See 24 fantastic backyard vegetable garden ideas and learn the basics of getting a garden started with examples of ingenious ways to grow your own food.
Welcome to our guide to the world of home vegetable gardens!
Are you looking to become more self sufficient, or maybe searching for a project that will yield a little something extra for the dinner table? A vegetable garden is a great way to do both of these things.
A vegetable garden not only has a stunning visual appeal, but also a great deal of usefulness. For the casual gardener or the avid green thumb alike, a vegetable garden has a lot to offer. You can grow simple snacks for you and your family, or try to supplement entire meals with your produce.
Vegetable gardens are a real investment, and there is a bit of start up cost and elbow grease that goes into growing vegetables before you get any return.
There are many things to consider when deciding on whether or not you should invest in a vegetable garden.
What are the pros and cons of growing a vegetable garden?
- The environment – By growing your own produce, produce does not need to be grown far away, shipped to your local market, and picked up by you. This lessens the energy required to get the food to you, and is therefore better for the environment.
- For your health – This advantage is twofold. Not only are the veggies that you grow better for you than processed foods you may buy at the supermarket, but the physical labor you are putting in while tending to the garden is exercise.
- Saving money – In the long run, if your garden is successful you can save money. Seeds are cheaper than a trip to the supermarket, and if you harvest the seeds from your crops, you can keep a self sufficient cycle going which will only save more money over time.
- Reduce waste – If you make a compost heap, you will not only be helping your garden flourish, but also reducing the waste that you are producing.
- Pests and wildlife – If you are not prepared for the onslaught of nature, it can take you by surprise. There are a plethora of insects and pests that are ready to make your garden their all-you-can-eat buffet. There are ways to get rid of such pests, but this can be quite frustrating for the unprepared gardener.
- Time investment – A vegetable garden is not a set-it and forget it project. You need to actively tend to your vegetables on a regular basis to make sure things are going smoothly. This upkeep can be quite the time investment. This effort may be off-putting to many.
- It is a skill – Gardening isn’t always simple, and it is a skill that will need to be honed. Like any skill requiring practice, you will make missteps along the way. These stumbling blocks can be frustrating. Also, some crops are significantly more troublesome than others, so you may need to gain basic knowledge and skills before tackling the more difficult crops.
- You can’t grow everything – Depending on your location and the space you have, you may be limited in the things you can grow. You should look into what grows best in your area and which tools are required. There are sure to be vegetables that are just not suited for your climate.
- Loss and inconsistency – You should never count your chickens before they hatch, just as you should never count your rhubarb before they ripen. Home gardening can be inconsistent, and it is almost inevitable that you will lose crops at some point in your gardening career. This can be frustrating, but always remember that the best laid plans may go awry.
There are a number of costs that may be associated with building your own vegetable garden. You can build any number of accessory or structure to help with your vegetable garden. If you choose to build raised garden beds or greenhouses, your costs may increase a great deal.
Without any additional features, a basic vegetable garden needs soil, fertilizer, and seeds.
If you do not have usable soil in your yard, you can find rich soil at around 40 lbs at garden stores for between $3 to $10. If you are unsure about your soil, you may want to get it tested. A soil test will run about $12.
Depending on your area, you may be able to find fertilizer easily. If you are close enough to a farm or someone who has more than they need you may be able to get fertilizer for free, or at minimum the cost to go pick it up yourself. If you are not fortunate enough to find fertilizer for free you may be looking at spending around $20 per truckload.
It is also smart to start your own compost heap. With a bit of wire or fence, and a little of your time, you can reduce your garbage output and help your garden grow. This can supplement your need for manure.
As far as seeds are concerned, you can usually find a packet of seeds for only a few dollars. If you are able to harvest your seeds from the crops you grow to then replant, you can end up saving a great deal of money.