Don't have Room for a Vegetable Garden, Plant it in the Flower Beds!by Tim Sanford on 03/17/11
After spending the weekend at my family farm, I realized it is almost time for fresh vegetables from the garden. Last year, not wanting to manage a big garden, I planted a few peppers, tomatoes and herbs in the flower beds in our backyard. This year we are going to add a few more vegetables, lettuce and green beans (and the vegetables we don't have planted will come from the best vegetable stand in the Northern Neck, Garner's Produce).
If you want fresh vegetables, you don't have to work the fields to get them, just add a few plants in your backyard flower beds. Look for a sunny spot (with six or seven hours of sunlight a day), with good drainage and some room for the plants to grow. If you are working in a big space in your backyard, narrow beds work best so you can reach in to weed and harvest your bounty without walking on the soil.
Once you choose your location, start by preparing the soil. Dig and break up any compacted soil and remove all the debris and weeds. Then add any compost and natural fertilizers to the soil before you plant; just work it in the soil with a rake. Once your soil is ready you can decide what to grow! Think about what you love to eat (lettuce, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, peppers, squash). You can start your vegetables from seeds sown in the soil or buy seedlings from your local nursery. Grow Veg is a great guide on how to plant, how much space to allow and when to harvest (they even have a garden planning tool). Once you get your vegetables in the ground make sure you water consistently, soaker hoses work best to keep roots watered and leaves dry. Then sit back and wait for the fruits of your labor.
This summer it will be more fun to run to the backyard for dinner, instead of running to the grocery store! And remember to support your local farmer by purchasing the rest of your vegetables at local farm stands in your area.