As a vegetarian, chances are you probably eat a lot of vegetables. Yeah, I know, huge shocker. But how many vegetarians actually grow their own vegetables? While not all of you will have the space to grow a huge garden, it can certainly help to know a few key tips should you decide to go all-out and create the most efficient vegetable garden possible. Here are just a few ways to succeed.
A simple concept, but critical if you want to see success now and in future gardening endeavors. While planting and maintaining will take up the bulk of your time in the garden, keeping some basic notes regarding how fast plants are growing, how often they’ve been planted, and how healthy they are at any stage during their progression will go a long way into letting you know the best way to get the most out of your time. Noticing that tomatoes aren’t doing well in your garden but peas are? These are important details to be aware of.
Make Good Use of Space
While you may want to go the traditional route and plant in rows, it could be in your best interest to reconsider. First, by placing crops in rows, you’re increasing the amount of foot-traffic around the plants, resulting in much more compacted soil. This makes it more difficult for the plants to grow and absorb the soil’s nutrition.
Furthermore, spreading crops out provides far more shade to the ground. While this may not seem like a big deal, what it accomplishes is reducing the amount of water needed for each crop. Normally, the exposed soil will dry up quickly as the sun evaporates the remaining moisture, but planting crops in a more spread out fashion increases the amount of soil shade and reduces the speed in which the moisture evaporates, allowing the plants to soak up more water every day.
Also, while you may be partial to larger crops like pumpkins or watermelons, they will take up a lot of space, whereas something like corn or tomatoes, which grow up, can be planted in greater quantities and yield more crops. Consider adding trellises to a garden and growing plants that grow up rather than out. That way, as previously mentioned, you can have more food within the same space.
Keep Moving, Keep Harvesting
After a crop has been harvested, the natural instinct is to replant it in the same spot. However, doing so may deplete the soil of crucial nutrients needed for that particular crop to grow big and juicy. The solution is fairly simple and comes down to rotating where particular crops are planted every year. Try not to plant the same crop in the same spot for at least two or three years. That way, the soil will have time to replenish its nutrients while still providing specific nutrients to whichever crop is planted within it.
While this helps the crops, something you as the gardener can to do reduce your own stress level is to consider staggering the crops you plant so that they don’t all need to be planted and harvested at the same time. For instance, plant some corn one week, then the next add a handful of tomatoes and some peas the week after. That way, you don’t have to feel as if everything must be done at once. Suddenly the garden isn’t an imposing force but a manageable and enjoyable activity. Remember, the goal here is to provide you with healthy food while still being a fun hobby. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be well on your way to perfecting the perfect garden!