Vegetable garden crop
image by Craig Jewell/sxc.hu
Planting your own vegetable garden is a resourceful way to slash your grocery bill. You can be certain that the produce you feed your family is free of harmful pesticides, and the veggies will be even more nutritious than their store-bought counterparts will, since the time it takes them to get from the farm to the supermarket causes produce to lose nutrients. If you are ready to try your hand at vegetable gardening, planning can help you select the best crops to grow.
Contact your local Cooperative Extension office (see Resources for website link) to learn which vegetable crops are the best choices for gardens in your area. The Cooperative Extension is a free service of the USDA, which provides information and education regarding agriculture and food production. The Cooperative Extension experts will be able to help you in planning crops that grow well in your local soil and weather conditions.
Select seeds of vegetables that your family enjoys and will eat regularly. While you might have learned that certain vegetables, such as peas or radishes, are easier to grow than others. However, if you have a bumper crop of vegetables that your family will not eat, all of your planning and effort will be in vain.
Choose vegetable crops from among those your family is fond of that are the easiest to produce. If you are relatively new to vegetable gardening, planning a less challenging garden will help avoid burnout. Some good options include peas, beans, tomatoes, carrots, leafy greens and squash.
Plan out an area of 100 square feet or less per person in your household. This amount of space will allow you to grow several types vegetable crops in your garden without overwhelming you. As your gardening skills develop and grow, you may consider planning a larger garden in future seasons.
Decide on an area of your yard in which to plant your vegetable garden. Most crops prefer lots of sunshine, so eliminate shady areas of the yard. If your space is limited, consider planning a container garden, in which vegetable crops are grown in pots and other smaller containers.