Preparing your own vegetable garden may require a lot of time and effort, but the payoffs are more than worth it. If you have a vegetable garden, you could enjoy nutritious produce minus the harmful pesticides, and your budget is happier, too.

Working on a vegetable garden is also a great stress reliever, and it is a good way for you to complete the daily exercise that your body needs. The next time that your recipe calls for some greens, do away with having to go to the grocery store and spend money on them. Just go out to your backyard, gather some produce, and cook it up. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Choose a good location

The location of your vegetable garden is a major factor to its success. The site you choose should receive at least eight hours of sunlight everyday. The soil in the garden should also be a rich and healthy loam.

Apply organic fertilizers

Fertilizers ensure that the soil the vegetables are growing in is healthy and can supply adequate nutrients to your plants. Make sure that the nutrients you provide are appropriate to the needs of the specific plants. For example, most vegetables such as eggplants, zucchinis and tomatoes, benefit from 5% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus and 5% potassium fertilization.

Fertilize your soil at least a month before planting

Spread one-inch thick organic matter, such as chicken or cow manure or specially-prepared organic fertilizers onto the garden soil.

Dig in some extra manure to a depth of six inches. Once the vegetables have been planted, continuously provide additional fertilizer based on the plants’ specific requirements.

Most vegetables require fertilizers around their base, about three inches away from their stem. An alternative to organic matter is to use dry or granulated fertilizers, as they are easier to apply onto the soil.

Choose easy-to-grow vegetables

How easily vegetables grow will mostly depend on your geographical region and your climate. Find out which vegetables are native to your area. You could ask tips from other vegetable growers and small-scale farmers as to what greens an amateur gardener like you could grow. Some of the generally easy vegetables to grow include cress, radishes (for cold climates), spinach, and miniature onions.

Consider the space

Your choice of greens will also depend on how much space you have. Pumpkins need four feet of growing room, while tomatoes need two feet. Boston lettuce, on the other hand, requires little space for growing.

Water the plants properly

The amount of water that you give to your greens will depend on their specific requirements. For example, freshly-planted peas require ½ inch of water every week (older ones need 1 inch per week). Lettuce needs to be watered every morning. Beets need to be watered at least once a day, zucchinis need to be watered heavily every other day, and radishes only need to be watered lightly every few days. Read up on the water requirements of vegetables so that you will know how to administer care for them properly.

Preparing a vegetable garden requires constant care and maintenance, so be ready for a major commitment. Good luck and hope this helped!