There is nothing better than the taste of fresh vegetables grown in your own garden. Don’t be intimidated by the endless choice of herbs and vegetables available in the market. A few simple steps will ensure the success of your garden.
Not All Vegetables Like the Same Temperature
Cool Season Vegetables
Anxious to start your garden in the early spring? Grow cool season vegetables. These vegetables prefer cool growing temperatures between 10°C and 24°C. Warmer temperatures decrease the quality of these vegetables and they tend to go to seed quickly.
Frost Hardy Vegetables
These can be grown when soil temperature is consistently above 4°C. Generally they can safely be planted 4 weeks before the last frost.
The following vegetables are part of this group: Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Collard, Garlic, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Mustard, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Radicchio, Radish, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips.
Warm Season Vegetables
They love the sun and the warmth. They are very sensitive to cool weather. They particularly dislike cold and wet springs. They should only be planted once the risk of frost is gone.
The following vegetables are part of this group: Artichoke, Beans, Okra, Peppers, Pumpkin, Peas, Squash Winter, Sweet Corn and Tomatoes.
The following vegetables are even more sensitive to cold weather and their growth can be severely tempered if temperatures fall below 13°C: Cucumber, Eggplant, Melons, Squash Summer and Sweet Potatoes.
Step by Step Vegetable Garden
It is important to follow the proper steps to ensure the success of your vegetable garden.
- Select a nice sunny location. Vegetables and herbs do not enjoy growing in the shade.
- Make sure your soil is dry enough before digging in it. Begin by grabbing a handful of soil and squeezing. If it falls apart, you are good to go. If it forms a mud ball, it is still too wet.
- Loosen up the soil. You need at least a good 6 to 8 inches of loose soil to succesfully grow vegetables. If you are growing a lot of root vegetables, it is important to have a at least 12 inches of soil.
- Amend your soil. If you forgot to do it in the fall, add a layer of compost or manure and turn it in. For hard clay soil, it is best to use forestry compost or peat moss to help loosen up some of the soil. For sandy soil, manure and compost are recommended.
- It is important not to take on more than you can handle. Your vegetable garden will require maintenance and care throughout the summer. A great way of starting a small vegetable garden is to use the square foot gardening technique. Listed below are a few ideas for different type of square foot vegetable garden.