5 Fundamentals of Growing Your Own Food

Growing your own food is a rewarding process for so many reasons! Garden fresh food is often tastier than any food you can get from a supermarket, and this only becomes more true when you think about how your own hard work paid off. Growing your own food is a hobby that only gets better as you become a more skilled gardener. Below are five things you can do to make your vegetable garden a success.

1. Start Small

Gardening isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ll make many mistakes in your first years as a gardener. Starting small with your first garden allows you to learn from your mistakes, and get better at gardening, while minimizing your investment.

Start with a small plot that’s about half the size of the plot you hope to have in future years. Starting small also enables you to gauge how much work a garden really is, so you can decide for yourself if you’re really ready for a larger plot to work. As years go by, you can expand. 

2. Have a Plan

Make a map of your garden, with a diagram that shows what foods will be grown where. Choose a limited number of vegetables to grow for your first garden. Some easy-to-grow vegetables include:

  • Zuchinni. This rewarding vegetable is a prolific producer that requires little attention throughout the summer. Once the plant releases maturity, you may harvest zuchinni multiple times throughout the week.
  • Snow peas. Snow peas require almost no maintenance. After a short period of flowering, snow peas can produce vegetables that need to be harvested every few days. 
  • Green beans. Like snow peas, green beans need little maintenance until they start to produce beans. Once beans begin to grow, plan to harvest at least once per week, if not multiple times. 
  • Potatoes. Potatoes are a set-it-and-forget-it vegetable that need only to be planted at the beginning of the season, and then forgotten about. Allow potatoes to die back to the ground before digging up the tubers. 

3. Keep Up With Weeds

Weeds suck water and nutrients from the soil, which in turn can stunt your garden plants. Plan to weed your garden throughout the summer to prevent weeds from taking over your garden.  

4. Prep the Soil

Lack of nutrients in the soil can get your plants off to the wrong start. Prep the soil before planting your vegetables every season. Add 30 or 40 pounds of composted manure for every 100 square feet of soil. The manure should be composted, as fresh manure can burn the roots of your plants. 

This can be done in fall before the ground freezes, or in spring before planting. As you work manure into the ground, turn the soil by tilling it – this puts air back in the soil, which is good for root growth. 

5. Space Your Plants Appropriately

It’s tempting to crowd plants into your garden, but crowded plants will fight for nutrients and water. Space your plants according to the instructions provided on seed packets or with the seedling you purchased. Spacing plants appropriately pays off, and ultimately, plants are able to grow and thrive if they have enough room to do so. 

Following these tips will help you have positive experience growing your own food. Good luck!