Spring has sprung, and planting season has officially arrived! Is this the year you’ve finally decided to try your hand at planting a new vegetable garden? Well, you’re in luck because Vancouver is a great place to grow your own produce. Not only will planting a garden give you access to the freshest, healthiest, and most affordable food around, but you’ll also get to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of gardening.
Not into garden maintenance? No problem! This blog will cover the basics of planting a new vegetable garden and offer advice on what you can do if tending to your garden proves to be a little more work than you anticipated.
Location, Location, Location
The first thing you need to consider is where you want to plant your garden. Ideally, you want to choose a spot with plenty of sunlight, good soil drainage, and protection from strong winds. If this is your first go at a vegetable garden, start small. A 6×6 foot area is a manageable size for beginners while offering plenty of space to grow a variety of your favourite veggies. Don’t have a backyard, don’t worry. Planters can be used to create a balcony garden, or if your neighbourhood offers one, sign up to be part of your local community garden.
Next, you’ll need to evaluate the quality of your soil. Unfortunately, not all dirt is created equal, and several soil factors will significantly impact the success (or failure) of your vegetable garden.
The ideal soil for a vegetable garden is nutrient-dense, has good water retention, and has a slightly acid pH, somewhere between 6.0 and 7.0. How can you tell if your soil fits the bill? Start by digging in. Good quality soil will appear dark in colour and feel slightly crumbly when you pick it up. Soil that is very sticky when wet likely has too much clay; soil that feels chalky might have too much silt.
Getting the soil right for your vegetable garden is crucial, so if you’re unsure about yours, you should check in with a garden maintenance company. They can provide professional insight into the composition and quality of your soil and help set you up with the right product for your garden if needed.
What to Plant
Now, the fun part! You get to decide what vegetables to plant. When choosing your vegetables, consider what grows well in Vancouver’s climate, but also focus on what you like; it would be a shame to work all season to grow spinach if you don’t like spinach.
Popular veggie options for beginners include tomatoes, kale, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, bush beans, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers. You can also experiment with herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, and mint.
When to Plant
Timing is everything when it comes to planting your vegetables. Vancouver has a mild climate, so you can start planting certain cold, hardy vegetables like lettuce, peas, and spinach as early as February or March after the last frost. However, other vegetables, like green beans, zucchini, and potatoes, prefer warmer temperatures, so it’s best to wait until April or May to plant them.
There are also vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, cauliflower, and broccoli, which you can plant in the fall and harvest in the winter if you want to have your garden working for you year-round!
Once you’ve planted your garden, you’ll need to maintain it. Garden maintenance includes things like watering, fertilizing, and weeding. Not your cup of tea? You can outsource your garden maintenance to a third party who will take care of your garden and the rest of your lawn as well.
Finally, the best part – harvesting your vegetables! The time it takes for your vegetables to mature will depend on what you planted. Generally, you can expect to harvest your vegetables 2-3 months after planting. When it comes to harvesting, it’s best to do it in the morning when the plants are still cool, as this will help preserve the quality of the vegetables.