How to Start a Garden
For vegans who put a lot of importance on the source of their food, there’s really nothing better than having an edible garden in your own yard. Not only does gardening provide numerous physical and mental benefits from exercise to stress relief, but being able to produce your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is the ultimate way to practice a vegan lifestyle. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Spend the day outside and track the sunlight
Prior to any planting, you should spend the day in the future garden area and watch the sunlight. How much sun does each spot receive throughout the day? Are there shaded areas that receive little to no sunlight? Before you plan out the garden and decide what type of plants you’re going to plant in which locations, you need to see how the sun moves across the property.
Try to place the garden in an area that will be visible and unable to avoid.
“Put the garden where you can’t ignore its pleas for attention – outside the back door, near the mailbox, by the window you stare out when you dry your hair. Place it close enough to a water spigot that you won’t have to drag the hose to the hinterlands,” notes Better Homes & Gardens.
Consider building some raised beds
There are many benefits to planting in raised beds, including “more control over the location of the garden, ability to choose the best soil for your particular plants, more efficient draining, can be easier on backs and knees due to less bending and stooping, and it’s easier to keep out weeds.” Of course, it takes some extra time and money to put in raised beds, but for home vegetable gardens, the benefits mostly outweigh the drawbacks.
You can build your own raised beds, purchase pre-assembled beds, or simply mound soil up in order to form a “wall-less” bed.
“Single rows of crops, while they might be efficient on farms that use large machines for planting, cultivating, and harvesting, are often not the best way to go in the backyard vegetable garden. In a home-sized garden, the fewer rows you have, the fewer paths between rows you will need, and the more square footage you will have available for growing crops,” says Gardeners.com.
Get the area prepped and ready for plants
First, you’ll want to dig out the sod layer. Next you’ll want to place a weed barrier, whether it be landscape fabric, plastic, or even newspaper or cardboard — each have their pros and cons. The latter is the cheaper route, and “layers of cardboard or newspaper can also provide a barrier beneath or above the soil. These break down quickly, but the decomposing paper does benefit the soil quality.”
Next, you’ll want to boost the quality of the soil. “Adding organic matter in the form of compost and aged manure, or using mulch or growing cover crops (green manures), is the best way to prepare soil for planting,” notes PlanetNatural.com.
As a vegan, one of the best things you can give yourself is the gift of clean, healthy, local food. By starting your own edible garden, you’re giving yourself the gift of health and wellness for years to come.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com