We are Loving Vegetable Gardening — Why is that so many people turn to vegetable gardening as a hobby, like me
Introduction to Vegetable Gardening
I started a vegetable gardening and found it to be a great way to relieve some of the stress I tend to build in my day to day life. However it’s not the only reason I started gardening vegetables. We were becoming very dissatisfied with the produce we get from the grocery store and of course to keep the grocery bill lower.
So our vegetables taste better because they are fresher but also we don’t use pesticides which give me really bad migraine headaches.
Vegetable Gardening As a Tasty Hobby and So Rewarding
If you do things right you can not only save money but you can even make some money. We save money on the grocery bill by veggie gardening but I also make money by blogging about my vegetable gardening hobby and interested about home design too.
Some people grow enough in their vegetable gardens to sell them at their local farmer’s market like those we have here in Moncton and Dieppe, New Brunswick.
Vegetable gardening is fun and rewarding but it can also be the opposite if you don’t plan a bit first because you could end up with more work than you expected. We started small and each year we increase our vegetable garden making it a bit bigger. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with something that should be fun and relaxing.
Start with vegetable you like the most. We started our very first vegetable garden as a container garden with just tomato plants. The next year we added peppers to the mix and I also started a little raised bed of strawberries.
When we finally had the space we started a list of what we wanted in a vegetable garden. I just kept the list close and added things as they came to mind.
Once the list was plenty long I started putting check marks next to the vegetables we wanted the most. Things like potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and left the others unchecked, maybe for the next year’s vegetable garden.
This year we have added cabbage and cayenne peppers as well as two different Topsy Turvy Strawberry Planter, one for strawberries and the other for tomatoes or peppers. A couple things we added to our vegetable garden was strawberries and raspberries. The main reason I started growing these at home is the lack of taste in those we purchase in the grocery stores.
The first berries we tried here at home blew us away they were so fresh and tasty. The first raspberry from our canes actually brought tears to my eyes because it’s been so many years since I tasted one that good. It was so good it brought a flood of childhood memories of visiting my grandparents here in Moncton and that was more years ago than I care to remember.
Growing Herbs In Your Vegetable Garden
We found growing herbs, both indoors and outside, to be easy and the flavours are such a treat. This year we are planting enough herbs to dry some for use during the winter months.
The reason we started our first vegetable garden, even though it was just a few pots, with tomatoes was due to the lack of flavour in the tomatoes we would bring home from the grocery store.
The store bought tomatoes had the colour and felt fine but just didn’t have that rich flavour a fresh tomato should have. Once thing led to another and before we knew it we had a 4×12 foot veggie garden growing in our backyard.
My health doesn’t allow me to do a whole lot of manual labour so I try not to get myself overwhelmed with it all. So my advice is to start small and grow with your vegetable gardening.
Why Start Small When Vegetable Gardening
It’s a fact that most people will give up on things if they become too hard and vegetable gardening is no different. You need to learn how to deal with bugs and other garden pests. Starting small means you can learn as you go like we did. You will also need to do some bending and weed pulling, however if you plan your vegetable garden right you can cut down on how much of that hoeing you’ll have to do.
Square foot gardening is a great way to go. You can grow a lot in a small space which can also cut down on weeds as they won’t have a place to get a foot hold in your square foot garden. Start small and grow your dream vegetable garden over time rather than go all out at the beginning and turn that dream into a nightmare.
We Are Loving Vegetable Gardening
Many reasons exist as to why individuals decide to take on vegetable gardening as a hobby or interest. Some individuals find vegetable gardening relaxing and a great way to let go of the days’ stress, while others do it for the food.Our family took on vegetable gardening because we know the effects some of the produce can have on people susceptible to sprays and poisons, myself included.
We see people at the farmer’s market who grow enough vegetables in their garden to sell to others. This is great because they produce organic vegetables that never see poisons. This means we can get safe healthy vegetables that we aren’t growing in our home garden.
They make money grown vegetables where I make money writing about vegetable gardening among others things through my home and garden website. Others I see when I am traveling around Moncton and New Brunswick are selling produce in road side stands.
Vegetable Gardening Tips
If you are thinking about starting your own vegetable garden the main tip I would offer is to take it slow. Don’t take on more than you can handle and ruin a great experience. We started growing tomatoes, peppers and potatoes but at that time we didn’t have a vegetable garden in the ground but instead we created a container vegetable garden using big pots.
Each year since we started vegetable gardening we have increased the size of our gardens. This year I even took one of our raised beds and turned it into a strawberry/squash bed. The strawberries will be done by the time the squash gets too big.
Join a Vegetable Garden Seed Club
Not sure what to grow? Well, I joined Mike The Gardener’s Vegetable Garden Seed Club. Mike sends me 4 packages of seeds each month. I looked forward to them each month, especially through our long cold winter months. It was fun planning what I would grow for this year.
Once I’ve made a list of the vegetables I want to grow I made a plan of how to plant them so that I would get the most produce.
That means I don’t let plants over shadow each other, like I did my first couple years. But knowing what you’re going to plant means you can check into what vegetable garden pests you may encounter based on what you’re going to plant and be prepared.
Loosen and Build Vegetable Garden Soil
Without a healthy root system your vegetable garden may not produce the best yeild so pay attention to the soil, even if you’re creating a container vegetable garden. Give your vegetables a real good chance to grow strong by ammending your garden soil with healthy compost or topsoil.
If your soil is heavy clay like ours is then you might want to add some peatmoss along with your compost or topsoil. This will help airate your soil and allow your veggie roots to spread and grow.
Vegetable Gardening Does a Few Things for Us
1. We Get Fresh Air and a Bit of Exercise
It’s nice to have things to do in our yard other than lay in the sun and burning. Vegetable gardening has gotten me out of the house into the fresh air. I also get a bit of exercise but when my back says enough I can still go to my raised bed gardens and sit down to work. Gotta love saving your back at the end of the day.
2. Saving Money on the Grocery Bills
Vegetables aren’t getting any cheaper these days so anything we can do to save a bit of money is great. Remember I said I belong to Mike The Gardener’s Seed Club, well that saves me money because I don’t buy seeds and/or starter plants which saves even more money.
3. Learn How to Preserve Vegetables for Winter
We grow enough tomatoes we couldn’t eat them all so we gave most of them away but now instead we preserve them for use in the winter. We still have enough that we can give tomatoes to friends and family.
4. Grow an Organic Vegetable Garden
I grew up on a farm from the age of 8, which is the same year I started getting migraines. We never knew what was causing them.
Many years of suffering later I learned it was the poison being sprayed on our vegetable garden. Thanks a lot Dad. Grow your vegetable garden organically by using natural remedies to take care of garden pests.
We have friends that have started vegetable gardening now and we talk to each other about what we will grow. This way we can try not to grow the exact same things our friends are growing. This means we can exchange vegetables.
I can grow lots of tomatoes while another gardening friend may be great at growing peppers so we trade off with each other and have more produce than we would have.
I work from home making money doing a variety of things. About the only thing I don’t do is grow enough vegetables in my garden to sell them. However you may have the time and desire to work from home and make money like I do. And of course, keep gardening..!
Planning Your First Vegetable Garden
Finally… Have you desire to grow your own vegetable garden? We went for many years before we were in a situation where we could have our own vegetable garden and now we do and I just double the size from last year.
Learning a few things about vegetable gardening will make the task more enjoyable, to the point where it may well become your favourite hobbies. Follow a few steps before you plant anything and you will have a healthier vegetable garden with less work.
Steps to Planting Your First Garden
1. Location, Location, and Location
Location is important. You need sunlight and good drainage. These are two vital components to a good veggie garden. Anything else you need for your garden can be added. Steer clear of trees if possible as their roots can rob nutrients from the soil and in the summer their branches can over shade your garden, blocking that vital sunlight. Like our first vegetable garden.
2. Preparing the Soil
Our vegetable garden used to be part of our lawn and the soil beneath the turf was very dense clay that wouldn’t drain for days after a heavy rain. But we wanted a vegetable garden so that didn’t stop us. First we removed the sod with as little dirt as possible. We even let it dry in the yard so we could pound the excess dirt off it.
Next I dug the entire plot to about a foot deep and mixed in fresh topsoil we have from composting and also added a few bags of peatmoss to help break the soil into something workable. We tested the garden once we had added the compost and peatmoss to see how well it drained and found we had improved it considerable. So now it drains in hours instead of days.
3. Know Your Local Planting Zones
There are a lot of vegetables one can grow but you need to decide what you like the most, making sure it will grow in your growing zone. For this you can look up the growing zones for where you live. We live in New Brunswick Canada so we looked that up along with the phrase “growing zone” or “vegetable growing zone”.
Note: We decided we wanted to grow a few things that needed a longer growing periods, so I started those inside a couple of months early so they were well started before planting them outside.
4. How to Maintain Your Vegetable Garden
A vegetable garden doesn’t maintain itself very well and will soon be taken over by weeds if not watched. Keep a head of the weeds and it becomes rather easy to maintain. On the other hand leave it for a week or two and you may start to see the vegetable plants start to suffer.
We have our rows of vegetables running north to south for a couple of reasons.
- We wanted each plant to get as much sun as possible.
- Our garden is on a slight incline so we planted the rows so that the rain would not erode the garden.
I mentioned this but it’s important so I will mention it again. Your vegetable garden must drain well or your veggie roots will drown the plants. We added compost and peatmoss but we also set the rows so the water would drain but not erode the garden.
5. Know Your Garden Pests
Take the time to learn about the pest that like what you grow so you can learn how to control pests organically.
Completing each task doesn’t take too long, especially when it’s planned. We on the other hand didn’t learn before we started our first vegetable garden. Instead I just started digging in so we ended up with a lot more work than we needed so learn from my mistakes and plan your vegetable garden before planting it and happy gardening.