Planting a Small Vegetable Garden
Planting a small vegetable garden can bring so much joy. There is nothing quite like a salad made from your own back yard. If you have kids, try to include them in the process too. Knowing where your food comes from helps create interest in food and environmental responsibility.
Prepare a Garden Plan
- Choose your plot with the following characteristics:
- Sunny for 6 hours of the day
- Close to the house
- Not too windy
- Not too big to maintain
- Proper drainage
- Not on a slope (try to terrace a sloping hill)
- Close to a water source for easy watering
- Remove all the weeds and check your soil type. Westcoast soils tend to be more acidic and may need the addition of lime, mushroom manure or compost.
- Choose your garden type: Row gardens are good for beans and corn but they are not very productive for their size. They use up lots of space and require weeding on the paths between the rows. Bed gardens produce more than row gardens and require less weeding. Don’t make them too wide or it becomes hard to weed and harvest. Spot gardens you can do in any sunny spot in your garden, and you can have several. Container gardens are great for patios, decks and small spaces.
- Choose your type of plant. Questions to ask yourself are what do you like to eat? How much of it do you eat?
- Plan your Layout: Consider planting companion plants to ensure plants grow well together and help each other. For example planting marigolds with tomatoes to help repel nematodes. Plant beans with corn and squash, the 3 sisters as the beans grow up with corn and the squash provides shade and prevents weeds. Tomatoes with basil help repel whiteflies and aphids.
- Discuss your plan with other gardeners for tips and ideas. Keep a diary each year to remind you of what worked and what didn’t.
- Plant your garden. Keep tall plants at the back. Start the plants that need more time to grow first or indoors or buy them as small plants.
- Maintain it: water regularly, fertilize, check for pest infestation. Consider natural pest control such as adding ladybugs.
- Harvest Regularly: This will encourage new growth and productivity.
My plant choices for my Vancouver Garden:
Zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, Marigolds, beans, peas, beets, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, arugula, rainbow chard, broccoli, peas, kale, onion and spinach. I also like to plant herbs such as sage, rosemary, oregano, chives, parsley and thyme which come back year after year. Fresh herbs I add to this collection include basil, cilantro, dill and tarragon. I also have blueberries raspberries and strawberries which return each year.