Starting a garden for vegetables is a great way to get fresh, healthy food and save money.
Here are five tips you should follow when starting your own vegetable garden:
1. Choose the Right Location
Before beginning your garden, you need to choose the right location for it. First, pick an area with adequate sunlight.
With a South or West-facing balcony, you'll have plenty of sunlight throughout the day, and you can grow anything. A balcony facing East gets enough sunlight in the morning to grow most greens, herbs, and root vegetables.
2. Pick Your Plants Carefully
Choose plants that do well in your local climate and soil type. Start with easy-to-grow varieties such as lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs.
Tomatoes and peppers are the easiest to grow. Beans, cucumbers, peas, and Malabar spinach grow vertically and take little space. You can plant zucchini, okra, eggplant, and melons in big or medium pots. In small pots, you can grow leafy green veggies like lettuce, spinach, mustard green, and fenugreek, as well as some easy root vegetables like radish, beets, carrots, ginger, and potato.
The size of the container depends on the plants that you are growing. Leafy veggies can be grown in small pots and window boxes. Plants like okra and brinjal need slightly bigger pots.
Railing and vertical planting pots are perfect for making the most of the limited space on a balcony. Salad greens can be grown in a tower planter, and small herb pots can be hung on the railings.
4. Use Quality Soil
Good soil is one of the most important aspects of gardening success, so invest in quality soil – if possible organic – and consider adding compost or aged manure to give it an extra boost of nutrients. Ensure all rocks and weeds have been removed from your soil before planting anything.
You can sow vegetable seeds on a seed tray. When the top two leaves have grown, transplant them. It's best to germinate certain vegetables that don't transplant easily in individual pots.
Gourds, melons, turnips, and squashes should not be transplanted as they tend to suffer damage when moved. Consequently, you must either put the seeds directly to their desired spot or handle their seedlings very carefully.
You can also buy vegetable seedlings. Buy the opines that are healthy and are free from pests or diseases.
6. Water Regularly
Keeping your vegetable garden watered regularly is key for producing healthy plants and good yields of fruits & vegetables since dry soil can cause them stress & damage their growth & development. But do not water at night time.
feed your plants every 2-4 weeks with balanced liquid fertilizer or apply compost or well-rotted manure twice during the growing season.
8. Protect the plants from pests and diseases
Organic pesticides, homemade insecticidal soaps, and neem oil can be used for severe pest infestations and diseases.
Using chemical pesticides and fungicides should be your last resort if you want to garden organically.
Dr. Vandana K.