If you’re planning on creating a bountiful vegetable garden this summer season, May is the month to get the ball rolling. Whether you’re starting with seeds or are planning to purchase seedlings from your local garden centre, there is much to be done before you start digging.
First and foremost, you need to consider where your garden will be located, keeping in mind that growing vegetables need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. You will also want to make sure you garden patch is located within reach of your hose – regular watering is the key to nutritious, large veggies!
If this is your first attempt at a vegetable garden, you might want to start on a small scale. A garden plot 10 feet by 10 feet is more than enough for 6-10 varieties of vegetables and a few herbs if you like. When creating the plot, soil is one of the most important considerations. You will need soil very rich in organic matter to feed those growing veggies. You can add composted manure, working it into existing soil. Ask for advice at your garden centre if you’re unsure of what to buy. Be patient come springtime – plants don’t like to sit in soggy, wet soil so wait until it dries out a bit.
Ideally, you’ll want to plant three rows of veggies with a small walkway in between each row. Draw a quick diagram on graph paper and sketch out where you’ll place your plants. Keep in mind that some grow much taller than others (tomato plants, for example) so you won’t want them towering over your smaller herbs.
Vegetables and herbs that are generally easy to grow include: cucumbers, green beans, carrots, radishes, spring onions, beetroot, zucchini, tomatoes, mint, basil, chives and parsley. Certain vegetables, like lettuce, shouldn’t be planted in the springtime, so be sure to leave a few spots to plant later on in the season.
If using packets of seeds, follow the directions on the package for depth and width restrictions. Be sure to stake plants like tomatoes, beans and peas – you can buy stakes at your garden centre or use wooden dowels or tomato cages.
You’ll also want to use plant markers to keep track of what’s being planted where!