There is nothing more rewarding than planting your own food, whether it be in a quaint window box container garden or on a sprawling plot of land in your yard. Planting vegetables requires discipline and responsibility, but there's a few details to think about even before you sow seeds. We have a cheat sheet of what needs to get done prior to planting your veggie garden.
1. Give your soil some love—we mean loads of compost and mulch. Veggies need these types of nutrients. To compost, save your kitchen scraps and other organic materials like lawn clippings and dry leaves in a container. Add a dash of soil to create a nutrient-filled concoction to add to your garden.
2. Pick a spot that drains well. Containers are perfect for veggie gardens, as long as you use a specialized potting mix as compared to garden soil. Raised beds also raise vegetables successfully: For best drainage, build your raised bed at least 12 inches tall and no more than 4 feet wide.
3. Stagger plants. If you have a vegetable garden, rotate where you plant your faves every season. Cucumbers, for example, should never go in the same spot. This action is called "crop rotation" and by doing this, you trick the bugs in your garden and reduce the risk of soilborne disease.
4. Give them air. Veggies like to breathe, so think ahead before you stagger them. Placing lettuce right next to carrots, for example, works because one is done way before the other reaches maturity.
5. Remember that sun is best. Pick the sunniest spot in your yard. Most veggies can hack it with a full day of rays (just supplement water if you need to).
6. Think about the water supply. Choose a spot that's close to a spigot, or run a drip irrigation hose to your veggies. They'll need about an inch a week, including rainfall. Consider keeping a rain barrel to collect water under a downspout on your house.
7. Take preventive measures against pests. Rabbits can decimate a whole garden overnight. Fungal diseases can kill plants in a few days. Prevention and good gardening habits can help. Try a fence, disease-resistant varieties, watering in the morning, and watching for sick plants and tossing them immediately.