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Is there anything better than having a meal with fresh vegetables straight from the garden? Knowing and caring for produce in your backyard makes it much more delicious when the time comes to eat.
However, growing a vegetable garden is far from simple. There are many factors that can impact the quality of your
Having trouble maintaining your vegetable garden this year? A landscaper can help. Contact a landscaping contractor today for quotes from pros near you, for free!
Common Vegetable Garden Issues
Gardening is truly a wonderful hobby for any homeowner. There are many wellness benefits gardening provide, from exercise to mental health improvements; not to mention, the accomplished feeling of cooking with the produce you’ve grown all on your own. These benefits are just the start of why gardening is a great activity to do in your backyard.
However, for first-time gardeners or seasoned pros, you know that there are many unpredictable factors that can affect your harvest. However, there are a few ways you can try to overcome those challenges, such as:
- Soil Testing
- Adequate Watering
- Pest Control
- Harvesting on Time
1. Get Soil Tested
You should always start the growing season by getting your soil tested. Not knowing what’s in your soil can cause slow growth, discolored leaves and produce, and low crop to harvest. If you want to have a successful vegetable garden, you must know what’s in your soil. For serious gardeners, it’s best to have it done professionally and get the advice of what you might need to add to enhance growth. The average cost of soil testing is $1,142, with most homeowners spending between $947 and 1,550.
2. Water Your Garden Adequately
Water is one of the most important things to help your vegetable garden grow. However, you must be watering the right amount. Too much water and your plant can rot; too little water can stop the plant from growing. You must find the right amount and at the right time too. It’s best to water your plants in the morning and in the evening with a rainfall setting on your hose.
If you’re having a hard time committing to each watering time, you might want to commit to a sprinkler system that can help. A hot item this year is smart sprinklers that can be controlled from your mobile device. The average cost to install a sprinkler system is $2,317, with most homeowners spending between $2,014 and $2,682.
3. Garden Pest Control
Pests are a common problem in most gardens. From rabbits who love to munch on your fresh vegetables to insects that can destroy leaves and stems, there are many you have to worry about. At the beginning of the season, start with some preventative methods such as planting peppermint and marigolds alongside your vegetables. These plants help to deter pests.
You may also want to install a small fence in your garden to keep out small rodents looking for food. Make sure this fence has no small access points, as squirrels, mice and more can easily fit under and through any cracks.
4. Weed Regularly
Just like your yard, you’ll need to keep your garden full of weeds. They are particularly problematic because they can soak up vital nutrients that should be going towards your plants. When you’re watering, do your best to aim directly for your row of vegetables, avoiding any extra soil nearby. Often, the soil will contain weeds that when left undisturbed, will do nothing. Another good tactic is to weed while the ground is wet, such as after a rainstorm. Be sure to weed regularly, pulling out both the leaves and the root.
5. Build A Garden Bed
To take your vegetable garden to the next level, you’ll want to build a garden bed. This will give you a bit more control over your soil and drainage then if you just planted into the ground. The good news is that a garden bed is a DIY project for someone with some experience cutting and drilling wood. GrowVeg has a great tutorial on how you can build a garden bed on your own.
6. Mulch Your Garden
If you haven’t considered it yet, mulch is a great way to improve your vegetable garden. It can help to hold nutrients and water in the soil, helping plants grow. It also aids in keeping pests and weeds away from your plants. For your vegetable garden, it’s a smart idea to use organic mulch to help enrich the soil as it decomposes over time. This is made from natural materials like leaves and bark. The average cost of mulch is between $200 and $2,000 depending on the type of mulch you need and how much area you’ll need to cover.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to mulch in the garden is to never place it on steams of plants, as this can cause them to rot. Place the mulch around the plants and in between crop rows.
7. Harvest Your Vegetables
Of course, one of the main objectives of your vegetable garden is to enjoy the produce you’ve grown. However, you must be diligent about harvesting your vegetables as they come in. Vegetables that are unused and left to sit can cause diseases to the plant or an infestation.
If you're lucky enough to have an overwhelming amount of produce in your garden that you don’t know what to do with, consider canning it to use in the winter. Pickles and salsas are great ways to put your fresh produce to use!
Vegetable gardens are a wonderful way to use the space in your backyard. Not only can you beautify your backyard, but you can also improve your mental and physical health by gardening. If you haven’t started your vegetable garden yet, it’s a good idea to start planning now!
You don’t need a large space to start a vegetable garden. Consider a container garden! Read How To Plant & Maintain A Container Garden for a few DIY tips.