One of the worst sights that a newly invested gardener can have is to discover that a garden has been ransacked during the night. Predators like rabbits, deer and raccoons love fresh vegetables. Know what type of predators you have lurking in your neighborhood and be ready before it is too late. Rabbits do not like cats so sprinkling used kitty litter around the edges of the garden is helpful in keeping rabbits out without harming them. Deer are a beautiful species but let them rip your corn stalks in half and suddenly they do not seem so sweet. There are deer deterrents that can be purchased so a fence is not necessary.
Home gardening can provide lots of fresh food, a feeling of calmness and teaching one to be patient in creating and molding natural beauty. By planning for the upcoming spring, preparing the ground and selecting the right types of vegetables for your area, your first try at gardening can be a complete success. You will find hours flying by once you begin tending to weeds, watering and enjoying the artistic array that you have helped nature create.
Another idea for starting with good soil is a raised bed. Raised beds have gained attention for first time gardeners because the soil is in perfect shape for gardening. Proper drainage, no packed down dirt to work up, the soil warms quicker in the spring and plants are easier to tend to. Raised beds also add to the charm of a garden with defined wood lines that hold your garden in a conformed style. There are now kits that can be assembled easily so building your own is not the only way to have a raised bed.
Potted gardens are becoming popular when the luxury of a large back yard is not available and can work just as well as a plot of ground. 5-gallon buckets are the perfect way to raise tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and other hardy plants. They provide depth and cages can be fitted around the top so the vines have somewhere to travel. This is an excellent way to get the feel of certain types of vegetables, fruits and flowers that can be placed on a patio during the growing season.
What to Plant?
First year gardening should begin with vegetables that are suited for your area of the country. The most popular assortment of vegetables are beans, asparagus, peas, beets, brussel sprouts, beets, lettuce, radishes, carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes and corn. These plants perform very well in sunny areas with fertile soil. Other types of specialized vegetables can be planted as you become more familiar with what grows best in your region.
Laying the Groundwork
Laying out your garden begins with the direction of the rows. Running rows north and south gives the best air circulation plus provides good exposure by the sun. When rows are planted east and west, the shadow of the sun’s rising and falling tend to shadow one row after another, creating a domino affect of shade. Taller plants should be positioned on the northern end so there is never a shadow over the lower growing vegetables. Place medium sized plants in the middle and the root varieties on the far southern end.
Why Spacing is Important
Seeds are tiny and it is hard to imagine that they can burst into growth and expand but they do. Careful positioning of each seed can save you from having to thin out plants that have grown too closely to one another. Each gardening variety has a specific placement, depth and spacing that should be adhered to. For example, cauliflower seeds need to be spaced 18″ to 24″ apart while radishes and peas only require 2″. You will see why alignment and spacing is so important as your vegetables rise and demand room.