Lawn & Garden Month:
Tips For Planting A Vegetable Garden
For gardeners, there's no better time of year than when the gray of winter lifts to reveal the lush green of plants and trees in our yards. But gardens aren't always for show. If you're thinking about upgrading to a garden that allows you to put what you plant on a plate, here are 5 tips for planning a vegetable garden.
Before you start digging, have a good idea of what you want to grow. There are lots of easy-to-grow vegetables, but you should select vegetables that you like to eat. Radishes grow well with little care, but if you only occasionally eat them on salads, they might not be the most practical vegetable for you to plant. Don't let your hard work and good vegetables go to waste!
If you have a space allocated for your vegetable garden, the geography determines what you can plant. Observe how much sunlight that spot gets at different times of the day and choose what you want to plant based on that. For instance, if the sun is shining on that plot for six hours a day, you might want to plant tomatoes because they require six hours of full sun to produce the best fruit. If that spot gets less sun, plant vegetables that can thrive in the shade.
Pay attention to your last frost date. That's when you can safely plant in your outdoor garden. Last frosts depend on where you live. In warmer climates, like San Antonio, Texas, the last frost is at the end of February. In colder climates, like Helena, Mont., the last frost doesn't happen until the end of May. But you don't have to wait until the last frost to garden. You can start your seeds indoors six weeks before the last frost so you'll have sprouts to transfer into the garden when the beds and air temperature are warm enough.
One of the more difficult parts of gardening is protecting your vegetables from pests. One of the best ways to combat them is to be careful about what you plant and where. There are certain shrubs and flowers you can plant as borders that are natural bug repellents and add aesthetic value to your garden and help with drainage.