Starting a vegetable garden can be super easy if you have a few key basics down pat. Don’t make the same mistakes twice. Get your dream garden THIS year.
I’ll be telling you all of the things people do wrong, so if you’ve done one of these things don’t feel bad because I’ll also tell you how to remedy it. The reason why I wanted to do this post is that so many people have excuses for why they can't start a garden, ever heard or said these?
⁃ ‘I kill everything I get!’
⁃ ‘I have a black thumb’
⁃ ‘I don’t have time’
⁃ ‘I have no clue where to start’
⁃ ‘My tomatoes died last time’
⁃ ‘I don’t get enough sun’
⁃ ‘I don’t know what to plant’
⁃ ‘I don’t like bugs’
⁃ ‘What if nothing grows’
⁃ ‘I'll just go to the grocery store’
Probably have. But I don't blame you And once you finish here you will be much better equipped. So, let's get started, shall we?
Mistake #1 - Plant the wrong vegetables
Explanation: Most people simply plant the wrong things starting off. They plant vegetables or varieties that aren’t right for their climate, their location or their taste buds.
Example: You love kale but live in a very hot climate. This plant loves the cold weather, so you’re questioning it… But instead, you plant any variety and hope for the best.
Remedy: Make sure you check which variety you are planting. Do some research on the web or in a seed catalogue. There are some varieties that can tolerate the heat better than others.
Tip: One variety that can handle heat better is the Portuguese Kale (Couve Tonchuda)
Mistake #2 - Don’t harvest on a regular basis
Explanation: Most of the time, people don’t know when the right time to harvest is. They either, leave it in the ground for too long and it misses its peak flavour timeframe, take it out too early and it hasn’t reached its full potential, or they harvest too little and the plant can’t produce more fruits.
Example: You love radishes, plant them, and now can’t wait for them to be ready. But you forget about them and it’s past the 25-day timeframe. You go to harvest one but they taste a little more bitter than usual…
Remedy: Keep track of everything your plant - just a simple list. Record when you planted it, and when the seed pack says its ready to harvest. Then make a reminder on your calendar or phone to check the goods.
Tip: Harvest green beans every other day. The more you pick, the more will come.
Mistake #3 - Overplant
Explanation: People get too excited and plant way more than they can handle, and than can fit in their patch.
Example: You are super excited to plant your vegetable garden and get your harvest that you buy 26 vegetables and try to fit them into a 2’ x 2’ space…
Remedy: Keep it simple! It’s best to plant one type of vegetable per 1 sq. ft. Start small with a 4’ x 4’ plot or raised bed and grow from there each year.
Tip: Plant the vegetables that you use the most. If you eat salad every day, plant 3 or 4 sq. ft. of lettuce.
Mistake #4 – Forget about the soil
Explanation: This is the most important thing! Most settle and stop at the potting mix.
Example: You eat Mac and cheese every meal, and no vegetables… They say the gut is the key to your health, and so the soil is key to the health of the plant. It’s where the plant retains all the minerals, and nutrients that go into you.
Remedy: Make sure you start with an organic potting mix, but also add in organic animal manure, and organic compost. You can make your own compost easily, but store-bought organic potting mix and manure are good.
Tip: Also try adding extra trace minerals and mushroom compost into the mix, or coconut coir or straw to the top after you have planted your seedlings, so they can retain moisture and nutrients.
Mistake #5 – Don’t check the garden daily
Explanation: Ignoring your garden allows weeds to build up, pests to find a home, and harvest to go to waste.
Example: You plant your garden in May, but forget about it until August – hoping everything will still be alive…
Remedy: Check your garden once a day or once every other day. This way you can harvest when things are perfect, you will notice bugs and can easily manage then if they are becoming a problem, and you will be able to happily and easily pull a couple weeds here and there.
Tip: Make it part of your routine. Seriously, once you start going outside every morning to check the garden it won’t feel like a chore. You will be so excited to see what’s changed and what’s grown.
Mistake #6 – Don’t place their garden in the right spotExplanation: Most people want to put the garden as close to the house as possible, so they don’t have to walk as far, and while that is important and convenient, if it’s all shade and you have a sunny spot, choose the sunny spot.
Example: You’re so excited to plant your garden that you place it in the shadiest part of your yard…
Remedy: Watch the sun for one day and make note where you get it the most. It’s best for vegetables to have at least 6-8 hours of full sun each day.
Tip: Even if you only have a shady spot, you can still grow lots! Some shade tolerant vegetables are kale, lettuce, beets, carrots, swiss chard, etc.
Have anything else that went wrong with your vegetable garden last year? Let me know in the comments below. Also if you love vegetable gardening, check out my post on chickens. The two go hand in hand!