Stop spending so much on vegetables this summer and grow your own with your very own backyard veggie garden.
Studies suggest you can save hundreds of dollars a year by growing your own produce, with a $70 yearly input into gardens resulting in as much as $600 worth of crops. In order to achieve results like this, however, it's vital that you get your garden landscaping right to ensure you have the most fertile soil possible for your produce.
Decide what to grow
Deciding which plants to grow takes a bit of thought. Factor in what your family eats the most of, and how much of the vegetable you would reasonably consume. You will also want to ensure your veggies of choice will grow in your climate - conditions vary quite significantly across the country and some plants are pickier than others.
Different vegetables bloom during different seasons, too, so check in with your local garden score to learn when to plant your favourite crops.
Select your spot
Mark out an area of your lawn or garden that you want to designate to vegetables. A spot that gets direct sun is ideal for most vegetables, particularly tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and corn. If your house doesn't get much sun, never fear! Leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and spinach grow well in shady areas, along with peas, broccoli and beans.
Good soil is vital for strong growth, so look for areas with moist, well-drained soil. If you're planting straight into the ground you'll need to rip up your grass and till the soil to ensure it's ready for planting.
Once the soil is loosened, spread out compost and work it into the soil. Rake the surface and water thoroughly, and leave the area to settle for a few days before you plant your crops.
Choose your crops
You can buy crops in seed form or as seedlings. Each has its own benefits - seeds are cheaper to buy and give you the satisfaction of growing something completely from scratch, whereas seedlings are likely to be ready to harvest weeks before seed crops will be.
Plant and care
Many seeds and seedlings will have instructions for planting and caring, but a general rule of thumb is to give new plants a good water when you first put them in the soil. Then, ensure plants are watered about twice a week, whether by you or Mother Nature herself.