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Starting Your First Northern Virginia Vegetable Garden

Creating your first vegetable garden is not only a great way to enjoy your yard, but also an economical way to infuse fresh vegetables into home cooking. While creating your first vegetable garden takes considerable preparation, it yields delicious results.

When planning your garden, take care to not overwhelm yourself. There's nothing wrong with starting small and eventually expanding your vegetable garden once you feel more comfortable with the gardening process. First, choose a location that receives as much as sun as possible throughout the day. Next, examine the soil. Take a handful of dirt and squeeze it into a ball. If it crumbles when you let go, your yard features sandy loam style, which is the ideal soil type for vegetable gardening. If you have a predominantly sandy or clay soil, consider adding some topsoil or compost to the gardening space.

Once you determine the type of soil you're working with, loosen the soil and ready it for planting. After you're done digging, smooth the surface with a rake and then water thoroughly, allowing the soil to rest a few days before planting. In terms of vegetable garden design, choose between placing plants single file in rows, with a walking path between each row — which works best for large gardens — or use intensive cropping by planting vegetables in wide bands. Intensive cropping reduces the amount of space needed for walking paths and allows vegetables to be mixed with ornamental plants, however, make sure to plant your vegetables within easy reach in order to make weeding a snap.

Once your garden is designed, prepare yourself to weed every two to three days. Make sure you keep your vegetables hydrated with a steady supply of moisture. Stock up on organic insecticides to use when you notice that your vegetables are being damaged by garden pests.

Let's not forget choosing your vegetables! Plants to grow for summer harvest include tomatoes, watermelon, beans, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers, while spring and fall crops include leaf lettuce, broccoli, spinach, peas, and squash.

For more tips on creating and maintaining a successful vegetable garden, contact Lost Creek Landscapes. Offering landscape to masonry services to the entire Northern Virginia region since 1997, Lost Creek Landscapes is fully licensed and insured in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC.