What do You Need to Grow a Vegetable Garden?
Table of contents
- What do You Need to Grow a Vegetable Garden?
- Easy Things to Grow in a Garden
- Backyard Miracle Garden
- Raised Bed vs. In-Ground Garden
- Vertical Gardening
- What is a Soil Amendment?
- Microgreens – The Fastest and Easiest Things to Grow
- Watering a Garden Bed
- Aquaponics – A System for Easy Things to Grow in a Garden
- Fertilizing Your Vegetable Garden
- Protecting Your Garden
In this guide, we will discuss and learn about easy things to grow in a garden. You will find many tips and tricks to help you get started. We need to know how to survive without the mark of the beast. And, if anything deserves careful planning, this would be it! But, first of all, you need to make a commitment to it! It takes work to succeed. This is truly a trial-and-error project, and much depends on your location, climate, soil, tools, and know-how. Don’t miss my new article about Food Preservation because You’ll need to know what to do with all the produce from your garden.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you have the determination to make it work?
- Do you have the space for the size garden you want?
- Are you prepared to invest in tools, fencing, soil amendments, etc?
- Do you have plans and equipment in place to process the harvest?
- Do you prefer tilling the soil or creating a raised-bed garden?
Then, first things first. Once you have decided about the basics, find your best location. You will need as much sunshine as possible. Pick your spot (with good southern exposure) and watch the sun’s movement for a few days to make sure you have at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Are there any trees shading the area?
No matter how hard you work, those plants just won’t grow without adequate sunshine.
If there are trees or limbs blocking sunlight, you might need to cut them down.
However, you might think about how it’s viewed from the street. Because not only will you have to deal with 4-legged critters wanting to eat the food you’ve worked so hard for, but there may be 2-legged critters with the same appetite. By personal view is that I would gladly give anyone something to eat – but stealing it is another matter. You have to draw your own line on this one.
Also, you have to consider your neighborhood. Would a visible garden fit right in – or would your neighbors frown on it? Some areas won’t allow a garden in the front yard. Personally, I would locate it away from prying eyes.
Easy Things to Grow in a Garden
Some of the easiest vegetables to grow are Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans. They just grow and keep on growing and producing. However, they do need good support. You can use anything from bamboo sticks to a 4×4 frame with string for them to grow on. I’ve used this product and it does very well. After the season is over, you will need to either remove the dead vines or take this down and put up fresh for the next crop.
You can also build a DIY arch support system for climbing plants with PVC from your local garden center. Other climbing plants are cucumbers, peas, melons and tomatoes. Here are good tomato supports that I’ve used with great success:
Other easy plants to grow are cucumbers and peas. Just give them some good dirt, nutrients and something to grow on, and they will give you an abundance of food. They can grow on the same supports that you use for pole beans.
One important thing to remember: Your supports should be installed before planting your seed or vegetable plants. They will grow before you know it – and then it’s too late. Trust me – I’ve made this mistake before, and it’s not worth waiting.
Remember that cucumbers shouldn’t be planted next to melons or potatoes. More about companion planting in another article.
Backyard Miracle Garden
It sounds awful, but it’s true. Look around or watch the news, and you will see all the food processing plants closing. Milk is being poured out on the ground. We’ve got fires out west and floods in the midwest…not to mention the crop-destroying droughts. Put two and two together and realize that our food is going to be scarce, folks. Take steps now by learning how to feed your family and build a great backyard garden.
Raised Bed vs. In-Ground Garden
I have used both, and prefer the raised bed gardening method. Because it’s so much easier and can be built on legs if someone has trouble bending over – and there is a lot of bending over when you garden.
Raised beds are very popular and easy to build. They can be built from almost anything from concrete blocks to 2×6 lumber to corrugated metal. If you put them on legs, be sure to add extra support on the bottom due to the weight of dirt.
If your raised beds are on the ground, you’ll want to place several layers of newspaper on the ground under the beds. This will help stop weeds from growing. Some people section it off in 12″ squares, but others just plant the bed. Your choice!
No space? Grow up instead of out! Good candidates for vertical gardening are:
- Pole Beans
Plant and your spouse plants with you; Weed and you weed alone.Jean Jacques Rousseau
What is a Soil Amendment?
When preparing your bedding mix, you’ll want to know about soil amendments. Very simply, a soil amendment is any material added to a soil to improve its’ growing capability. You can add amendments to enrich the soil, increase water retention, drainage, and aeration. Adding diatomaceous earth will even help with pest control. Amendments could include:
- Fertilizers – provides mineral nutrients
- Animal manure – Chicken poop has to be seasoned, but rabbit poop can be used right out of the chute. Black Cow is cow manure and can be purchased at your home improvement garden center.
- Wood by-products, such as wood chips or sawdust
- Compost – from your own compost pile, or purchased. Mushroom compost is very rich in nutrients.
- Dead leaves – enriches the soil
- Peat Moss – helps retain moisture
- Vermiculite – porous pieces of minerals that helps retain moisture and minerals
- Perlite – good to add for aeration and drainage
- Sand – usually added to heavy clay soils to improve drainage
Microgreens – The Fastest and Easiest Things to Grow
Growing Microgreens at Home
If you live in an apartment or short on space, microgreens can be a lifesaver for your family. They take very little space and grow very quickly. Microgreens are highly nutritious and can keep your family fed. They are very easy things to grow in a garden. You’ll get a lot more food variety if you have a garden, but in the wintertime, this is well worth considering.
There are many varieties to choose from, and you might think about ordering a few from those different varieties to see which ones your family likes the best. My favorite by far is the radish. It is delicious.
You only need a light source, a few greenhouse trays, and water. Those microgreens will grow in just a few days’ time. A 5 or 6-tier shelf unit from a home improvement store is great if you can put some grow lights on each shelf. You can use the long tray or half-trays depending on how much product you need.
I would suggest getting your shelf units set up and ready to go. Then start one tray, and another one the next day…and so forth. When you have the last tray planted, the first one should be about ready to eat. Finish that one, and start that tray all over again. This way, you will have a fresh tray of greens every day. Set up a few more shelves, to grow enough to feed any chickens or rabbits that you have. Animal feed could quickly get scarce.
Watering a Garden Bed
Proper watering of a garden bed is essential to the plant’s growth. It can be a learning curve, but one that you will have to learn quickly for successful gardening. You can use a hose and water by hand, set up a sprinkler system, or use a drip-irrigation system. Be sure to read our guide to finding and storing water for personal use as well as garden watering.
Installing a drip irrigation system is by far the best way to water your garden. It provides the plants with a gentle but deep watering that the plants love. Drip irrigation is installed by placing drip hoses along the base of the plant and can be hooked up to a timer, which is almost a no-brainer for you. This method of watering keeps water off the plant leaves and will reduce fungal diseases caused by the excess moisture. If you use a timer, be sure to adjust it accordingly to avoid too much watering during those rainy days.
Keep in mind that deeper rooted vegetables need more/deeper water for optimum growth:
- White Potato
- Snap Beans
- Summer Squash
- Globe Artichoke
Mulching will help keep moisture in the ground.
**TIP** For tastier melons – reduce watering during the last few weeks.
Aquaponics – A System for Easy Things to Grow in a Garden
Aquaponics is a combination of Hydroponics and Aquaculture. Basically the plants grow on top of a fish tank. The fish grow in the water and their waste fertilizes the plant roots, which makes the plants grow. It’s a great concept.
You can grow several types of fish in the tank. Tilapia, Blue Gill, Crappie, Catfish, Carp or Koi.
The plants you can grow depend on the size of the system. Small aquaponic systems will grow lettuce, kale, spinach, arugula, wheatgrass, swiss chard or many varieties of herbs.
A large aquaponic system is capable of growing anything you would grow in a regular garden. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, squash, peas, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
If you want a great guide for setting up your own aquaponic system, check out the Aquaponics 4 Idiots system.
Fertilizing Your Vegetable Garden
Feed your plants well, and they will reward you with lots of fresh vegetables that you can enjoy year round.
For the best results, fertilize your garden plants regularly. One of my very favorite products is the Mittleider Magic It gives the plants a wonderful boost with essential minerals for awesome growth. Try it – you’ll like it!
Protecting Your Garden
Please don’t do all the work involved in growing a vegetable garden without protecting it. It will need protection from both weather, pests and animals.
Weather protection is self-explanatory. Start your plants indoors until the weather is warm enough for them to be planted outside. And in the fall, they can be covered when the temperature starts falling. I’ve had some of my best crops late in the season, but leaving them un-protected in below-freezing temperatures is sure to kill them quickly. You can use plastic for coverings, but be sure to remove it as the weather warms back up during the day. Otherwise, it will get too hot under the plastic when the sun is shining.
Pest protection is simply a matter of paying attention. I can’t stress enough how important it is to cover your cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts WHEN THEY ARE PLANTED. Do not delay because those little white moths will lay eggs before you know it – and it’s too late for those vegetables. I cover them with tulle from the fabric store. Be sure to secure it so the moths can’t fly inside through a small opening.
Don’t forget to protect against animals as well. A deer, rabbit, or squirrel (among others) will destroy a garden if they get a chance. They don’t seem to bother the potatoes, beans, and onions so much. But they sure love the tomatoes, melons, berries, etc. I completely enclose these plants in wire fencing to prevent a critter from having lunch.
We hope this guide to easy things to grow in a garden has been helpful to you. Don’t miss any of our informative articles on how to survive without the mark of the beast. When you can’t buy or sell, it will be important to know how to feed your family!