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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your First Vegetable Garden

The Rusted Garden Seed and Garden Shop

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your First Vegetable Garden

I can't imagine not being able to have a vegetable garden. It has become an essential part of my life and happiness. My goal is to help you have a better garden. These are common mistakes people make when starting their first garden. 

Most garden plants really do require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun. That 6 hours is firm for full plant production.  However, very often, gardeners don't take the time to make sure their future garden gets 6 hours of essential sun. In a perfect world a garden should get 8-10 hours of sunlight. Check the space that you are considering for your new garden every 2 hours, starting at 8 in the morning. It doesn't matter if the hours of direct sun are split up over the day, just make sure it gets a full 6 hours of direct sunlight.

Not only do you need sunlight, you need soil the drains well. Plant roots can't sit in soggy soil for prolong periods of time, think 24 hours. Sitting water, at root level, causes root rot. In short, water fills the spaces in the soil and replaces oxygen. Most gardens drain just fine. Watch your future garden space after a heavy run and see how it does. It should be able to shed the excess water, from the surface, within 60 minutes. If you are in doubt, dig a hole 12 inches deep and about 12 inches wide. Fill the hole with water. If it drains away in about an hour, you are good to go.

Along with good drainage, is the need for regular and consistent watering. No one can tell you how often to do this. It is too dependent on the soil in your garden, the size of your plants and your daily temperatures. The most important thing to understand is that you have to water the entire garden. Most plants send out surface roots. You need to supply adequate water to the surface roots and the deeper roots. Very often new gardeners just water the base of the plants. When in doubt, water your garden 2-3 times a week and supply enough water during those periods for water to soak a good 6-12 inches into the garden soil. Obviously, when you plant seeds or have small transplants you wont need to water this deeply but you will have to keep the top several inches moist. 

Don't Get Overwhelmed: Start Small - The Rusted Garden

It is more important to start small and wish you had more room to grow more plants than it is to have more space than you can handle. Overwhelming yourself with a garden that becomes too large to manage and care for, when the crops start maturing, is easy to do when you first start. You will have to learn to prune, feed, and manage pests and diseases. Start small, learn, and as your confidence grows, expand your garden.

Start A Compost Bin Right Away - The Rusted Garden

Limited Space? Use A Trashcan to Make Leaf Mold

Organic gardening is wonderful but it is not about buying packaged goods with stamps of organic approval. There is nothing wrong with the products. However, very often, you are paying a lot of money for them. You just don't need everything they literally throw in your face with fancy packaging.

Organic gardening has been around for centuries. It is about sourcing your garden amendments from your immediate and local area. Make your own compost, order in manures locally and look for alternatives to paying very high prices for bagged organic products. No bagged product is better then good old compost and manure. When it comes to composting, it is not rocket science. Start a compost pile or bin right away and just fill it. Nature will take care of it for you.

And finally, the biggest mistake, in my opinion, is not starting your first garden. Fall is a great time to build the beds and set up your future new garden for the coming spring. Plants want to grow and gardens want to give. You don't have to know 'everything' prior to planting your first garden. In fact, you need to start planting and growing your gardening to find out if it is your new passion. If it is, your garden will also become your classroom. Each year you will learn more and become a better gardener. So... just get started!

Cheers & Good Luck in Your Gardens!

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