Save Money by Growing Your Own Produce: Creating a Vegetable Garden at Home
Are you almost never satisfied with the commercial produce you find from grocery stores? Why still buy from those when you can grow your own vegetables right in your backyard? It saves you money and the hassle of leaving home.
A big space isn’t necessarily required to make vegetable patches; a 10×10 feet garden is enough to grow at least five types. If you don’t have that much vacant yard area, simply plant smaller crops or those that can be grown in containers. Make sure that the area has enough sunlight and healthy soil. Your Salt Lake City garden might need mulch and other soil conditioners before growing anything.
Prepare the Soil
The quality of your soil must be tested first through its pH levels. Buy a testing kit or send a sample of your soil to your local agricultural office. If you’re going strictly organic, make sure to inform the examiner about that. Have the soil tested during the fall. Apply organic soil nutrients before winter.
Your soil would also need a lot of humus—a type of organic matter consisting of compost, leaf, and grass clippings—and manure (preferably of livestock that’s organically and humanely raised). You can make your own organic compost pile through your food and yard waste. Have a compost bin, and add alternating layers of carbon (leaf and grass clippings) and nitrogen (manure or kitchen scraps) materials, with a thin covering of soil in between each layer.
Cover the very top of the pile with four to six inches of soil. Turn the pile when you add new layers, and water them to keep your compost slightly moist. If a foul odor is emitted, simply add more dry carbon materials and turn it more often.
Plant Your FavoritesBut Make Some Considerations
Of course, the veggies you’d want to grow are the ones you consume frequently. But before doing that, consider first the amount you usually eat and what will you do with the excess crops. This would help you determine how many seeds you need for each type of produce. For example, tomatoes and peppers are prosperous for an entirety of a season, so you won’t need a lot of seeds for those. Meanwhile, carrots and radishes can only be harvested once. So if you consume them often, you might need more of their seeds.
To be sure that you have fresh produce in the spring through fall, plant cool- and warm-weather vegetables. Cool-weather veggies that thrive in spring include lettuce, peas, carrots, broccoli, and arugula. Warm-weather ones for summer include tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and herbs. In fall, potatoes, cabbage, and kale can be harvested.
Water Crops Generously
Apart from rich sunlight and healthy soil, your vegetable patches will also need plenty of water, especially if they’re in a warm and dry region. Within the first few weeks of planting the seedlings, provide water frequently. Once they’ve grown, water them generously every few days to strengthen their roots. To find out when your crops need watering, feel the soil three to four inches down from its surface. If it feels dry, then it needs to be watered. Check the soil even during rainy days because rainwater doesn’t always seep through the soil.
Manage Your Garden
Weeds may grow out of bare soil and steal nutrients off your crops, so once you see one, pull them out immediately. Apply mulch to the soil to keep them from regrowing. To maximize the yields of your veggies, use fertilizer or high-quality compost.
If you live in an area where animals roam freely, put up a high fence in your yard to stop deer or rabbits from trampling your patches. For smaller nuisances such as insects, getting rid of them by hand is safer for your garden than using pesticides.
Putting these tips into practice will give you an abundant homegrown produce garden. Once you notice that your veggies already look good enough to eat, then it’s time to harvest them. Be sure to observe diligence when you have a vegetable garden to maximize its benefits.