Vegetable garden tips – for better homes and gardens

Enjoy a low-cost, healthy diet from your very own vegetable garden and get the chance to make money by selling your own products.

05 Feb 2014

Enjoy a low-cost, healthy diet from your very own vegetable garden and get the chance to make money by selling your own products. Start your own vegetable garden to grow, prepare and eat your own delicious fruits and vegetables with these tips:

  • Do your research: When you begin your own vegetable garden you should understand the type of soil you work with, the type of climate and what plants are best suited for it, your nutritional needs and many others. 'A Vegetable Garden for All' manual gives you the basic tools you need to start.
  • Start small: There is no need to get overwhelmed with the general maintenance of a big garden. You can grow a surprising amount of food in a bed that is 10 to 12 square feet.
  • Find a good spot: There are several aspects to take into consideration when you select the location of your garden. Make sure you are near a non contaminated water source. Choose a location that has lots of sun, a clean drainage or channels so that excess rainwater does not flood the garden and ensure you have space for a footpath to walk without stepping on the crops.
  • Get the essential tools: To start building your vegetable garden you will need at least: a flat spade to cut the soil when it is soft,  a pointed spade, when the ground is hard and a shovel for loading and unloading earth, a fork to turn the soil, a hoe to break up the soil and a watering can
  • Build up your soil: The foundation of a healthy, productive garden is a rich, well-draining, crumbly soil that has good tilth. Add organic matter such as finished compost, worm humus or farm-animal manure.
  • Time your crops: Prepare the soil one month before planting. Before you start, make sure there is enough moisture in the soil.  Make sure you are aware of which vegetables grow best in your area and what is the best season to plant them in.
  • Start with well known vegetables: There are vegetables which are easier to grow than others: swiss chard, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, pakchoi, cucumber, squash, cabbage and beans.
  • Mingle your plants: Too much of the same kind of plant in a grouping sends "eat here" messages to bad bugs. Choose a variety of plants and also remember you should rotate your plants to avoid depletion of the nutrients in the soil.
  • Stay on top of your harvest: Always remember your garden needs weeding because weeds compete with the plants for nutrients and water. Water your garden but be careful not to water too sporadically or too often. Watch out for pests and plant diseases.  Pick produce when it's ready.

Find out the step by step process of growing your own vegetable garden in the 'A Vegetable Garden for All' manual.

Do you have a vegetable garden? Share photos of your gardens with us by tagging them on Twitter or Facebook with #unfaozhcgarden.  Please ensure to only use your own photos. We will select some of the photos and share them via FAO's social media channels.

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