Tips For Growing a Great Vegetable Garden
Nothing beats fresh vegetables from the garden and with the cost of living increasing all the time there are more reasons to grow your own produce. Not only does home grown produce taste better, it is more cost efficient than buy produce from the supermarket. It doesn’t take a lot of space or a vast amount of gardening knowledge to grow a great vegetable garden. Just a few simple tips and you will be on your way.
Planning is Important! You just can’t go out into the yard and toss a few seeds and expect great results. A good garden takes some planning. Decide what you want to grow and where you want to plant your garden. Keep in mind that vegetables require a lot of sun, so your location should be the sunniest area of your yard. At the very least, your garden should get six to eight hours of full sun each day.
In addition to planning the location, you need to decide what you want to plant and how you will plant it. Ask other gardeners or your local garden center what vegetables do best in your area. You usually can’t go wrong with tomatoes, corn, melons, and peppers. Plan your garden so the large plants don’t shade or crowd the smaller ones. Keep corn and other tall plants from shading small plants, and give plenty of room to spreading plants like melons.
Dirt Isn’t Always Equal Face it, dirt isn’t just dirt! You need good quality soil to grow great vegetables. Your soil should have good drainage and organic matter. Pick up a clump of moist soil in your hand and form it into a ball. If it crumbles quickly, your soil is sandy and may need to be watered more often because it will not hold water for a long time. If the soil ball stays together firmly, your soil is a clay type. This soil will not drain well and your plants may rot. You will want to add peat moss and a little sand to this type of soil so it will drain properly. If your soil ball keeps its shape for a moment then crumbles, lucky you! You have a nice sandy loam that is perfect for gardens.
Don’t worry if your soil isn’t a good sandy loam. You can improve almost any soil so it will have the right balance for good drainage. You can mix compost or aged manure into your garden soil to improve it. In fact, mixing organic material into your garden every year is a good idea because it restores nutrients and keeps the soil healthy.
Water is Key When it comes to watering your garden, a soaker hose or flood irrigation is best. You can lay soaker hoses along the base of the plants and allow the water to soak in around the roots. Soaker hoses are a great choice for efficient watering because they conserve water. For flood irrigation, make sure you have furrows about four to six inches deep between the rows of vegetables. Then simple set a garden hose at the top of the furrow and allow the water to flow down the furrow. This will water the plants at the roots and help prevent fungus and plant rot. The only drawback to flood irrigation is you will have greater weed growth along the furrows. To help prevent this, put a weed barrier fabric along the furrow that will allow for the water to flow along it and into the dirt, but prevents weeds from coming up.
Anyone can grow a great vegetable garden and reap the delicious harvest. It just takes a little planning and preparation. You will be a master gardener in no time!