Home Gardening for Beginners: Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden
Reading so much about the benefits of home gardening has made you realize you have been wasting time and energy on frivolities, and you want to start your own garden but you don’t know where to start or how to go about it. Worry not. This is the place for all the information you need on any agribusiness. So how do you start your own garden?
The first set of questions you need to ask yourself are: what do I want to plant? How much space do I have?
What do you want to plant?
It is easier to decide what to plant in a home garden. Do you want to plant for subsistence purpose, or for commercial purpose? If you are planting to meet your family’s food need then you plant vegetables and fruits that make up part of your family’s diet. For example, a typical Igbo family eat more of African pumpkin leaves (ugwu) than Amaranthus leaves (Tete/ Green) and some families prefer cucumber, avocado pear to citrus fruits and pawpaw. Always remember its best to start small. Don’t get too excited and plant more than you need unless you are planning to sell the leftover. Think about how much you and your family will eat. Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, African pumpkin, squash, Amaranthus, Celosia etc.
How much space do you need?
You don’t need a large space to begin. A small space in your backyard is enough to start with. For people in the urban and peri urban area who do not have space or backyards, there are options for you too (container garden). With this option your balcony maybe enough.
Which spot is best for my garden?
When choosing a spot for your garden whether container or bed. There are 3 basic requirements for choosing a perfect spot for your garden.
Full sun: Most warm season vegetables need at least 6-8hrs of direct sunlight. Do it is essential to plant in a place you know is exposed to light most of the day.
Plenty of water: This is necessary if you want to produce crops all year round. Vegetables are not drought resistant so make sure you have access to a water source, it will be easier for you when you need to irrigate your vegetable garden (watering can or drip lines) during the dry season.
Good soil: a productive garden is a function of a good soil. In order to ensure maximum production, soil fertility has to be maintained. Most vegetable needs well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. But you can improve the soil by incorporating chicken droppings, compost manure, farmyard manure or green manure or by using recommended quantity of inorganic fertilizer.
How do I test the suitability of my soil?
A good soil is moist loam and well drained. There are 3 easy ways to test your soil.
Is there a special way to plant?
There are 2 basic approaches to vegetable garden layout.
Row cropping: this approach entails planting on single file in rows with a walking path in between. Row cropping works best for large vegetable gardens and it makes it easier to use mechanical equipment such as tillers and it make it easier to weed.
Vegetable planted in rows
Intensive cropping: it entails planting in wide space of between 1-4 feet across and as long as you desire. This is best for raised bed gardens. The downside of this approach is that you will have to do all weeding by hand. This it is important not to make the space wider than what you can reach.
Vegetables planted on wide beds
7 must follow rules of gardening. Readers digest. https://www.readerdigest.ca/home-garden/gardening/7-mustfollow-rules-gardening/ accessed on November 28, 2018.
Beginning vegetable gardening made easy. Better homes and gardens. https://bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/vegetables/planning-yourfirst-vegetable-garden/ accessed on December 10, 2018.
Mugisa I.O., Molly A., Muyinda M. et. al. (2016). A farmer’s guide to home gardening how to establish and manage home gardens.
Do you know that we also plant and maintain a number of edible landscape and home vegetable garden projects in north and central Miami and the beaches? https://littlerivercooperative.com/pages/gardens accessed December 12, 2018.
Intensive planting in the vegetable garden. Harvest to table. https://harvesttotable.com/intensive-planting-in-the-vegetable-garden/ accessed December 12, 2018.