Ready to start your own vegetable garden this year? It can be daunting at first, but gardening is an enriching hobby to get into and it’s a great way to minimize your environmental impact.

If you have never tasted garden-fresh vegetables, you will be amazed by the sweet, juicy flavours and vibrant textures. There’s absolutely nothing quite like sun-ripened veggies, especially when you can grow them yourself.

Here, Canadian grower Andrew Hendriks of Hendriks Greenhouse shares some tips for getting started:

© Priscilla Du Preez/ Unsplash
© Sigmund Hl / Unsplash
Pick the perfect location

Selecting a good spot for your garden is absolutely key, as it can mean success or failure. Most vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight per day, aside from the leafy produce that will tolerate some shade. Avoid areas that receive strong winds that can knock over your plants, same with places near too much foot traffic or prone to flooding.

Regionality is also very important to a plant’s performance.

“Plants perform best when they are grown in a particular climate,” explains Canadian grower Arnold Devrij. “For example, a plant lover in Calgary will want to look for sun-loving varieties, whereas a Vancouver gardener will want to look for varieties that do better in the shade.”

Soil is everything

Hendriks says if you have poorly drained soil where water can pool, plant your vegetables in a raised bed or row for improved drainage. Wet soil means wet roots, which can turn into rotted roots. The PC vegetable and herb soil mix is a great option that provides all the four key ingredients that will make your garden flourish: organic compost, sphagnum peat moss, cow manure, and topsoil.

Keep it small

A common error that beginners make is planting too much, too soon. Ensure that you have paths that allow you to easily access your plants to weed, harvest, and reach the centre of the row or bed. If you don’t have space, tomatoes are great for vertical gardens.

Choose your vegetables

Now it’s time to choose the vegetables you want to grow. Keep things simple by choosing items that you and your family will enjoy eating. Hendricks suggests planting vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, carrots, peppers, leafy greens, and herbs. These foods grow in abundance and come in many different varieties, making them the perfect vegetables to throw on top of the grill and enjoy with family all season long.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to grow your own food, lessen your carbon footprint, or reap the benefits of a healthy hobby, don’t be afraid to try something new and let your garden grow!

—NC

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