7 tips on how to set up a productive family vegetable garden
I passionately believe that anyone can grow at least one food item at home and have a positive impact on their health and lifestyle. Setting up a family vegetable garden is a simple exercise if you follow these 7 simple tips.
1. Get started
“I would love to start a vegetable garden but….” is something people often say to me. Two main reasons people tell me they have not started include:
- lack of time
- They think they can’t do it without specialised knowledge
Growing just a few vegetables at home takes little time. You can plant something into the soil in minutes. Plants do require some basic care but the results and benefits, including fewer trips to the supermarket, outweigh the time you need to spend.
2. Plant food your family will eat (+ a stretch vegetable)
Choose to plant vegetables and herbs your family enjoy eating. There is no point planting cabbage if no one likes to eat it. Consider growing items that perish quickly when purchased from the store. Herbs are a good choice. Wouldn’t you prefer to pick the herbs you need from dinner in the garden as you need them than to have to work out what you need for the week and try to salvage non slimy leaves from the bottom of the crisper drawer?
I challenge you to also plant a few things that most of the family likes to eat but maybe one of the kids does not. Children who are involved in growing and caring for a plant in the garden are more likely to want to try it after they have planted it, cared for it and then harvested it for dinner. The Kitchen Garden Box® has been designed to get your children involved in the growing process and includes information and projects they can work on and help you with.
3. Plant a small quantity
Try one or two plants to begin with and allow your family to experience the benefits of growing fresh food. Planting a large number of one thing can lead to overwhelm and the whole family being sick of the sight of that vegetable. Success with one or two plants that everyone enjoys – such as lettuce or a herb can create the motivation to grow more.
4. Be realistic
Not everything will grow in your garden. Nature provides no guarantees. Not all seeds will germinate and snails may feast on the prize seedlings you have spent weeks raising and monitoring. Be prepared for some failures. Make sure you download my guide to 6 Easy to Grow Vegetables at the end of this post. These plants may all be grown in either posts or the ground and are robust, with very few special care requirements.
There are many factors that lead to a plant developing to maturity and producing a wonderful fresh harvest. Over time if you persist the successes will far outnumber any failures.
5. Follow planting instructions
Sow your seeds at the right time of year. Read the instructions on the seed packet, or the plant label.
Check the following to ensure you are increasing your chances of success:
- Are you planting at the right time of year for your area?
- Have you planted with the recommended space?
- Ensure that the soil is suited to the plants you are growing (if specified in the instructions)
6. Allocate time to care for your plants
Growing a few vegetables in your garden, or in pots does not take much time.
You do need to ensure that:
- You spend time watering and caring for the plants. Create a simple routine, or roster to water every few days across the hot weather months
- Vegetables respond best to regular consistent watering rather than ad hoc.
- Soil should not be allowed to dry out
- Plants in pots need watering more frequently than those planted in the ground
- Check regularly for pests and put preventative measures in place as required
- Provide the soil with a nutrient boost on a regular basil. Add compost and well rotten manure each season
7. Create a plan and record your progress
A journal, or even a simple notebook, will help you to plan what to plant and where to plant it each season. A plan helps you to use your available space well.
A journal can be used to highlight patterns you can correct or change to achieve better results. Keeping a record of what you harvest from a plant for a period of time will help you to determine the ideal quantity to plant for your family. This will help you to see what grows well and what does not in your environment.
Take Action, get started now: This is the first step
Download your guide: 6 easy to grow vegetables for your family
One of the easiest ways to begin your vegetable garden is to start simply, plant one or two plants that are easy to grow, fast growing and are versatile and helpful to have on hand to add to meals.
Which vegetable will you plant first?
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