vegetable-garden

How to Grow a Marvelous Vegetable Garden for Beginners (The Ultimate Guide)

Are you looking for a great hobby outdoors? Do you want something that incorporates physical exercise and gives a huge sense of satisfaction? Plus, you also get to make some money eventually? Then vegetable gardening might be perfect for you. The benefits of vegetable gardening aren’t just limited to physical exercise though.

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Why Plant a Garden with Vegetables?

Vegetable Gardening

If you’re really wondering why you should consider planting your garden with vegetables, take a look at these reasons why.

#1. Fresh Produce – You get access to fresh produce that you know hasn’t been sitting around in storage for weeks or even months, before it hit the stores.

#2. Family Friendly Hobby Vegetable gardening is a hobby that can get everyone involved in it. From your kids to your spouse, family and friends, everyone and anyone can pitch in.

#3. Better Appreciation of Food – When your kids are involved in the vegetable gardening process, they will have a better appreciation of food. They will also be more interested in eating their greens since they helped harvest and look after them.

#4. Great Physical Exercise – Working in the vegetable garden involves a lot of physical activity. From weeding to watering plants to harvesting, it takes a lot of work and if you want a healthy hobby, vegetable gardening is a great one.

#5. Cut Down on the Grocery Bill – When you’re growing your own vegetables, you can check off a lot of items from your grocery list. You’ll be saving up a lot more money than you previously spent on them.

#6. More Control Over Quality – Since you’re growing vegetables, you are in control of the kind of pesticides, fertilizers and other factors that make an impact on the vegetables health. This ensures you have better control over quality and add a few tweaks here and there until you grow vegetables that you want.

#7. Better for the Environment – You can help the environment not only by planting trees but by growing vegetables as well. It also improves the ecosystem in your own garden as well.

#8. Instant Neatening of Garden – If you’ve always had a messy garden, growing vegetables will add a modicum of neatness to your garden.

#9. Make Some Money – So the harvest has been plentiful and good and you’re wondering what to do with so much produced? Simply sell it at a Farmer’s market where others can benefit from it and you get to make some money as well.

#10. You Learn to Plan – Growing vegetables requires a lot of planning and you really understand the importance of planning ahead. From sprouting to harvesting, your ability to plan can increase your success in gardening and also help you in other aspects as well.

Organic or Non-Organic Veggies – Which is Better?

Now that you have decided to plant vegetables, you might be faced with a minor conundrum. Should you plant organic or non-organic veggies? This question in turn will lead you to other questions as well so before you get confused about it, let’s take a closer look at them.

The Differences Between Organic and Non-Organic Vegetables

Organic vegetables are those that are grown naturally. All pesticides used are natural ones and all processes and procedures are done without the use of synthetic materials or procedures. On the other hand, non-organic vegetables make use of chemicals, pesticides and other synthetic procedures for their production.

Organic Vegetables

When it comes to quality, non-organic vegetables tend to be more visually pleasing while organic vegetables are more unique and original-looking. This is due to the use of pesticides and other ingredients that change the appearance of the vegetables. Non-organic vegetables can also last longer in storage since they have been treated for this purpose. Organic vegetables tend to have a shorter shelf life.

Is Organic Better Than Non-Organic?

To be very honest, studies have been inconclusive in linking whether organic products are really better for you or not. There is no denying the fact that organic vegetables are better for your garden as well the environment. They do not pose any threat should any runoff or flooding occur. The pesticides used for organic gardening are natural and can easily be broken down.

Organic Vegetables

The pesticides used for non-organic gardening have been linked with the development of cancer and other ailments that are not healthy for the body. It should be noted that organic gardening has a different methodology to it compared with non-organic gardening. However, this shouldn’t be a huge issue since you will have to dedicate a good 3 to 4 hours each day to this hobby to be able to successfully harvest anything with ease.

Popular Types of Vegetable Garden

After deciding on whether you’re going to grow organic or non-organic vegetables, you have to pay attention to what kind of garden you want. If you aren’t aware of the different kinds of gardens you can utilize, the following are the most common ones.

1

In-Ground Gardening

In-Ground Gardening

If your backyard has good soil, you can easily make an in-ground garden. You can also have the backyard soil treated to make the environment perfect for the plants. Keep an eye on how well the soil retains water. If it starts to form a puddle, it won’t drain water properly. If it drains well, has good soil and gets a good amount of direct sunlight, start growing vegetables in it today. A 500 feet ground garden can be extremely economical, being capable of producing enough to keep a family fed for 4-8 months with ease.

2

Raised Bed Gardening

Raised Bed Gardening

Raised bed gardening refers to using a raised platform where you can easily grow your vegetables. It also gives you more control over the product since you get to choose the location as well as the quality of the soil. A raised garden is, in many ways, like a container garden except for the fact that it lacks the flexibility that container gardening allows.

3

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

If you don’t have enough space, container gardening is an extremely popular option. With container gardening, you get more control over the soil that is in the container as well as ensure that all your plants get enough sunlight. All you have to do each day is move them to the perfect spot.

4

Window Box Gardening

Window Box Gardening

Window box gardening is extremely popular with people living in apartments since they can usually grow small vegetables and herbs in them. There are limitations regarding the kind of plants you can grow in a window box. Much like container gardening, window box gardening can be a bit challenging, especially in providing the perfect microenvironment in which the plant can thrive with ease.

In-ground gardens and raised bed gardens are permanent while container and window box gardens are a little bit more flexible. Nonetheless, each type of garden comes with a multitude of challenges.

The Ultimate Guide on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden

1. What to Plant

Types of Vegetables

Types of Vegetables

When it comes to deciding on the vegetables you want to plant, you have to take a few factors into account, particularly the seasons. Based on these factors, plants fall into two categories.

Cool-Season Vegetables – These vegetables are the ones that thrive in cold or chilly winter weather and are rather hardy as well.

Arugula (rocket), Broccoli, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Collards, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Cauliflower, Chard, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Kale, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Mizuna, Onions, Peas, Bok choy, Potatoes, Spinach, Radishes, Coriander.

Warm-Season Vegetables – These vegetables are the ones that thrive in warm weather and don’t do well if the temperature drops too much.

Beans, Cucumbers, Corn, Edamame, Okra, Eggplant, Peppers, Squash, Pumpkins, Sweet potato, Tomato, Tomatillo, Watermelon, Herbs, Zucchini, Basil.

Plants for Your Zone

Apart from the climate, you have to pay attention to the hardiness of the zone that you fall in. The hardiness zone refers to the soil hardness as well as the normal temperature that the area experiences. This will greatly make an impact on the kind of plants you are able to grow successfully.

In the US, the land is subjected to Zone 3 to Zone 9 and the success of the harvest is based on this factor. If you are in a cooler zone and would like to grow crops meant for a hotter zone, you can make use of a greenhouse. This will, of course, be a bit more difficult to manage but it is possible.

Top 10 Easiest Vegetables to Plant

Rank

Image

Name

Description

#1

Carrots

Care has to be taken in spacing them as well as providing enough depth for them to grow. Apart from that, they don’t require special attention. Make sure you plant them in loose, well-drained soil otherwise they tend to grow a bit deformed.

#2

Potatoes

These are extremely fun to grow, especially with kids. They can be grown with ease in potato bags or even a bucket and simply need to be covered with more soil as the shoots grow.

#3

Beets

Beets are exceedingly easy and can grow on their own. Again, pay attention to spacing but if you want small beets, feel free to space them closer to each other.

#4

Cucumbers

These thrive well in warm weather and good sunlight and you have to be sure to give them support. Once you make the conditions ideal for them, they’re going to grow like weeds and you will have enough to share around.

#5

Peas

Another no-hassle plant, peas don’t require a lot of special attention. They do need a trellis to grow properly. For this reason, you can easily leave them to grow as is.

#6

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are also exceedingly popular and grow just like cucumbers do. They do needs loads of support and good sunlight but if these conditions are met, you can expect a bountiful harvest of tomatoes. If you grow tomatoes near basil, it’ll work as a natural repellent to most pests.

#7

Onions

Growing onions is also an easy process and much like radishes or beets, you can either grow them from seeds or grow them from bulbs. They thrive without much attention and you can easily get a good harvest from them.

#8

Lettuce

These are also easy to grow but you have to be careful with placement as they tend to be rather easy to burn if exposed to strong sunlight. They also tend to be happier in the shade and plenty of water.

#9

Mint

Hardy and growing easily, you should grow your mint in a pot since it tends to love moist soil and will grow anywhere very easily. Used as a garnish or for other home remedies, you will love to have this cool herb as a part of your vegetable garden.

#10

Radishes

These grow extremely fast and extremely well on their own. Whether you grow them from a seed, they are far easier to grow and tend to not require a lot of aftercare as well.

2. When to Plant

Whether you’re planting summer plants or winter ones, you have to understand when to plant them. Take a look at this chart that can help you figure out when you should sow the seeds and reap what you sowed.

Plants

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Beans

Beets

Cabbage

Carrot

Corn

Cucumber

Melon

Onion

Peas

Peppers

Potatoes

Pumpkin

Spinach

Squash

Tomatoes

Keys for the Chart:

Sow

Harvest

3. Choosing Location

Starting a vegetable garden requires a lot more care than simply bringing a little plant over and seeing how it thrives. The success behind your vegetable garden lies in how well you plan it. The main reason is that once it’s planted, it’s pretty much permanent.

Garden Location

You cannot move your vegetable garden. This is why you need to pick a place that provides enough sunlight, is well ventilated and can be drained of water with ease as well.

When you’re picking a spot, you have to pay attention to three factors.

Sunlight

Sunlight

Good amount of sunlight is essential as vegetables require a minimum of 6 hours or a maximum of 8 hours of direct sun in order to flourish. Without direct sunlight, plants tend to be a bit more vulnerable to insect attacks and also tend to develop plant diseases. This also means that they may not yield as much.

Water

Watering Vegetables

Watering plants is essential with some requiring to be watered at least once or twice a day. Vegetables can be hardy but it depends on the ones that you choose. Most are rather sensitive and can survive dry spells only if they are frequently watered. For this reason, you need to pick a garden spot that is already near some source of water. The nearer it is to water, the easier it will be for you.

Soil

Soil

Apart from the sun and the water, you also need to pay attention to the soil where the plants are growing. The kind of soil you have will greatly impact the overall yield, health and how successfully a plant will grow.

4. Preparing Soil

After picking a location, you need to prepare the soil. To do so, follow these steps to prepare your garden:

Preparing Soil
  • Bring out a shovel and plough and till the area you want to plant in. Make sure to till the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Remove stones, debris and other buried objects for a smooth surface to work on.
  • Take some time to analyze the soil’s condition in order to ensure that it is at the perfect consistency. If there is too much sand, your soil will tend to run dry but if you have too much clay, it will be too wet, rooting the roots of plants. You can easily ask a garden center to analyze the soil for you.
  • Always fertilize before planting and pick an organic option. Compost or manure are good options and you should work the compost into the tilled soil.
  • Once you’ve distributed the compost, add some topsoil just like you spread the compost on it.
  • Wait for 10 to 15 days before you start to plant.

Note: Ideally, your soil should be prepped with compost at least two seasons before you intend to plant anything. Also have two different garden areas where you can rotate planting and let one patch rest for a season.

5. Sowing Seeds

You might be tempted to simply poke the seeds into the soil but this is never a good way to start. For starters, you have to pay attention to the soil temperature. If the soil is cold due to the weather, you will have to induce the seeds to germinate in containers before you put them in the soil.

This improves their chances of survival. Based on this factor, you can plant the seeds in the following manner.

Direct Seed Sowing

Direct Sowing

Planting seeds, directly in the soil is only suitable for seeds such as peas, lettuce, beans, cucumber, sweet corn and others like them.

This is also suited for seedlings that would suffer from being transplanted such as parsnips and carrots that lose their shape and experience irregular growth.

In-Direct Seed Sowing

In-Direct Sowing

These are meant for plants that are induced to germinate before they are transplanted into the garden.

These are meant for any seeds that are grown early as well as for seeds that are so small, that they might get lost in the soil.

You can also soak some seeds overnight before planting them. Make sure to bio-degradable pots for in-direct sowing.

6. Watering

Now that all your seeds are planted, you’ll want to pay attention to their water needs. Most people tend to water their plants early in the morning. Take a look at this video that explains it all.

When to Water

For certain plants, it is necessary to water them in a certain time frame of their growth. If proper watering is not done, they may not grow as easily. Based on their growth cycle, you can easily water your plants twice a day and increase watering when they start to flower.

When to Water Plants

Certain vine plants like lima beans, snap beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and peas require consistent frequent watering when they start to form pods and flower too. Root vegetables such as carrots, onions and potatoes are happy being watered once a day but once the vegetable starts to develop, they will require frequent watering too.

Pay attention to the weather as well since a drought or extremely hot or dry weather would require you to water your plants frequently too. Water your plants during the morning so that by noon, they’ve not only had their fill but excess water has evaporated as well.

How Much to Water

How Much To Water

Most plants do not require a lot of water but you should always water enough to soak the soil. The best way to know if you’re watering them enough is by checking the soil. Use your finger and push it at least 3 to 4 inches deep into the soil. If it’s dry you’ll have to water the plant. Keep in mind that certain plants or the weather may require more watering.

How to Water

Watering plants can be done in the following ways:

Hand Watering
 Hand Watering

The most common way yet while it can be easy and efficient in watering container or raised bed gardening, it wastes a lot of water too.

The best way to utilize hand watering is by creating a furrow or basin and fill it water near the plant. Once it’s filled, the plants will absorb the water from it slowly.

Sprinklers
 Sprinklers

These are the easiest way through which you water your plants and works best in in-ground gardens or if you want to water a large amount of plants at the same time.

They can run for a certain period of time which means your plants will get enough moisture to make it through the day.

Soaker Hoses
 Soaker Hose

An extremely efficient way to distribute water, soaker hoses contain holes along the pipe and slowly release water into the soil as needed. '

Paired with some mulch, they can keep your plants and vegetables well hydrated, particularly during the warm seasons.

Mulch
 Mulch

Organic mulch works like a fertilizer as well as helps conserve moisture in soil and reduces the appearance of weeds.

The mulch helps keeps plants hydrated and cuts down on moisture loss that can happen due to the sun.

7. Fertilizing

Using fertilizers is necessary for the growth of the plant. If left to grow on its own, the plant will have little choice.

Fertilizing

Types of Vegetables Fertilizer

When it comes to vegetable fertilizers, you can choose from two major kinds:

Organic Fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers

These consist of compost, mulch, manure, as well as water soluble solutions that are perfect for nourishing plants.

Non-Organic Fertilizers
Non-Organic Fertilizers

While they are more heavy duty, these usually have an exceedingly large amount of chemicals in them which do seep into the produce.

How to Choose a Fertilizer for Vegetables

Most fertilizers you see bear digits on them such as 12-12-12 or 4-12-0, these showcase the level of potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous the fertilizer has. Plants actually require a mixture that is rich in all three. Certain natural products are rich in these and therefore are perfect for use.

Moreover, the ratio of nitrogen and potassium make the most impact on the plant’s growth. A ratio of high potassium can be perfect for flowering, fruit and vegetable bearing plants while a ratio of high nitrogen can be better suited for plants that are revered for their foliage.

This video helps to shed more light on how you can calculate the ratios in order to apply it in the best process.

How Often To Fertilize

When considering fertilization, you should always nurture your soil before you put any plants into it. Once they are planted, you need to pay attention their harvesting time. Most plants need another dose of nutrients before they are ready to be harvested. Tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cucumbers and cabbage need some extra fertilizer around four to six weeks after the seedlings have been transplanted.

How Often To Fertilize

Once they show signs of blooming or their forming bulbs, you should add some more fertilizer. Some plants can be rather picky regarding the nitrogen content so be sure to use it lightly. Keep an eye on your plants as well and observe them to figure out if the plants are getting all their nutrients or not. Their leaves are very indicative of high levels of nitrogen or phosphorous

How to Apply Fertilizer to Vegetables Garden

There are three main ways through which you can apply fertilizers to the vegetables in the following ways:

#1 - Side Dressing

When you add fertilizer around the plant rather than on the plant, it is considered to be a side dressing. In dry form, you have to ensure that the fertilizer has been properly worked into the soil.

#2 - Foliar Feeding

This is available in a completely liquid format. All you have to do is add it to water according to the dilution instructions and spray it directly on the leaves of the plant.

#3 - Top Dressing

This is when you add a layer of fertilizer on the top soil of the entire garden area. This is also largely in solid, dry form and you can work it into the soil. This is usually done at the start, before any seeds are planted.

Foliar feeding and side dressing is usually reserved for succulents, sprouts and other growing plants that require a little extra when it comes to nutrients and minerals.

8. Weeding

Weeding

Where there are plants, there are bound to be weeds and they are in general, a major annoyance for most gardeners. Weeds are parasitic plants that, if allowed to grow can end up stunting the growth of your plants.

Types of Weed

Based on the characteristics of their growth, they can be divided into the following groups:

Annual Weed
Annual

These weeds have a lifespan of 1 year in which they grow, spread seeds and die.

These can grow in winter and in summer as well. Common annual weeds are chick weed and lambsquarters.

Biennial Weed
Biennial

These weeds have a lifespan of 2 years in which they grow and form flowerets in the first year and spread seeds and die in the second.

These can also grow in winter and in summer as well. Common Biennial weeds include garlic mustard and bull thistle.

Perennial Weed
Perennial

These weeds are the hardest to control. They have long tap roots and cannot only spread by seeds but by through bulbs, spores or more, which allow them to return every year.

Common perennial weeds include plantain, dandelions, and purple loosestrife.

Top 10 Most Common Weeds

When it comes to weeds, you should know which ones are the most common to look out for. The following are 10 common varieties:

Rank

Image

Name

Description

#1

Bluegrass

Bluegrass

Also known as wintergrass, it has a bright green color with seed heads that are grain like in consistency. It usually shows up in Bermuda lawns.

#2

Bermuda Grass

The Bermuda grass has a light green weed that is perennial. It has textured leaves and spreads with stolons, by spreading seeds and even rhizomes and it can be extremely tough to control.

#3

Broadleaf Plantain

Despite the fact that it is a weed, the Broadleaf Plantain is extremely healthy. It’s a very hardy weed and rather difficult to get rid of once it takes root.

#4

Burclover

A delicate plant, the Burclover is easy to spot due to its clover like leaves and its light green hue as well as the yellow hue of the flowers. The Burclover relies on its speed pod which is spiny and gets attached like a burr to hooks.

#5

Crabgrass

This is an attractive weed with a blue green hue that is often tinged with a deep purple hue. It forms a tight compact circle, much like a crab which has earned it the name. Getting rid of it can be a bit difficult since they can go several feet high if left to grow undeterred.

#6

Dallis Grass

Tall and light green in color, the Dallis grass is light green in color and tends to have seed pods that are similar to the shells at the end of a rattlesnake’s tail.

#7

Dandelion

Dandelions are much loved as wild flowers but they are a perennial weed and one that is difficult to get rid of once it has been allowed to take root.

#8

Dock

The Dock appears as a lovely rosette, featuring dark green leaves, with a tall stalk for a flower. However, its color changes to rusty brown when it dries.

#9

English Daisy

The English daisy is common but it is also a favorite and many people tend to let it be. The flowers with a yellow center and white petals upon it are rather iconic. This can be a difficult weed to get rid off but few people want to do that to the English daisy.

#10

Stinging Nettles

Another useful weed, stinging nettles are popularly used in making nettle tea and they are even eaten as well. Remember to put on some gloves when removing the nettles. Stinging nettles can give an irritating rash when they are pulled out.

Weeding Methods

If you want to remove any kind of weed, the first step you have to do is to pull out the weed that you want gone. Be sure to remove it completely, without leaving behind any bulbs or roots and spores. Once you’ve pulled the weeds out, grab a rake or a rototiller and work on the soil, breaking at least 6-8 inches of the soil.

Once you have done that, rake it to smoothen it again and water it as you go along. Once you have the area ready in this manner, you can begin to get rid of the weed in the following manner.

Chemical Method

Chemical Method

The chemical method involves using herbicides that are non-selective. Spray this evenly onto a weed, covering it completely. Be careful in use since non-selective herbicides will kill all and any plants it comes in contact with.

Non-Chemical Method
Non-Chemical Method

The non-chemical methodology requires the use of mulch, cling wrap or even black and white newspaper to choke the weeds out. Mulch absorbs the excess the water while also limiting the space for weeds. Since they thrive on these two things, taking these away helps to get rid of them.

Take a look at this video that highlights how you can get rid of weeds in your garden on your own.

9. Controlling Pests and Preventing Diseases

With any garden, you are going to have pests but with a vegetable garden, you tend to face more loss. The juicy vegetables you grow are going to attract pests who not only ruin the harvest but also tend to weaken and stunt the growth of the plant as well.

Pests can either be animals such as rabbits, deer, moles, or they can insects such as caterpillars, aphids, snails and slugs. To get rid of them you can easily work out an organic method. Until and unless your plant is ill, do not try to use chemicals for controlling pests and diseases.

Controlling Pests

Controlling Pests

Organic ways to control pests includes:

  • Mixed planting for natural anti-pest qualities. For example: Planting buckwheat along with any other vegetable plant. Buckwheat successfully attracts hoverflies that are great at getting rid of leafhoppers, aphids and other kinds of mealy bugs.
  • Introduction of small predators for insect pests such as frogs or ladybugs for caterpillars or aphids.
  • Rotation of crops to benefit the soil as well as improve garden’s ecosystem for better crops.
  • Installation of pest traps for rabbits, moles and other large animals that tend to enjoy munching on these crops.
  • Controlling the environment to prevent the growth of various plant based diseases.

10 Homemade Organic Pesticides for Vegetables

Apart from these organic measures, you can also make use of different organic pesticides that can help to get rid of pests and other plant based diseases. The following are 10 that you can make for your plants.

#1. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth

This is a fine white powder that proves to be fatal to most bad insects. It is very effective in helping to get rid of ants, aphids, cockroaches, mites, aphids and slugs and snails too. Luckily it doesn’t appear to affect those that are beneficial for the ground.

All you have to do is sprinkle some on areas where the bugs are coming. Remember to reapply if it rains or if the bugs haven’t gone away.

#2. Neem Oil
Neem Oil

Neem oil is extremely potent and is hailed as having tons of benefits for the human body. Apart from this factor, Neem oil is also very effective as a natural pesticide and is the perfect insect repellent, successfully deterring 200 different kind’s bugs and species. It also helps to keep plants happy, healthy and free from mold, fungi and mildew as well.

To do so, mix a teaspoon of neem oil with 1/3 teaspoon of soap and mix them together in a quart of water. Use this mix as needed.

#3. Pesticide – Epsom Salt
Epsom Salt

Epsom salts can also be great as pesticides and you can use them in solid form or liquid too, spraying the solution on to the bugs. All you have to do is dissolve at least one cup of Epsom salts into water, at least five gallons of it. Then all you have to do is spray it on the plants.

Whether you use it in solid form or in liquid form, you will be helping your plants out too since Epsom salt appears to be high in magnesium and improves absorption of nutrition for the plants from the soil.

#4. Blend of Essential Oils
Blend of Essential Oils

Certain essential oils are great at keeping bugs and pests out of the garden and keeping your veggies healthy and happy. The following are a few of them:

  • Rosemary Oil – It helps repel mosquitoes, fleas, caterpillars and other insect larvae.
  • Peppermint Oil – It helps get rid of squash bugs, ants, beetles, aphids, and fleas.
  • Thyme – It helps get rid of biting insects such as ticks, roaches and chiggers.
  • Clove – It helps repel various flying insects.
  • Cedarwood – This works best in helping to get rid of slugs and snails.

If you want to make a pesticide that is all purpose, with essential oils, mix 1 teaspoon of vodka with 10 drops of each with an ounce of water. Always shake well before you use it on the crops.

#5. Chrysanthemum Flower Tea
Chrysanthemum Flower Tea

Chrysanthemum flowers are extremely potent, containing a substance called pyrethrum that wreaks havoc on the nervous systems of the insects, completely immobilizing them.

To make this, all you need to do is boil at least 100 grams of chrysanthemum flowers (dried) with a liter of water. Boil them in the water for 20 minutes before straining them and cooling the mixture. Use in conjunction with some neem oil to make it more potent.

#6. White Oil Spray
White Oil Spray

Any vegetable oil, plant based, that you see in the kitchen is considered to be white oil. Used as a pesticide, it helps get rid of soft body aphids, as well as mites. Mix a cup lemon juice with 1/4 cup of liquid soap. Now shake everything well before you start to spray everything.

Keep in mind that this is just a concentrate and when using it on your plants, you must dilute it further. When you are treating your plants, you only want to mix 1 tablespoon of the white oil solution with at least four cups of water. If stored properly, the white solution will last for three months.

#7. Garlic Spray
Garlic Spray

Garlic has a lot of anti-bacterial qualities as well and is also anti-fungal in nature too. Used as a pesticide, it can effectively keep bugs at bay. The strong odor it emits might dissuade rabbits, moles and other animals from snacking on the growing greens as well. 

For a garlic spray, you need to take five bulbs of garlic, crushed, and add them to 17oz of warm water. Let this infuse together for at least 6 hours. After 6 hours, add a bit of dishwashing liquid pass the solution through a sieve to get the lumps out. Now dilute the liquid with a gallon of water and use as needed. Keep in mind that this could destroy the good bugs too so you should spray this only when you need to deal with an unhealthy infestation.

#8. Citrus Insecticide
Citrus Insecticide

A citrus spray won’t just keep your cats away; it will also help deal with a dearth of pesticides that are threatening to destroy your crops. This is especially effective in dealing with aphids.

To make a citrus insecticide, you need to grate the rind off of one lemon. Boil a pint of water and remove it from heat once it boils. Add the grated lemon rind to it and let it soak overnight before straining the solution. Now pour it into a spray bottle and douse any and all aphids with it. Be sure to coat them completely.

#9. Castile Baby Soap
Castile Baby Soap

Castile Baby soap can be an extremely good method through which you can get rid of soft bodied bugs like spiders, aphids and spider mites as well as other soft bodied bugs.

For this spray, all you have to do is mix a tablespoon soap with a quart of water. Make sure it is warmed so that you can mix the soap in easily. If you want to boost it, add a bit of essential oil to the mixture or add some cayenne or garlic powder to use it.

#10. Hot Pepper Spray
Hot Pepper Spray

Hot pepper sprays can actually be great pesticides since even the bugs cannot handle the heat. To make a pesticide, be sure to get your hands on the habanero chili peppers or others that are equally as hot.

Chop them up and using a food processor, blitz 2 peppers with 2 onions and 2 bulb of garlic. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid soap to the mixture and let it soak at least 12 hours. Now add 1 quart of water and stir thoroughly. Use this mixture twice a week on your plants for best results.

This video helps to illustrate 10 common vegetable garden pests and how you can get rid of them with ease.

Preventing Diseases

Preventing Diseases

When it comes to preventing diseases in plants, you have to watch them for signs of weaknesses or illnesses. Some plants can be prone to certain afflictions whereas certain conditions that you have in your garden might be attracting the illness. Either way, to prevent disease, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • The garden should get at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Without proper sunlight, your plants will be weak and sickly and susceptible to diseases.
  • When buying seeds or transplanted plants, pick healthy ones and strains that are known to be disease resistant. Check the plants for signs of disease such as yellow mottled leaves, fungi or more.
  • Pay close attention to the seasonal conditions for planting your seeds. Planting seeds early stunts their growth and makes them susceptible to diseases.
  • Use organic fungicide on your plants, particularly if they are organic in nature and keep your plants protected before the disease strikes it down.
  • When you’re done harvesting, remove all plant matter from the soil. Don’t leave anything behind since it will rot and turn into a breeding ground for plant diseases.

10. Harvesting and Storing

Harvesting

Once you’ve successfully safeguarded your vegetables from all possible harm, it’s time to harvest and store them properly. Failing to harvest your plants at the right time can result in all your hard work going to waste. Improper storage of the produce can also lead to a lot of wastage as well.

If you’re wondering when and how you should be storing your vegetables, the following are certain guidelines you can use.

Image

Name

When To Harvest

How To Store

Snap Beans

After the first bloom, wait two to three weeks. Pick them when they are still tender and snap when bent.

Freezing works best to store them for long periods of time.

Cucumbers

Pick when they are at the size you want. Avoid overly large or over ripe cucumbers as they can be bitter.

Easy to store in a refrigerator, wrapped in plastic or a ziplock bag and use within 10 days

Tomatoes

Pick according to ripeness. They should be slightly firm to the touch. The red hue can differ based on the variety you’re growing

Easy to store in a refrigerator. Tomatoes can be easily frozen, dried or even canned for later use

Beets

Pull beets around 8 to 9 weeks after they are planted. They should be around 1 to 3 inches in width

Easy to store in a refrigerator. Be sure to separate the leaves from the root. Can last up till 3 weeks

Peas

Check a pod to test for ripeness. Based on the peas inside it, you can check if it is ready to harvest

Peas can easily be stored, frozen and refrigerated for later use

Potatoes

Harvest potatoes after 45 to 55 days. For larger potatoes, wait another week

Can be stored in a dry, cool area. Will last for 5 days or 3 weeks based on the variety

Carrots

Can be harvested 2 to 3 weeks after they are planted or when they are at the size you like

Can be stored in a dry, cool area. Make sure there is proper ventilation. Will last for 2 weeks if they are kept properly

Garlic

Can be harvested around 15 weeks after being planted

Store in a cool, dry place. Can last for months if unpeeled. Can also be dried and stored

Cabbage

Can be harvested after 17 weeks. The heads should be formed and will be firm in texture.

Can be refrigerated. Will last for one or two weeks

Peppers

All peppers can be harvested around 20 to 60 days since their growth.

Hot peppers can be pickled, canned and dried for storage purposes. Bell peppers will last 5 days

Broccoli

Harvest when the heads begin to form but before they start to flower

Wrap in cling wrap and store in a refrigerator. Can last for a week. Can also be frozen for later use

Eggplants

The skin should be shiny and a bright dark purple color. They should 4 to 6 inches in width

Easy to store in a refrigerator. Can last up to 5 days.

Watermelons

Tap on the watermelon to hear a hollow thunk for ripeness. The underbelly will be yellow in color and the tendrils around stem will have started to wither

Difficult to store in a refrigerator. Can be kept in cool, dry area. If uncut, it will last easily for a week. If cut, it can last for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Pumpkins

Harvest when they have reached full size. It can differ according to the type of pumpkins you have planted

Difficult to store in a refrigerator. Can be kept in cool, dry area. If uncut, it will last easily for a week. If cut, it can last for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Okra

Cut pods when they are 2 – 4 inches in length. Pick every 2 days since it will continue to produce until harvest season is over

Easy to store in a refrigerator. Will last up to 3 days

Sweet Corn

Harvest when the silk turns a deep brown.

Store in a cool, dry area. Keep the corn on the cob until you are ready to use.

Sweet Potatoes

Harvest before the first frost. They should be 3 to 6 inches in length

Store in a warm, dry place to let it cure. Will last for 2 weeks

Radishes

Ready to harvest in 3 weeks. Harvest them when they are young

Easy to store in a refrigerator. Can last up to 2 weeks

Cauliflower

Harvest when heads are 6 inches in diameter. Make sure you wrap the head to prevent it from yellowing

Easy to store in a refrigerator. Can last for 1 week

Summer Squash

Harvest when almost 6 inches in diameter. Use fingernail to test the skin which should puncture easily

Easy to store in a refrigerator. Can last for 5 days

Always make sure that you have a good amount of storage space available, in accordance with your harvest. Make sure that these storage areas are inaccessible by pests, free of mold and or other detrimental factors that could make an impact on their shelf life and durability.

10 Common Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

While some people have a green thumb, you might also have a bit of bad luck with your plants when you are starting out. If that’s the case with you, don’t despair. When you’re starting out, certain mistakes are going to be rather common. The following are a few of them that you should try to avoid.

Rank

Mistakes

Description

1

No Soil Tests

After every harvest, you need to run a soil test to gauge the fertility of the soil and what nutrients you need to replace in order to have another successful harvest.

2

Watering Too Much

Plants aren’t always dying of thirst so avoid watering them too much. Check the soil to see if it is time to water the plants. Overwatering can lead to rotted roots as well as cause other plant diseases.

3

No Fertilizing

Fertilization is necessary before, during and after you plant vegetables. Failure to provide the proper fertilizer could mean stunted plants and a poor harvest too.

4

Always Opting for Seeds

Don’t be afraid of opting for short cuts by buying seedlings. If you’re just starting out with gardening, it can be difficult to grow plants from seeds so opt for these seedlings.

5

Forgetting the Labels

When planting vegetables, always label the plants. Even seasoned gardeners can have trouble identifying which plant is which.

6

Spacing Your Plants

Vegetables need a lot of space to thrive and few are happy growing shoulder to shoulder. To avoid stunting the growth of the vegetables, always ensure that you have spaced them out properly.

7

Staggering the Yield

Staggering the yield means that you plant them at intervals, in order to ensure that your plants ripen slowly and at different times. This will ensure that you don’t end up with a huge harvest that has to be utilized immediately.

8

Starting Seeds Too Early

Always pay attention to the weather when you want to start seeds. If you start them too early, you will end up with a bunch of seedlings that are getting stressed indoors since the climate isn’t perfect to plant them outside.

9

Searching for Information

There’s more information available on gardening than what is written at the back of a seed packet. Don’t rely on it alone. Search out gardening books, articles and other resources. Talk to other gardeners in order to get more information regarding their experience with certain vegetables.

10

Overplanting

It is very easy to miscalculate how much a little plant can yield. One cherry tomato plant can yield 80 tomatoes. For this reason, you don’t need to grow 10 tomato plants when three or even two can be better for you.

When it comes to gardening, there is a lot that can go wrong but the trick lies in not beating yourself up about making them and learning from them. Make sure you don’t repeat these mistakes more than once.

Creative Vegetable Gardening Hacks from Famous Blog

We’re now at the end of our blog and before we say good bye, we’d like to share a few more gems of wisdom with you from all across the internet.

Soda Sweet Tomatoes

A gardening blog run by Carol Speake, the Gardening Cook was started as a hobby in 2012. By combing her love for cooking and gardening, Carol’s managed to uncover quite a few secrets in vegetable gardening including getting sweet tomatoes.

If you’re tired of not having tasty tomatoes, use baking soda to naturally sweeten them. Your tomatoes will definitely be much sweeter.

Wine Bottle Watering Hack

A collective blog run by a team of gardening enthusiasts, the Greenists have plenty of tips and tricks that allow you to cut down on your time as well as make gardening fund and easy.

If your plants aren’t getting enough water then you will like this hack a lot. All you need is an empty wine bottle. Fill it up with water. Now pop it into the soil. This helps keep the plant hydrated for a day or two if you’re lucky.

Eggshells Seedlings

An award winning blog, Squawk Fox is run by Kerry K Taylor. Covering topics from finance, to investing and even food, Kerry has the best tips and tricks around.

Here, Kerry shows how you can save time and money by starting your seedlings in eggshells. Since they contain nutrients, minerals and healthy proteins, egg shells tend to make healthier seedlings too.

Filtering to Retain Water

A blog with a global readership, POPSUGAR was started by Lisa Sugar in 2005. Slowly, the business has grown to encompass every aspect of lifestyle.

Take a look at this nifty trick to avoid making a mess when transferring soil. Simply line your pots with an old coffee liner or filter. Doing so makes it easier to lift plant for repotting as well as retains water, keeping the plants moisturized for longer.

Plastic Forks to Keep Pets Away

Kelly Dixon runs that show at Smart School House and she’s got plenty of neat hacks to try like this one. If your pets or other animals are nosing around in your garden, you can plant few plastic forks in the soil to prevent any damage.

The plastic forks will be gentle enough to give the animals a few pokes on their noses when they are trying to snack on the plants. You can also use these forks to correctly space out the plant as well.

Growing Watermelons on a Trellis

Part of the Taunton Home and Garden Network, the Vegetable Gardner has plenty of tips and tricks to offer.

If you’re growing watermelons, on a trellis, place the fruit in little slings, made by t-shirts on the trellis. This takes a lot of the weight off the vine and also ensures that it doesn’t break from the weight of the fruit.

100 Pounds of Potatoes in a Barrel

Run by a team of talented individuals, the Goods Home Design is an online home design magazine that aims at making life easier for everyone.

Take a look at this neat tip that allows you to grow potatoes in a barrel with ease. All you need is a wooden barrel - 50 gallon, wooden whiskey barrel - fill it with soil add a few potatoes and you’re good to go.

Citrus Peel Starters

A quirky blog run by a fun individual, My Roman Apartment has plenty of tips, tricks and more about gardening and everyday life like this one.

If you don’t want to start your seedlings in an egg, how about exploring another eco-friendly, bio-degradable option by planting your seedlings in a citrus pot? All you need is half a peel of any citrus fruit, with the pulp scraped out.

DIY Organic Fertilizer Smoothie

Run by Marta who enjoys blogging about food and kitchen gardening as well. If some of your plants are in a sorry state, then it’s time to bring them back to life with the help of this great, pick me up fertilizer.

All you need is some banana peel, coffee residue, egg shells and water. Simply pour it onto any patch that needs a good dose of nutrients and you are good to go.

Tool Maintenance Pot

A blog run by Jillee, a super mom and a talk show host, One Good Thing by Jillee is packed with information, ranging from home gardening, DIY projects, and how to be thrifty.

Keep those themes in mind; Jillee shares how you can use some play area sand, mineral oil and a terra cotta pot to create a sharpening and self cleaning pot for the maintenance of your gardening tools.

Conclusion

Vegetable gardening for profit or for recreational purposes is a hobby that requires a lot of effort, time and dedication so be prepared to spend quite a bit of time outdoors. When you’re just starting out, there will be lots of trial and error but with hopefully, you can learn from them to grow a garden you like.

With the help of these nifty tricks, you can easily ensure that your garden stays in great shape. If you know of any amazing tricks or want to share your gardening stories, let us know in the comments below.

Resources & Further Reading

For more information, read up with the help of the following links.

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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