Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gardening Article: Plant Your Dream Vegetable Garden No Matter How Little Space You Have—Three Tips for Green Thumb Success

You don’t need a large, expensive plot of land to grow the vegetable garden you have always wanted. You just need good soil, water, sunshine and getting creative with the space you have. Sound easy enough? It is, with a creative mind, some know-how about which vegetables grow best in small spaces and the patience and care to watch them thrive. Whether you are preparing to grow your first New York City indoor apartment garden or an outdoor one in your studio in Phoenix, here’s what you’ll need for a successful start.

Sunshine

If you want your tomatoes, onions and potatoes to grow in a productive and timely manner, you’ll need to give them about six hours of sunshine every day. Sunlight and the warmth it provides your veggies is important and unfortunately, not always in your control, so it’s important to know which plants need more light than others. Know your vegetables! Are certain varieties of potatoes easier to grow than say, broccoli? Lettuce, carrots, peas and kale can handle some shade while squash, eggplant and tomatoes need to be perched on a sunny backyard space like a patio or balcony for full sun exposure in order to thrive.

Soil, the Perfect Food for Your Precious Plants

Soil is another crucial ingredient to think about before you plant your vegetable garden. Don’t just buy the cheapest soil at the gardening store or you’ll end up with a crop of vegetables that have a hard time growing. Instead, you want a soil that is full of organic matter, crumbly, and drains well (allowing the roots plenty of room to grow and receive nutrients). As you learn more about soil for your gardening efforts, feel free to incorporate organic household material such as coffee grounds, vegetable and fruit waste from the kitchen.

Water

As a general rule of thumb, your vegetable garden will need 1-2 inches of water every week to keep them growing at an optimal level. Depending on which vegetables you are growing, will depend on the type of watering you need to give them. Salad vegetables like lettuce leaves, salad greens and spinach grow well when sprayed rather than watered with a hose. Knowing which plants respond best with each watering type will help you to become a successful gardener, whether this is your first garden or fifth!

Additional Tips for Small Space Gardening

As you begin to shop around for the type of vegetables you are considering growing, make sure to pay attention to the seedlings information. This will tell you how big they will become in their mature state, and how much room on your balcony or backyard you have to give them. Wondering if you can really have a garden inside or outside of your New York City studio apartment? Survey your apartment and find the best patch of sunlight you can, and place your plants here. If you’re dealing with a vertical and narrow space, invest in some window boxes which can hold many vegetables and are narrow enough for even the smallest balcony.

Image courtesy of Boston.com.

About the author: Heather J. enjoys writing about all aspects of home gardening, especially vegetable gardening.

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