June Project: How to Start Your First Vegetable Garden

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Growing a vegetable garden provides many health and economic benefits. You'll eat fresh, crispy vegetables and save some grocery money in the process. You also get the benefit of working with your hands while planting and harvesting your garden.

However, there are a few simple tips for successfully starting your first vegetable garden. First, don't make your garden too big especially if it's your first. You don't want to be overwhelmed with the work involved with a vegetable garden. So, start with something around 8' x 10', and you'll manage it much better. If you want to expand later, that's fine too.

Second, find a spot that gets as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. Northern gardeners should insist on full sun. Third, you need to work the soil before planting. You can rent a tiller from your local hardware store to make the process easier. You'll also get great tips on how to use the equipment so you can be as efficient as possible. Don't remove the sod as a top layer just till it into the soil. If you remove the sod, it may create a poor drainage situation.

Next, you should determine what type of soil with which you're working. If you're unsure, you could even take a sample to a local hardware store that may have soil testing. You can also figure out your soil's pH level and what nutrients reside in the soil.

You may need to bring in topsoil if you have a sandy or clay soil. Compost could also work as a subsitute for topsoil if you can't afford it.

Next, make sure you purchase quality seeds. You want to bear some fruit from this garden, and good quality seeds will start you on the right path to success.

Easy crops are onions, peas, beets etc. To grow tomatoes, you should start them inside about two months prior to bringing them outside. You could also purchase transplants. You may want to avoid larger plants like corn and squash.

Finally, you'll have some predators (humans, animals and insects) that may want to attack your garden. To keep out rabbits and other small creatures, a wire mesh fence usually works. The fence may also deter some humans. If you see any insect infestation, don't wait to deal with the problem. Grab an insecticide to protect your plants.

Visit your local hardware store for fertilizer recommendations. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

Have an idea for a project or want to learn how to do something? Click here to submit your question or idea.

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