It has once again become a trend for people to start a garden and grow their own vegetables at home.   Many people seem to think that starting a vegetable garden is a lot of work. But if you think about it, this hobby will be beneficial to your pocket and your health and it does not have to be that difficult. To get going, the two most important resources are decent soil and a few of your favourite plants or herbs.

For households that have a well sized back yard, starting your own garden can be especially fun to do as you don’t have to worry much about land and soil. It is, however, advisable to start small. In that way, you can control your garden and not be overwhelmed to the point where you want to quit. Most plants need about 6 hours of direct sunlight, so wherever you start your garden, be sure that there is sufficient sun.

Prepare your soil

Garden with leafy vegetables

The most important component of your vegetable garden is the soil. Rich soil helps the plants to absorb more nutrients and water and grow better. Preparing your soil will require some research. You need to determine the condition of the soil for you to know how much fertilizer and top soil is needed for planting. Don’t forget about the value of organic matter such as compost, animal manure and shredded leaves.

Vegetables to grow in a small space

Most importantly, grow the vegetables that you like to eat. It is also vital that you know which vegetables are in season so that you don’t waste your time on plants that won’t grow. In summer, vegetables such as beetroot, green beans and red onions are best to grow. In autumn, broccoli, baby marrows or egg plants are some of the vegetables you can plant. In winter, vegetable such as kale, spinach, pumpkin and asparagus are advisable to grow and finally, cabbage, cauliflower and spring onions are best to grow in spring. Off course, some vegetables thrive in all seasons. Click here for a seasonal chart indicating the best time for planting.

When you start your garden, you can decide if you want to use seeds or if you want to transplant. Transplanting is when you take a fully germinated seedling (or mature plant) and replant it in a permanent location for the growing season. These can be bought and planted in your garden.

Alternative ways of growing vegetables

Green bell peppers growing in planting bag

If you live in a flat, with a small balcony and there is simply no space for a garden, don’t lose hope.  Vegetables also grow very well in pots, containers and planting bags. This method means that you can turn any area into a vegetable garden. Maize-meal bags are perfect for more leafy crops such as spinach, lettuce and kale. Planting bags or pots are better for bell peppers, tomatoes and green peas. Click here to read more on planting vegetables in a bag.

If you want to plant herbs, 2-litre plastic bottles are a great way to go. A quick Google search will give you several DIY guides on planting in plastic containers.

Regardless of whether you are growing vegetables in the fertile soil of your back yard, in a pot or in a bag, starting your own vegetable garden can be done. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take up too much time. Remember, there are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. – Ntswaki Motaung, AgriOrbit

Various resources were used to compile this article. Read more about vegetable gardening at these resource links:

How to Grow a Plentiful Container Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Seeds vs. transplants

Seasonal fruit and vegetable chart for south Africa

Tips for starting a garden

How to Grow a Plentiful Container Vegetable Garden

Grow vegetables in a maize meal bag