Over the years many people have come to me and asked me the secret to having a successful vegetable garden for the new gardener.So I have given this subject a lot of thought through the years so i feel pretty qualified to answer that question. The best advise I can give to a new gardener just starting out is to avoid the number one pitfall of all new gardeners curb your enthusiasm and think small. I am sure most new gardeners are very anxious to grow everything, I know I was . There is a great deal of truth to the adage you must first learn to walk before you can run.
Trying to take on too much in you first year may be the reason you don’t grow a garden the second year. You will be able to produce a lot more food from a small garden that is well maintained then you will if you choose a large garden that is left neglected. So start by thinking small choose simple vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, beets, bush beans, zucchini, radishes, and lettuce. In latter years you can add more crops like corn and melons but stick with the basics at first and learn them.
Probably 60% to 70% of the problems that can occur for the new gardener can be traced back to a single thing, the soil. Good light fluffy well drained soil is what you need to grow a successful garden whether large or small the soil is the key. A good soil will be full of compost rich in organic matter that you have added and worked into the topsoil 10″ to 12″ deep. Starting with this kind of soil will make your vegetables grow like nobody’s business. Along with the compost you will want to add some bone meal to provide enough phosphorus to the soil. An important part of this soil conditioning will to be able to add enough nutrients along with the compost and that is best achieved by the use of manure. Adding to the soil ample manure will insure that the soil will have enough nitrogen to feed the leaves and get the plants growing. Be sure that you use composted manure. Fresh manure would burn the plants roots and cause the plants to die.
The biggest downfall to having a successful garden is neglect. Only pest and weeds thrive on a neglected garden. If you spend a few minutes every evening weeding and checking for pests the garden will practically take care of it’s self. Let the weeding go for a week and you will have a hard time trying to catch up. By visiting the garden everyday you can spot pest early and pick them off and destroy them before they do too much damage.
There is more much much more than this to becoming a master vegetable gardener, but you need to walk before you can run. Start talking to neighbors who garden. Pick up a good vegetable growing guide or two. Spend a lot of time trying different methods. Most of all take your time and don’t take on more than you can manage. Oh and most important enjoy your self.