Home Gardening Guide: Things You Need To Know About Your Vegetable Garden PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 11 March 2013 07:45

People grow their own fruits and vegetables in backyards, community gardens or even pots on rooftops and window sills. It’s because of the reason of having numerous benefits to growing your own fruits and vegetables. Aside from the convenience of picking right from your backyard garden, you get to serve more fresh and healthy food for the family reducing the risk of deadly diseases like stroke, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some types of cancer. You get to have more control over whether chemicals are used to treat for pests and weeds. You’ll also be happy to know that you’ll have lower fruit and vegetable bills at the grocery store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a great sense of achievement to growing your own vegetable garden. But in order for it to become successful, it has to be continuously given regular care and maintenance to keep the plants thriving well enough to produce a crop because your labors are by no means done once the seeds are in the ground. Proper care starts at the planning stage and involves treating the soil before any seed or plant takes root. In taking care of a vegetable garden, it will involve learning how to prepare the soil, keep it weed free, stake and control plant growth, protect the garden from pests and water as needed.

 

Planning

The first and most basic step in home vegetable gardening is planning. Through planning, it not only saves time when you’re ready to plant but also gives you an idea of the types and quantities of seeds or plants you’ll need. Additionally, planning also aids in assuring that the home garden will satisfy your needs and desires.

Garden Location

In choosing the location, there are many factors to consider beforehand. To begin with, you would want a sunny site with good drainage. Vegetables grow best in an open, level area where the soil is loose, rich and well drained. Some areas may be a setback if they have soil contained with harmful chemicals. These chemicals may be there naturally or from past and present land use. You have to be careful with this chemical-contaminated soil as it increases the risk of being exposed to chemicals, particularly by eating fruits and vegetables grown in the soil and by inadvertently ingesting or inhaling in soil particles.

If you have a poor soil, mix in 2 to 3 inches of topsoil, peat moss, strawy manure, compost or leaves plus fertilizers. You can further improve your soil if you choose to add a more organic matter or topsoil. Make sure to avoid heavy clays, sandy soils, and shady spots. Vegetables need at least hours of direct sunlight. Prevent from planting vegetables near trees and shrubs because with these locations, vegetables will have to compete with other plants for light, nutrients and water.

Equipment Needed

The standard gardening equipment includes hoe, rake, shovel, trowel, garden hose and sprinkler. A good duster or sprayer for pest control may be required as well. You’ll also need fertilizer, mulch, short stakes, and string to mark rows, and 7 to 8-foot stakes for tomatoes or pole beans. For the soil preparation, plowing is usually the preferred method. But recently, deep rototilling has been commonly used for practical reasons. A spade or shovel is used to hand-turn small soil areas while long-handled, wheeled cultivator is used for weed control.

Preparing the Soil

The soil plays a very important role as it is the one supplying the vegetables with water, nutrients, and mechanical support. Ideal vegetable garden soil is loose, deep and crumbly. It should have the ability to drain well and should consist plenty of organic matter. You’d know if you have a good soil because it will produce the right mixture of air, water and nutrients to grow a large root system and strong, productive plants. You can have your soil tested to know nutrient levels and pH and just to ensure it is safe to plant in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting Your Crops

If you want to get the most from your garden, grow vegetables that you and your family like to eat as well as vegetables that contain the most nutrition like sweet potato, kale, pepper, and broccoli. Growing vegetables that are expensive in the grocery store and are easiest to grow will also allow you to maximize your vegetable garden. When ordering seeds, choose seed of recommended vegetable cultivars and make sure to do it early especially if you have plans to start plants indoors. Also, buy seed from a company that is known to have a good reputation. If you have the old habit of saving seed from last year’s garden, it is best not to depend on old seed anymore since many vegetable cultivars are hybrids. Vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant and peppers are quite hard to start directly in the garden from seed. And because plants grown from direct seeding will take longer to reach harvest time than those from transplants, it is better to purchase transplants from your local garden center or begin your own transplants indoors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting Seed

Start off by making a furrow for the seed utilizing the hoe handle if planting fine seeds or the hoe blade for bigger seeds. Small seeds should be barely covered and place only 1 inch of soil over large seed. Most people think that planting too deep is the right way of gardening. It’s a common error because seeds that are planted too deep usually do not come up. When planting in rows, mark the rows to be planted by enlarging a heavy cord between short stakes at either end of the garden. Vegetables can be assembled though into bands or blocks utilizing the recommended within row spacing between the entire plants. The distances between the rows will differ with the kind of vegetable you are planting so it is best to check for proper spacing. In case the soil is dry, you can try a careful but gentle watering that will allow hastening of seed germination. You can try dampening the furrow just before laying the seed. To prevent from wilting and possible death of plants, set them out during the late afternoon or early evening. At those times, the sun’s intensity and the wind will have died down.

Care for vegetable Garden

Taking care of your vegetable garden is an important step in vegetable gardening. Proper care is what makes the disparity between ordinary vegetables and those that have that really fresh, home garden goodness.

Weed Control

You don’t want weeds overrunning your well-prepared garden so weed control is a big must. Weeds compete with the vegetable plants for water, fertilizer and sunlight. It also harbors insects and diseases. So while the weeds are still small, start eradicating them as they are best controlled when still small. You can weed out using a sharp hoe with a shallow shaving stroke, not a chop.  

Mulching

Through mulching, growth is encouraged by preserving moisture, controlling weeds, and moderating soil temperature. Black plastic mulch as the ability to elevate the soil temperature and is fit for warm season crops like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and vine crops. Apply the plastic mulch before planting the crop. On the other hand, organic mulch keeps the soil cooler and is fit to moderate hot summer temperatures. Good mulching materials include straw, crushed corn cobs, bark chips, shredded bark, sawdust and compost.

Watering

Throughout the entire season of growing, water should be provided to the vegetable plants. Apply 1- 1 ½ inches per week in a single watering, unless the rain will gladly do it for you. A common mistake in watering is doing light sprinkling. Many do not know that light sprinkling can cause more harm than good because roots tend to form near the surface of the ground if water does not pass through deeper.

These are just some of the basics of vegetable gardening. Once you have your crops ready to be harvested, make sure to always wash or rinse fruits and vegetables before eating or adding them in as ingredients. If you have a successful garden, go ahead and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

http://www.gardenguides.com/69898-care-vegetable-garden.html

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/ho-32.pdf

Last Updated on Monday, 11 March 2013 08:10
 
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