“Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes”. -Author Unknown
Well, it’s that time of year again.
It’s time to prepare my vegetable garden for planting, and I thought it would be beneficial to my readers if I share some of my experience with you.
I highly recommend for everyone to grow a vegetable garden; even if you live in an apartment or condominium and your space is limited.
The best time to start your vegetable garden is after all signs of freezing temperatures have passed.
If you live in an apartment or condominium you can begin by growing plants in containers that you can place on your balcony or patio.
You can grow as many containers as you like, and this way is probably the easiest and least time-consuming way to do it.
1. Stake out an area using string and wooden stakes. My vegetable garden is 20’x 30′. (that’s feet.).
2.Spray the area that will be your new garden with Round-Up. Round-Up is a herbicide that will kill the grass straight down to the roots.
This will save you the trouble of having to dig out the grass with a shovel. An alternative to Round-Up would be to cover your new garden area with a tarp for two weeks or longer to kill the grass naturally.
3.Wait at least three days after spraying Round-Up before you till the soil to make sure that the herbicide has reached the roots.
If you till to soon the grass won’t be dead yet and will continue to grow in your garden even after you have tilled it.
The good thing about using Round-Up is that you can till the dead grass right in with soil. No need to remove the dead grass with a shovel saving you a lot of time and energy.
4.Till. Till, and Till again. I tilled the soil of my new garden about five different times, going deeper into the soil each time. My neighbor had a tiller that I borrowed which saved me the hassle of having to buy or rent one.
5.Add some fertilizer to the party. In this case I used some good old-fashioned cow manure.
I live in horse and farm country so it is easy to get one of the local farmers to drop off a couple of yards for free. They are glad to get rid of it.
Fertilizer acts as food for the soil, then the vegetables will get their food from the soil that just ate all of that fertilizer.
Well fed soil will produce healthy and colorful vegetables. Add more fertilizer at the beginning of each growing season.
6.Till, Till, and Till again. I tilled the manure into the soil of my new garden about five different times.
7.Put up a fence to keep unwanted critters out of your garden. In my case a friend gave me his wire mesh doggie fence that he no longer needed.
Add some metal stakes into the ground every six feet around the perimeter, and then attach your new fence.
Don’t buy the cheap plastic vinyl fences ,because the rabbits will chew right through it. You could also build a custom wooden fence if you like, but this may prevent you from extending your garden in the future.
8.Make some rows for you to sow your seeds in . Rows are a way of mounding up the earth so that when it rains the water will move away from the plants and not saturate them.
You can place landscaping fabric, straw, or even newspaper in between your vegetable rows to keep weeds from growing there.
It’s not rocket science though. Also, use Popsicle sticks to label each row of vegetables in case you forget what seeds were planted.
If you’re not into planting seeds or you got a late start this season , then you can purchase vegetable plants that have already matured at your local nursery and plant them directly in the soil.
Sow your seeds. You can buy plant seeds for $ 1.00 a pack, and they will produce all season long. Read the instruction on the seed pack because every seed type has unique directions for sowing.
Keep the soil moist while sowing your seeds
It’s important that you keep your soil moist after your seeds are planted, if not, they will not grow. Invest in a good sprinkler system and garden hose if you do not already have one.
Sometimes mother nature will provide enough rain so you will not have to anticipate watering.
Why I decided to start and maintain a vegetable garden
It’s cheaper, healthier, and more convenient than going to the grocery store. For $10.00 in seeds, my garden produced so many vegetables that I was having to give it away to friends and family.
I never use pesticides on my vegetables; instead I sprinkle ash from my charcoal grill/ wood smoker directly onto the leaves.
Bugs don’t like the taste of ash very much.
Also, I wanted to feel more connected and tuned into Mother Nature. Nothing grounds the body like working your hands in the soil of the earth.
There is no guarantee of what the future might hold.
Many of us are so used to going to the grocery store and buying food.
What if something happened and you couldn’t get to the grocery store? With your own vegetable garden you won’t have to worry about that.
It’s the coolest thing that I ever saw. Had I known that it would be so easy to start a vegetable garden, I would have done it a long time ago.
It’s fun to watch your little sprout-lets grow day after day, and it’s super convenient to walk out your back door and pick fresh vegetables and herbs to prepare for dinner.
I also can some of my vegetables for use during the winter months. It’s another process that is very simple to do and wise to learn.
I hope that my experience will inspire you to start your own vegetable garden this spring. Start small in the beginning if you want when preparing your vegetable garden. You can always expand it next year.
Update: I was given a Mantis Tiller by a friend of mine who no longer needed it. It is perfect for tilling the weeds in between the rows.
It used to take me about four hours to weed my garden, but with the Mantis tiller it takes me about 30 minutes.
I recommend that you get one as soon as you are able to. The mantis tiller is small and lightweight and easy to carry around the garden.
Update: I shot a short video of my garden for 2013 and posted it on You Tube.