Sponsored Links

Planting A Garden

planting a garden 1
Sponsored Links

Planting A Garden

Another alternative if your soil is poor, or if you have limited sunny space, is to plant in containers. There are all kinds to choose from; plastic or clay pots or wooden planters in many shapes and sizes. In general get the biggest ones that are practical for you so your plants will have plenty of root room, and because larger pots dry out more slowly. For good sized plants like tomatoes or peppers or large flowers, depth should be 12 to 18 inches. Smaller plants like herbs, lettuce, and more compact flower varieties can grow in smaller pots. The most important things to remember when gardening in containers is that the soil mix must have a good loose texture that will hold moisture and won’t pack down over time. You can buy many good brands of premixed planting mix from your local garden center to fill your containers. Don’t use your garden or yard soil as it will get too compacted for good root growth and the moisture won’t wet it evenly. Remember that you will be supplying all the food and water to plants in containers since their roots aren’t in the ground where they can reach for nutrients and water in a larger area. Good moisture retention is critical, as is good drainage, so plan to fertilize and water all container plants very regularly. Making The Garden Bed Once you’ve decided on the size and location of your new garden, early spring weather has arrived, and the soil is ready to work, the first outdoor task is to prepare the garden soil. Mark out the garden area and using a digging fork, garden spade, shovel, or a rototiller, (convenient and fast, but not critically necessary), loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 18 inches. If you live in an area where your soil is very dry, water first to make it easier to work, but make sure you don’t ever dig when the soil is too muddy. Turn over the soil 7 to 10 inches deep and break up the clumps, removing rocks, branches and weeds. Mark out paths so you can make “beds” where plants are to grow. As noted above, two to three foot wide beds make ample planting areas and they are not too wide to reach across from both sides to weed, water or harvest. Once you have worked up your soil, walk only on your paths so you don’t compact the soil and lose the nice fluffy quality you are working to create in the planting areas. Fertilizing Most vegetables are heavy feeders and require a soil well supplied with plant food and organic matter. Do not attempt gardening without using fertilizer. Do not use fresh manure during the growing season because it may burn young plants. Do not use fresh leaves except as mulch. Compost also works well as a side dressing material.
planting a garden 1

Planting A Garden

Why Plant a Garden with Vegetables Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money — that $2 tomato plant can easily provide you with 10 pounds of fruit over the course of a season. But planting a garden with vegetables also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, sun-warmed tomato fresh from your backyard. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed grocery store produce. Plus, growing vegetables can be fun. It’s a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun. Learning what to plant in a garden with vegetables, and how to tend them for the best harvest, is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor, without having to spend hours and hours tending it. Planting a garden that includes vegetables and flowers means you’ve combined natural companions, and that can turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape feature. Read on for more tips on your first vegetable garden! Get inspired by the White House vegetable garden!
planting a garden 2

Planting A Garden

If you make the rows by midwinter, the winter weather will help in having a loose soil for early spring planting. When planting time comes in the early spring, all that will be necessary before planting is to “freshen up” the top of the rows for planting small seeds. If rows are too low after the winter rains, remake them and allow time to settle before planting. Cultivation The chief purpose of cultivation is to keep down weeds and grass. Cultivate shallow and as often as needed. There is no set time to do this job, but the best time is while the grass and weeds are small. Seeds Select seed varieties that do well in your area and plant fresh seeds each year. Seeds more than one year old, bought or home-saved, should be tested before planting. If you’re unsure of the quality of your seeds, do a germination test before using them. Place 10 to 20 seeds from a packet between moist pieces of paper towels inside a plastic bag. Place the bag in a warm location (70 to 90 degrees F). If more than half the seeds germinate within a week or two then you can be assured that the seeds are good. Buy seeds from a reliable seed dealer and get enough for at least two plantings. Getting your seeds early will insure your getting the varieties you want.
planting a garden 3

Planting A Garden

Unfortunately, critters (and children) may take a shine to your new garden. Rabbits, geese and deer can be a problem. For the small garden, a wire mesh surround works well. This will discourage most critters and some people. I’ve seen people take chicken wire and staple it to the top of their landscaping timbers on a raised bed to keep out geese and the like. Vandals can also attack gardens, especially in conspicuous areas of a city, such as in a community garden. Garden Practices Every gardener wants to grow as many quality vegetables as possible with the least expense. To do this you must use good garden practices. Prepare plot or rows during fall and winter for early spring planting. Use fresh seeds of recommended varieties. Make double-row plantings of beets, carrots, radish, mustard, lettuce, turnips, onions, English peas, and spinach in the spring garden. Use adequate fertilizer. Side dress plants with a nitrate fertilizer when the plants are 3 to 4 inches tall. Prune and/or stake plants that require it, such as tomatoes, pole beans, sweet pepper, and eggplant. Water, mulch, and harvest regularly to keep plants producing. Cultivate when grass and weeds are small. Grow two or more crops of certain vegetables on the same row at the same time. Control pests. Make at least two plantings of most vegetables for continuous production. Soil The better the condition of your soil, the better garden you will have! The best way is to add decomposed organic material that is worked into the soil to improve its balance, texture and water-holding capacity. Use aged manure, rotted leaves, peat moss, compost (the best!) or whatever kind of organic material is available. Building good soil is the most important task a gardener can do, and luckily there are all kinds of materials that will work. Ask your gardening neighbors or a good local garden center what is the best and most plentiful organic material to be found in your area, then really stock up. Soil is broadly defined as three types: clay, sand and loam. Most soils have some of each of these although one type often predominates. Clay soils have small particles that hold moisture and nutrients. They warm up and cool down slowly. Lighten heavy, compacted and poorly drained clay soils by the addition of compost or other organic material. Sandy soils have larger particles. They change temperature, are light in texture, and drain water and nutrients quickly. Adding compost to sandy soil helps it hold moisture and conserve nutrients. Loam is a soil type containing a combination of both types of particles, as well as plentiful decayed organic matter. It holds nutrients and moisture, yet drains well. Although this soil occurs naturally in some areas, you will want to mimic nature in your soil preparation by adding extra organic material to the soil you have to make it as close to loam as possible.
planting a garden 4

Planting A Garden

For best results, remove all weeds from the garden prior to mulching. Thoroughly irrigate the garden prior to putting the mulch in place or time its placement after a soaking rain. If your choice is black plastic, cut slits in the sheeting to allow for air and water movement into the soil. Carefully anchor the plastic to the soil prior to planting the garden area. Grass clippings and straw will need to be spread at least 2 inches thick to be effective. And, these mulches will need to be replenished during the season as they decay. Irrigation There is no set time to water the garden. Just be sure the leaves are dry when the sun goes down. If you row water, drip irrigate, or flood the garden, it can be watered at any time. If you sprinkle, be sure to turn off the water at least 2 hours before sundown. Apply at least 1 inch of water per week when it doesn’t rain. Insects Watch for insect infestation. If things are properly spaced in your garden, insects shouldn’t be a big problem. If you do see evidence of chewing on plants, especially things like cabbage, don’t wait to fight back. Identify the insect causing the damage and choose an insecticide or insecticidal soap that will control that specific insect. Proper spacing, weeding and fertilizing is a good way to prevent disease and insect infestation without having to resort to harmful insecticides. Crop Rotation To reduce the likelihood of plant diseases becoming a problem in your vegetable garden, do not grow the same crop in the same area of your garden each year. Rotate the crops by family and not by individual vegetable. Plant related crops (crops in the same family) in the same place only once every three or four years. For example, follow your tomatoes with peas or pole beans, followed by trellised cucumbers or squashes the second year, sunflowers the third year, and then back to tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potato, or tomatillo. Harvesting Vegetables One of the major benefits of growing your own vegetables is being able to harvest them when they’re fully ripe and at their peak of freshness. In general, the best time to harvest is in the morning just after the foliage has dried. The plant has just had the night to recover from heat and water stresses common during summer days. Fruits and vegetables will be at their top quality then. Cooler temperatures in the morning also make the job less stressful for the gardener. Once harvested, don’t let vegetables sit in the sun. Move them indoors as quickly as possible. Know Your Vegetables Vegetables may be classified by their resistance to frosts and cold. By knowing this, you can tell what and when to plant for best production. The four general groups of vegetables are hardy, half hardy, tender, and very tender.

Planting A Garden

Sponsored Links

4 Photos of the "Planting A Garden"

planting a garden 1
planting a garden 2
planting a garden 3
planting a garden 4