Tips for starting a backyard veggie garden

backyard veggie gardenbackyard veggie garden
backyard veggie gardenbackyard veggie garden


Tips for starting a backyard veggie garden

Growing your own vegetables is one of the best ways to live a healthy, happy and environmentally friendly existence. It also allows you to save money on groceries and it introduces organic food into your diet.

Your backyard veggie garden does not have to be difficult, all you need to start is a plan, a wooden fence to keep the area safe from pets and children, and a selection of seeds for your favourite vegetables. If you are not sure of where to start for a backyard veggie garden, outlined below are some helpful hints to help you get started.


Have a plan

The most important first step you need to take with your veggie garden is planning where it will go in your yard. You will need to go out into your garden and look for the perfect spot to place your vegetables.

An effective way to choose a spot is to look for a sunny but sheltered area, a place where you might choose to sunbathe. Avoid overhanging trees and shrubs, and be sure that the space provides shelter from the wind. Plants do not do well if they are rocked at their roots by constant wind, and their leaves and sprouts might become blackened with wind burn. Wooden fencing surrounding the vegetable patch will help to eliminate wind from reaching the vegetables.


Decide what to plant

The next step in the process, after you have found the perfect spot for your veggies, is deciding what to plant. This is can be as simple as choosing vegetables you and your family enjoy eating or opting for vegetables you have never had before but are interested in trying out.

If you are a complete beginner with gardening, it is best to start small when it comes to veggie choices. Think of easy-to-grow options such as tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and snow peas. Once you have started with easier options, you can move onto more difficult vegetables. It is important to think about how you want your family to eat, as cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers provide throughout the season but other vegetables like carrots and radishes produce only once.


Clear the ground

Once you have decided on what tasty veg to plant, the next step is to clear the ground of the veggie garden of all weeds, stones and other debris. If you want to have an organic vegetable garden, you will need to go one step further and clear the grass, stacking it somewhere upside down to make amazing compost for topsoil which you can place on the beds in a few months.

Once you have removed the grass, dig the ground over carefully to ensure that there are no remaining roots from damaging plants and weeds, such as camel thorn bush, pom pom weed and moonflowers. Clearing the ground will also ensure that your vegetables are not taken over by harmful alien invader species. Using some of the sturdy wooden fencing in Cape Town to create a barrier around your vegetable patch will also help to ensure no other plants can grow in the area.


Choosing your layout

You have cleared the ground and chosen an array of tasty vegetables to plant, so the next step is to choose a layout that best suits what you are going to be growing. There are two basic approaches to planting a vegetable garden, as outlined below:


  • Row cropping: Place plants in single file rows with enough walking space between the rows, being sure that the very end rows are not too close to your wooden fence. This works best for large vegetable gardens, making it easier to use mechanical equipment to battle weeds and tilling.


  • Intensive cropping: Intensive cropping uses a raised bed for your vegetable garden, and includes grouping vegetables in wide bands, as wide across and as long as you like. This makes it ideal for smaller gardens, but be warned that this grouping does mean that you will have to weed by hand. Do not make the bands wider than you can comfortably reach to weed.


Enrich the soil

Enriching the soil is an important step to take before you start planting your vegetables, as it will help to ensure healthier soil, resulting in healthier vegetables. You can look for compost from a nursery or create your own by creating a heap made up of food and garden waste, keeping it out of reach of children and pets by enclosing it with wooden fencing.

You should aim for a 50/50 mix of compost and your native soil, as this combination will provide you with the optimum results every time. Enriching the soil before you plant is vital, as your vegetables will be able to soak up the nutrients and provide better yields. This compost will also help to build the health of the soil, making your harvested vegetables even better for your family to eat than those that are shop bought.

backyard veggie garden