It seems like winter just ended a few weeks ago and summer suddenly started. Some years we have shorter growing seasons, and this may be one of them. If you’ve been thinking about planting a summer vegetable garden, now is the time to get started. The taste of freshly picked vegetables are truly glorious and even better when they’re in your own yard. If you’ve been intimidated by the thought of a vegetable garden, don’t be! It’s estimated that 42 million people will plant a home garden this year. From dozen of fruits and vegetables to a simple pot or two of tomatoes, the garden can be whatever you make it.
Here are some tips on getting started:
Set aside time. The average home gardener spends 2 -3 hours a week on gardening (including flowers and other plants). You’ll need about 2 - 3 hours to initially set a garden up, depending on its size. Gardening is the prefect weekend activity, but be prepared to work on it to maintain it each week.
Plan your plants. Tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are the top three most popular vegetables to plant in a home garden. Think about what you like to eat and do a little research on growing those vegetables in your zone (NJ is zone 6). Squash, radishes and zucchini are also easy, low maintenance plants. Remember you’ll need to have chicken wire or a low fence around your vegetables to keep them from becoming snacks from squirrels, birds, rabbits and deer.
Site specific. Choose where to plant your garden. You’ll want lots of sun but shade, too. Most vegetable plants need at least 6 hours of sun per day. Try to plant away from large trees and shrubs. Give your plants room to grow (a tomato plant can grow over 3 feet tall) and if you don’t have a lot of open area, planting vegetables in containers works well, too. Just choose containers that are deep and wide and make sure the soil drains properly (put holes in the bottom of the container).
For more tips on planning, planting and maintaining a vegetable garden, our landscape design experts are here to help. Call us today at (201) 941-2458.