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IANR News Service: News and Publishing, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, P.O. Box 830918, Lincoln, NE 68583-0918. http://ianrnews.unl.edu/static/0903180.shtml
Home vegetable gardening is a popular hobby for a number of reasons. Some people garden for exercise and some for the enjoyment of harvesting flavorful produce that can be eaten fresh from the garden or preserved for use during winter. Others garden so they can grow a wider variety of vegetables than are available at their local grocery store. Finally, in recent years many people are growing vegetables to save money on their grocery bill.
Regardless of motive, gardening can be as simple or as complex a project as you make it. However, careful planning can make gardening easier, more productive, and more enjoyable. In planning your garden, it is important to consider a few basics.
"How big should my garden be?"
This is an important consideration because a small, weed-free garden will produce more than a larger, poorly maintained garden. Consider how many family members will really help with the garden, or will you handle the hoe alone? Plants such as watermelon, pumpkin and winter squash take up large quantities of garden space. In small gardens the use of compact vegetable cultivars will conserve space and enable gardeners to still plant a greater variety of vegetables.
Some vegetables can even be grown in containers, allowing placement near the kitchen door and providing growing room for those without enough space for a vegetable garden. Vegetables and herbs can also be incorporated in ornamental plantings of shrubs, perennials and annuals to create an edible landscape.