The arrival of autumn could easily scare off anyone planning to create a lush and healthy vegetable garden. Yet, creating a vegetable garden in your garden is not difficult; with the right advice and determination, you can achieve satisfactory results in no time.
By following our complete guide to the do-it-yourself vegetable garden, you will be able to easily find all the elements necessary to develop your own vegetable garden, regardless of the space available. Whether it’s a small unused corner of the garden or a series of pots on the balcony, there are many different ways to create a successful vegetable garden.
Let’s find out together which elements to consider before creating a vegetable garden, which vegetables are best suited to growing in the different seasons and how to ensure that each plant grows healthy and strong, free from garden diseases.
Let’s get started!
DIY vegetable garden: how to get started?
Getting started is never easy, especially when you do not have all the key information at your disposal. You need to arm yourself with patience and willingness, ready to fight all possible initial failures.
If creating a vegetable garden in your garden is your goal, following this step-by-step guide will enable you to develop a successful small garden and keep it healthy throughout the year.
Since we know that no matter what the activity, ‘practice makes perfect’, don’t be afraid to experiment and learn from your own mistakes: every vegetable garden needs time to grow and every farmer needs time to learn.
Step 1: Planning and positioning
The first question to ask yourself is: “How do I start a vegetable garden in my garden?”
Careful planning is the basis of any successful vegetable garden, destined to grow in size and harvest season after season.
The most useful advice for a novice farmer is to reason and select an area of the garden that is exposed to the sun for at least 6-8 hours a day (so that the plants get the right level of light).
At the same time, reason about the positioning of the nearest water source, ensuring that it is easily accessible for irrigation. Looking at the size of the area you have chosen, make sure that you do not select vegetables that are too bulky – or that need a lot of space to grow safely.
Step 2: Preparing the Soil
Before planting anything, it is essential to prepare the soil and make sure it is ready to receive the new crops.
The second step in creating a perfect vegetable garden is to remove all weeds, stones and any debris from the selected area. The soil should be free of any external agents and ready for planting.
Turn the soil with the help of a spade or hoe, trying to incorporate a good amount of well-decomposed compost or manure as best you can, so as to enrich the soil with essential nutrients that help the seedlings develop.
Step 3: Choosing plants and varieties
What is the best season for planting a vegetable garden?
It all depends on the region you are in and the local climate. In general, spring is a good season to start, but some plants can also be successfully grown in autumn or winter. In our guide to seasonal vegetable growing, we have selected a number of vegetables that can adapt to any time of year.
Always try to choose plants that you love to eat and that can easily adapt to the conditions – climatic or otherwise – in your garden.
Step 4: Plant the plants
Once the plants have been selected, it is time to move on to planting. As with most garden work, each plant has its own requirements and the planting process may differ slightly depending on your choice.
A useful tip that is always appreciated by cultivation novices is to plant the small seeds at a good depth (usually 1-2 cm) and space the seedlings properly to ensure that they have enough space for healthy and lush growth.
Step 5: Proper irrigation
Watering is essential to create a garden garden strong enough to survive the changing seasons. It is always advisable to water the soil regularly, but avoid the accumulation of standing water (which could damage the roots).
Practical methods such as drip irrigation help conserve moisture and reduce water wastage, while safeguarding plant health. Try to observe the soil closely before watering; it will tell you when it is time to add water.
Step 6: Pest and disease control
To keep your vegetable garden healthy and protected, it is essential to constantly monitor your plants to quickly recognise signs of pests or diseases.
By using natural methods of disease control – such as the use of predatory insects or essential oils – you will be able to keep everything under control without overdoing it. In case of diseases, treat your crops with organic solutions while trying to minimise the presence of chemical tools.
The easiest vegetables to grow
Now that we have discovered how to create a vegetable garden from scratch, it is only right to focus on the real stars: the vegetables. What are the best vegetable garden plants for beginners?
To help you select the most suitable and easiest vegetable varieties to grow, we have prepared a list of six vegetables that are perfect for the vegetable garden. Not only are they easy to grow, but they are also suitable for growing in pots as well as in soil. Let’s look at them together:
Let’s start with tomatoes, one of the most popular and versatile plants. Their cultivation is a great place to start. To plant tomatoes in the garden, be sure to choose a sunny location and well-drained soil. Then remember to water regularly, avoiding wetting the leaves to prevent diseases.
In the growing phase of the plant, when the tomatoes start to form, add a support stick. In this way, you will prevent the branches from breaking under the weight of the fruit;
Another vegetable suitable for beginners in vegetable growing is the courgette. We are talking about a plant that grows vigorously and produces abundant harvests.
Plant it in a place with at least 6 hours of sun per day and use compost to improve soil fertility. Since courgettes require a lot of space, be sure to plant them at least 90 cm apart;
If what you are looking for is a vegetable that is easy to grow and rewarding, cucumbers are perfect for the home garden.
Plant them in a well-drained area and provide them with vertical support to grow healthily and safely. Cucumbers love moisture, so try to keep the soil constantly moist;
Carrots are a good choice for beginners. They are not only easy to grow, but also rich in nutrients.
Make sure to grow carrots in light, sandy soil that allows them to grow unhindered. As with cucumbers, keep the soil moist and thin to avoid deformed roots;
If you feel like experimenting with a less common but equally easy vegetable to grow, radishes are worth a try; very fast growing and ideal for beginners.
Plant them in well-prepared soil, avoiding compacting, and always make sure to keep them well watered;
We conclude our list with spinach, a vegetable rich in vitamins and essential nutrients.
Spinach can be successfully grown even in limited spaces and is very cold-hardy. For this, it is advisable to plant it in an area that is not too exposed to the sun. The soil, on the other hand, should be kept moist and well watered.
The best fertilisers
Many people doubt the help of fertiliser in the growing phase of plants. Yet, used sparingly and with the right care, it can really help you get the most out of your vegetable garden.
If you are wondering which is better, fertiliser or manure, unfortunately there is no single answer. It is always good to opt for natural and organic products in line with the ‘pure’ nature of the garden. However, there are organic fertilisers that are equally functional and effective.
Let us look together at a list of the best fertilisers for the home vegetable garden, which are natural and worthy of attention:
Manure is a natural and rich source of essential plant nutrients. When using it, it is important to ensure that it is fully decomposed to avoid root damage due to the high concentration of undegraded organic matter;
Homemade compost is an excellent fertiliser. It contains a wide range of nutrients and helps to improve soil structure, promoting root health;
- Commercial organic fertilisers:
There are numerous organic fertiliser options available on the market, such as seaweed compost, bat guano or dried chicken manure. They are all rich in nutrients and can benefit the soil;
- Fertilisers based on fishmeal or bone meal:
Fishmeal or bone meal fertilisers are excellent sources of nitrogen and phosphorus, two essential elements for plant growth. In particular, fishmeal is also rich in micronutrients such as calcium and magnesium;
Ground coffee is an excellent nitrogen-rich fertiliser. It can be poured directly into the soil or mixed into compost;
Wood ash provides potassium and several micronutrients useful for soil health. Before using it, however, make sure it is chemically untreated wood ash.
How to prevent plant diseases in the vegetable garden
The health of plants in the vegetable garden is crucial for abundant and quality harvests. For this reason, great care must always be taken to prevent plant diseases and protect the vegetable garden from insects.
In this respect, proper planning of plant layout can make a real difference. Plants with similar needs should always be close together, making it easier to manage irrigation and fertilisation.
Likewise, crop rotation can be particularly effective. In fact, changing the position of plants within the garden helps to interrupt the life cycle of insects and soil-specific pathogens, thus reducing the risk of infestation.
As we saw earlier, the use of well-rotted compost and manure enriches the soil with essential nutrients and contributes to healthy and vigorous plant growth. Both tools can help you prevent plant diseases in your vegetable garden, giving you healthy and strong soil.
The use of natural methods of insect control is equally important. For example, the use of predatory insects such as ladybirds and mantids is an environmentally friendly way to reduce the pest population. At the same time, plants such as marigold or mint can act as natural repellents.
Finally, it is essential to keep an eye on plants and their appearance. By regularly monitoring plants for signs of disease or infestation, you can act promptly and without making mistakes. Above all, you will be able to remove affected plants to prevent the spread of disease.
Caring for plants and the soil in which they grow is essential, regardless of the size of your vegetable garden. If you want to build a safe environment capable of producing a good harvest, these are the main elements worth investing time and attention on.
Creating a vegetable garden is not always easy, but it is a highly satisfying process. Give yourself as much time as you need and try not to give up when faced with the first difficulties. Have fun and learn about the needs of the individual crops until you have built your own flourishing and healthy vegetable garden.