7 Tips to Plan Your First Vegetable Garden
You already know fresh ingredients are the key to better salads, sandwiches and dinners. It doesn’t get fresher than your backyard, so consider planting a vegetable garden this year. Get started with these tips:
1. Set yourself up for success. Start with a small garden your first year. Plant vegetables that are easy to grow, such as lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, carrots, peppers and green beans.
2. Stake out the sunniest part of your yard. Many veggies need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Make sure you plant your garden in an area where they will thrive.
3. Create a plan. Draw a map of your proposed garden. Leave plenty of space between each plant so each one has room to grow.
4. Test your soil. Take a sample of dirt from your yard to your county extension office. The results will tell you if you need to add soil conditioners to help your plants grow.
5. Keep it loose. If the soil in your future garden is compacted, it’s harder for the plants to grow roots. Loosen the dirt with a garden tool called a tiller.
6. Time it right. You can plant some vegetables, such as lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes and carrots, as soon as you can dig the soil easily. Beans and peppers should wait until after the last frost of the season.
7. Water weekly. Temperature, sunlight, humidity and region are all factors in how often you’ll need to water your vegetable garden. A general rule of thumb is one inch of water each week.
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