It’s not terribly hard to grow a successful garden, but there are some specific steps. If you want to have a bountiful harvest from your kitchen garden, here are the most essential things you need to know.
1. Follow the Sun
Sunlight is an absolute must for any garden. To grow most fruits and veggies, you need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day, and more is usually better. The only things that don’t need as much sunshine are lettuces and radishes.
2. Give Your Soil Some Help
Starting with a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil will get your garden off to a great start. Add plenty of organic matter, like straw, bagged humus, and prepared compost.
3. Raised Beds
If you want to start with soil you know is great, as well as cut back on weeds, try starting your garden in raised beds, or in containers on your windowsill. For things that need deeper soil, such as carrots, you can use taller pots.
4. Read the Directions
Seed packets give you invaluable information, such as spacing, water needs, soil depth, and more. Don’t throw the packets away. Many gardeners keep seed packets together and organized in a photo album.
5. Make a Modest Start
Starting with a large plot can make you feel overwhelmed with maintenance. Why not start with a garden that’s just 8-10 feet square? You can grow quite a bit in a small space, and you’ll get the hang of things without getting in over your head.
6. Start Indoors
Talk about starting small, it’s always a good idea to start your seedlings in tiny pots inside, under a light. Try these 10 great seedling starters.
7. Water Properly
Don’t water your garden from the top, as this can cause mildew on the foliage. Water deeply at the base of the plants, or use a drip system.
8. Keep Invasive Critters Away
If you have animals around that might eat your plants, put a secure fence around your garden. Mesh netting is usually a good deterrent. For deer, you’ll need at least an 8-foot fence, and for rabbits, go at least 8 inches under ground. As for bugs, aphids and slugs may be a concern. A pepper spray can keep them under control, as can planting marigolds in between garden rows.
9. Support Climbing Plants
Pole beans, cucumbers, peas and other winding plants will need something to climb. Provide a lattice or other support system to keep foliage from dragging on the ground.