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Planting A Garden 4

planting a garden 4
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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.

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