a vegetable garden.

Pick Easy Vegetables

Organic Garden If you are starting a vegetable garden for the first time, you will do best by choosing vegetables that are fairly easy to grow, including tomatoes, bush beans, carrots, squash and potatoes.

Build Compost

When starting a vegetable garden, also start your compost pile. Never put old lettuce and carrot rinds down the garbage disposal again. Instead, save those scraps, along with coffee grinds and egg shells and put them in a compost pile instead.
You can add anything to your pile that is biodegradable, including manure. Just avoid meat scraps and dog and cat feces, as these will attract rodents to your pile.
You can also start a compost pile indoors using worms. The compost they produce will be worth their weight in gold when you're starting a vegetable garden. Learn more here.

Make a Natural Pest Control Spray

my daughter holding a flower You can make your own organic pest spray by buying a spray pump water and filling it with soapy water, vinegar, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
Mix these ingredients together give your mixture a good week or so to completely dissolve before using for the first time. (Otherwise the cayenne and garlic powder are likely to clog up your pump).
Spray around the base of each plant once a week to discourage beetles and other pests when you are starting a vegetable garden.

Pick a Good Location

Before starting a vegetable garden, spend some time thinking about the location you want to use. You will want a spot that gets plenty of sun, but is also convenient to get to every day. A vegetable garden that is close to your back door is likely to be weeded more. Better still, plant your garden right by your front steps. You'll be encouraged to pull a weed or two every day after you get home from work.

Attract Bees

Pollination is crucial to starting a vegetable garden that will provide you with a bountiful harvest. If you have done everything right and your garden is still not producing many vegetables, the answer may be a lack of bees. Having these wonderful little insects around are crucial to a successful garden.
The best solution is to keep bees yourself, but that's not always possible, especially if you live in an urban area. But what you can do is plan on planting some flowers along with your vegetables to attract more bees to your garden.
When starting a vegetable garden, plan at the very beginning to attract more bees and butterflies to your spot by choosing non-hybrid flowering plants that are native to your area, and plant them in clumps throughout your garden. Provide your bees and butterflies with different types of flowers in a wide variety of shapes and colors that will flower throughout the season.

More Helpful Information on Homesteading and Starting a Vegetable Garden

Most of us keep a homestead for the practical purposes of raising our own food, but cottage gardening can show us the importance of adding beauty to our surroundings. Here's how.
A great step towards self reliance is learning to grow medicinal herbs. Learn what healing herbs you can plant in your homestead garden by clicking here.
A great way to cut back on costs is by purchasing your seeds in bulk, but unless you learn how to store those seeds properly, you'll end up wasting your money. Learn tips on purchasing and storing bulk seeds by clicking here.
You can get an early start on your gardening and save money by starting seeds indoors. Here are a few tips.
Are you looking for easy vegetables for beginning gardeners? Here are a list of some of the easier vegetables to grow.
One of the most crucial decisions you'll make in planning a garden is the best garden location. To find the right spot for your garden, here are a few tips.
By using raised beds, you'll have a spot that is easier to work with soil that warms up much faster in the spring. Here are some tips.
Better still, by using Patricia Lanza's Lasagna gardening principles, you can have easier raised beds without the digging. You can get the know-how here.
When starting a vegetable garden, you won't have a bountiful harvest unless your garden soil has sufficient nutrients. Making compost is the best way to return those nutrients back to the soil. Learn how.
By mulching around your garden plants, you not only retain crucial moisture in your beds, but you also add nutrients to the soil. Here are some tips.
In addition to making your own organic spray, you can also control pests through the flowers you add to your garden. Here's how.
Work in your garden long enough, and you're bound to cross paths with poison ivy. For help on dealing with that awful, itchy rash, click here.
Do you have limited space? With container gardening you can grow a garden in a limited space, even on a balcony. Learn more.
Thinking of pursuing container gardening? You'll need the right container for the type of plant you're growing. Here's how.
If you're ready to pursue the self sufficient life through gardening, you'll want to read this article.
Did you ever think you could compost indoors? You can through the use of vermiculture, the practice of composting with worms. learn more here.
How about growing your own lettuce and other salad greens in winter? You can with the use of a cold frame. To learn how to build and use one, Click here.


Starting a Vegetable Garden

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