Design a Vegetable Garden
So you want to build a vegetable garden? Find out how to get started from determining the size of your garden to choosing the right vegetables, locating the optimal site, getting guidelines for building, and learning how to prepare the beds for planting. With instructions for best practices, including weeding, irrigating, and composting, VEGOUT! can help you maintain your garden. The fun part — harvesting the garden’s bounty — is up to you.
The basic ingredients for a successful vegetable garden are adequate sun, rich, balanced soil (organic composted topsoil), and sufficient water. Knowledge of suitable vegetable choices for your zone (6a/b), orientation of the garden, drainage, proper planting, and maintenance all contribute to a bountiful harvest.
- This basic site provides the ABC’s of gardening
- A more comprehensive site with helpful pictures to illustrate the information.
- Another source of valuable information about vegetable gardening, presented in a straightforward way.
- This site focuses on soil and garden preparation.
- This site is especially valuable for its links to other sites.
- A more general site with basic information.
- Cornell University’s site is an in-depth, comprehensive resource for all aspects of gardening
You have several options when starting your vegetable garden, ranging in time commitment and cost. Most time-consuming, but often the most rewarding, is to begin with growing your seeds indoors in the winter. In the spring, some seeds can be sown directly into the soil, and, of course, you can buy small seedlings and plant them when the conditions are right. Planting times and length of germination are specific to each vegetable.
- This site is particularly good for planting schedules in your Zone.
- Another helpful site that shows when to plant vegetables based on your zone, as well as instructions about planting seedlings.
- This site has a menu (in the left margin) that will lead you to a wide range of topics in vegetable gardening, including composting and starting seeds indoors.
- Another excellent site, full of easy-to-use information, (again, use the menu on the left side) about growing specific vegetables.
- Tips and plans for vegetable garden planting can be found on this fun site.
- For more great tips and articles dealing with specific growing concerns, use this site.
Select your seeds from these sites if your local purveyors don’t have what you’re looking for. Seeds are crucial, so be picky! This is where it all begins…
- This company is fantastic–great seeds, plants, cool tools and supplies, designs, and counseling. Ask them anything!.
- John Scheeper’s Seeds are high quality, some with amusing names for children. Wonderful horticultural tips are also available.
- Look here for Hudson Valley ‘How To’ events and a Seeder’s Digest.
- A great source for heirloom seeds.
- A more advanced site for those who want to get into saving and sharing seeds.
- Baker Creek heirloom seeds have a good reputation, and you can also read posted stories about the history of their seeds.
- Victory Seed Company takes pride in documenting and preserving their seeds.
The layout of your garden depends upon its location, the size of the planting area, and your choice of vegetables. Some vegetables require trellising or staking; others ramble along the ground; still others require multiple rows for production amounts. Remember to orient the garden on a north-south axis, with tall plants in the back.
- Go to this site for Edible Landscaping and Garden Design made easy.
- You can design your vegetable garden using their basic software.
- This site takes you through the factors to consider when designing a vegetable garden.
- Search here for interesting and fun vegetable garden layouts, particularly for kids.
- Ed Hume has simple advice and instructions about laying out and planting your vegetable garden.
- This site allows you to plan, design, and lay out your virtual vegetable garden.
- School gardens and backyard gardens done for you — just add sun and money!
A perimeter fence is recommended to keep out animals and provide structure for growing vertically. Raised beds provide various advantages: avoiding compaction, providing better drainage, increasing control over soil quality, and requiring less maintenance. A compost bin enables organic material to be recycled and used to feed future plants.
- A very straightforward, how-to approach to building a raised bed for a vegetable garden.
- This site has a building diagram and a tool list.
- With a video, concise instructions, and a materials list, this is one of the best sites around.
- This site shows you through pictures how to build grow-lighting for starting vegetable seeds indoors.
Here you’ll find local purveyors for construction materials, some of which are more organic and environmentally sensitive.
- This company sells gravel, topsoil, and fencing, and also delivers.
- If you can afford the delivery cost, this farm has organic, composted topsoil that’s pure gold.
- Garon Fence will build your vegetable garden if you provide the plans.
- The most durable of wood for garden construction, white oak, can be purchased here.
- Another great source for wood.
Maintenance Products and Services
Keeping up with the maintenance of your garden has to become an ongoing habit; it is an essential process from weeding and pest control to irrigation. Having the proper tools and garden products can facilitate your routine. Knowledge of preventative care practices can save time as well as vegetables.
- Rick Apgar and his staff can help you with vegetable garden supplies and answer almost any question you have. He is a Master Gardener.
- Fertrell products are the best there are, and most are pure organic.
- Choose from a selection of environmentally friendly lawn and garden supplies.
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds is one of the most dependable and valuable resources. Their customer care department will answer even the simplest question–just ask!
- The labor force at Neighbor’s Link is ready to help you with supervised garden construction or installation. You can go to the Job Bank of Skilled Workers tab to set up a schedule.
Composting is the most efficient, economical, and sustainable way to deal with your garden waste. Ultimately, compost becomes the very best fertilizer to use in your garden, and it’s free!
- This New York Botanical Garden site is a great starting point for the beginner. It has tips that will be the basis for a sustainable compost pile.
- For those who want more information, we recommend this site.
- This site has many compost bin styles to choose from, along with instructions on how to build them.
- Here you will find some tips about composting and bin construction plans.
- This Bedford 2020 organization has information on why, where, and when to mulch.
Watering your vegetable garden requires some basic knowledge about the requirements of each vegetable. Some gardeners prefer hand-watering and sprinklers, but many install irrigation systems with soaker hoses and/or overhead sprinklers.
Using a rain barrel and gravity-feed system is another alternative that is environmentally friendly. Some useful resources for helping you to decide which method works best for your needs follow:
- If you have a large-scale project requiring installation of an irrigation system, this is a local source.
- Here is another great local company that will develop an irrigation system to fit your needs. They’ll talk you through the options that fit your water pressure allowance and project.
- Mill River Supply is the best local resource for everything from watering cans to self-installed irrigation systems. They sell organic alternatives to most fertilizers.
- This is best site for information and products if you are thinking of purchasing a rain barrel.
- This is another good site for various styles of rain barrels.
Harvest, Storage, and Canning
Now comes the fun stuff! It is important to know when to harvest vegetables at their peak of flavor and maturity and how to harvest them from the ground or off the plant. There are also techniques for their proper storage and canning (‘putting up’) that will extend their consumption year-round.
- This is an excellent resource, with good links, which will answer many growing as well as harvesting questions.
- Delve into this site and have fun perusing their various tidbits of information.
- Burpee is a long-standing and trusted name, sponsoring an encyclopedia of information.
- Another well-known and respected name for any kind of gardening information, Cornell Cooperative Extension, with their excellent workshops and informational sites, will create a grower out of you.
- This would be the best place to begin to learn about canning as the site contains all the information you need to learn about the process.