Growing a vegetable garden can be a satisfying way to create your own delicious, organic meals. Successfully growing veggies in the state of Georgia can sometimes be a challenge, but with the right know-how, you’ll have a bountiful garden in no time.
Step 1: Soil Samples
Designate an area in which you will grow the garden. Make sure the area is far enough away from your house so that it will not be flooded by excess rainwater that runs off your roof. Take several samples of soil from the area where you have decided to grow your garden, and take them to your local county extension office. In my county, this is located at the 4-H office, and this is almost always the case in the state of Georgia. The helpful people there can inform you as to what kind of soil you are dealing with and whether or not it is good for planting. Never fear if it is not great for planting! They will be able to tell you what you need to make your soil more nutritious for what you would like to grow. This may involve buying some compost to work into the soil or adding some other types of minerals.
Step 2: Tilling the dirt
For our garden, we till the dirt each year before planting. You will need a rotary tiller in order to do this. A rotary tiller is a common farming tool that works the soil with blades that churn in and out of the soil. It works similar to a push lawn mower as you push it through the dirt. This is something that is especially beneficial in the state of Georgia, as the red clay can become thick and heavy. The rotary tiller breaks up the clay, allowing it the breathe and accept more moisture within the dirt.
Step 3: Planting
At this point, you decide what you will be planting in the garden. Most gardening in Georgia is best done in the Spring and Summer. Typical vegetables to grow are corn, beans, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, okra, eggplant, peanuts, zucchini, squash, cabbage, turnips, and most herbs. In deciding what to plant and how best to plant it, I highly recommend reading The Southern Living Garden Book. It details everything you need to know about growing your garden in the South.
- Make sure to plant all items together in rows. Do not try to mix different vegetables together, but keep them separated.
- Tomatoes are a vine plant, so they will need a cage in order to grow. Before placing the cage around them, I recommend placing some straw around their base so that young plants will obtain their moisture and create tastier tomatoes.
- Keep herbs especially separated from the rest of the garden. You don’t want everything to taste like sage.
- Peanuts are best grown in south Georgia, and will not do as well in the rockier regions of the north.
Good luck to you and happy planting!