1. DO Carve Out Some Space
This 576-square-foot plot produces veggies all summer for a family of four, with plenty left over to share. Tidy raised beds and gravel paths make it easy to care for, and evoke an English country garden. The handsome fencing keep deer at bay. Take a FULL TOUR of this yard and clip the ideas that work for you!
2. DO Your Homework
Don’t just plop plants into the ground and cross your fingers. Knowing actual “stuff” could be the difference between a bountiful harvest and, well, nothing. For example, fruit-bearing plants—like tomatoes, cucumbers, and the eggplants seen above—do best with 6 to 8 hours of direct sun a day.We surveyed gardeners around the country about quandaries ranging from no-show seedlings to overgrown zucchinis and propose solutions to the most common vegetable-gardening problems. See the complete guide to troubleshooting your vegetable garden for more.
3. DO Create a Moveable Feast With Containers
No garden? No problem. Try growing your food in containers. Growing in containers makes some crops, such as strawberries and spinach, less vulnerable to snails and other ground-cruising predators. Others, including peppers, seem to relish confinement and produce more abundantly. Blueberries like more-acidic soil than other edibles, so they are easier to accommodate in pots. And container crops have fewer problems with weeds because they’re raised off the ground and grown in weed-free potting mix. Want to pot up fruits and veggies for a space-saving edible garden? Here are the TOH-approved plans and plant list.
4. DON’T Compromise On Beauty
The look of your landscape doesn’t have to suffer in the name of feeding your belly. Turns out you can seamlessly integrate edibles to your existing landscape, too! Shown here, blooming ornamentals attract pollinators that stick around to visit the food plants, resulting in bigger harvests, and some ornamentals may even help ward off hungry pests. In this front garden, at the home of landscape designer Rosalind Creasy, exuberant flowers and formally clipped shrubs mix with trellised tomatoes and scarlet runner beans. Potted kumquats mark the entrance. Take a tour of her garden and clip ideas you want to steal.
5. DON’T Break the Bank
Vegetable gardens are hot right now. Plant-sellers know this so you may see spikes in plant prices. Cut the cost of starting your beds by starting your plants from seed. Coddling tender seedlings is the trickiest part of seed starting but well worth the effort: The cost savings alone is a major perk. At big-box stores, tomato starts command up to $3 PER PLANT—the same price as A PACKET of quality seed. See the full step-by-step process and do it right to save big.
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