Start Your Own Garden

Sofie is 32 years old and lives in Belgium with her husband and 2 small children. They have a garden of 900 m³, a part is their veggiepatch. They own a greenhouse, raised beds, fruit trees and have 3 lovely and fluffy chickens. 

How to start your own veggie garden!

Do you like to know what you eat? Do you highly value a short food supply chain ? That means you know how important to grow your own veggies and fruits. Vegetables sold in supermarkets are usually produced on big-scale, gigantic farms. Ever wondered why supermarkets sell tropical melons in wintertime? They are produced in large greenhouses with artificial light and heat. Or they were grown in tropical areas, harvested unripe, transported all the way up here and then put in containers with ethylene to ripen them off. Time to get rid of this unnatural way to eat veggies! With some easy steps, you grow all your favorite vegetables in no-time in your own garden.

Step 1: where to grow?

Do you want to grow veggies in your own garden? Of at an allotment? Maybe on your balcony? The location is very important. Ideally, you want to have at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Most plants like a lot of sun in order to grow and develop faster. Tropical plants, like melons, even need more sun
and prefer a warm spot. Check out any environmental issues : ensure that your veggie patch is surrounded by small hedges or trees to protect them from cold winds.

Step 2: soil type

Once you’ve decided where to grow your veggies, you need to determine its soil type. Sand, silt and clay are the most known soil types. However, a combination is also possible.

Sand: the largest mineral particles in a soil, when rubbed between your fingers it feels gritty 

Silt: smaller than sand, feels like flour between your fingers

Clay: very small particles, feels sticky

There is no such thing as a perfect soil. Some plants grow at their best in a loam soil, whereas some prefer a sandy soil. Most vegetables in your garden like a soil which consists of 40 % sand, 40 % silt and 20 % clay, and is rich in organic matter.

Nevertheless the soil type, some home-made compost is always a real gift to your garden. Compost contains a lot of nutrients, will improve soil’s health and condition, and will improve the structure so that roots will grow better.

Step 3: get informed

When do you need to sow which veggie? What kind of diseases can you encounter and how to
prevent them? How do I need to take care of my plants? Does it need a lot of just a tiny bit of water?

It’s important to get you informed about all the questions you have. You can start googling, or sit back and relax with a good gardening book.

Step 4: pick easy vegetables

Only plant veggies that you really like. Some easy vegetables to grow are lettuce, beans, radishes, peas, spinach and chard.

Step 5: mulch, mulch, mulch

A no-dig garden provides most benefits. In this type of garden, you do not dig, loosen or turn-over the soil. In contrast, you cover the soil with organic components like mulch, fallen leaves or home-made compost. This way, the soil micro-organisms are not disturbed and the aerobic and anaerobic soil layers are kept intact.

Step 6: write down

Write everything down. When did you sow those carrots? How did you take care of them? If in a couple of months something doesn’t go as planned, you can have a look in your journal and try to figure out what went wrong. Next year, all you need to do is check out your notes to improve your skills.

Good luck!


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