If you are a hobby gardener, you may be dreaming about fresh organic vegetables. It is easier than it seems with a few simple steps. I discovered that vegetable gardening requires good planning and proper preparation for a successful harvest.
Step 1 - Bed and border planning:
Whether squash, tomatoes or lettuce, healthy plants have needs. Since most vegetables need a sheltered and sunny spot, growing them in the shade will be a futile effort. The size of the vegetable garden patch depends on the total size of the garden, and what vegetables you want to grow. Radishes or carrots grow well in a confined space. Significantly more space is required for potatoes, squash and cabbage.
Draw a scaled plan of the bed and lay out which plants grow where. The single bed should be no wider than 130 inches to keep the center of the bed from both sides within easy reach. Enclosing the bed creates visual clarity and prevents rain from washing away the fertile topsoil. This can be done using weather resistant wood planks of larch, oak, frost-resistant bricks or natural stones. If you typically have a lot of snails in the garden, you may want to consider a special snail guard.
Step2 - Preparing the soil:
Before it goes to seeding or planting, you need to prepare the ground. Use a garden claw to loosen up soil or mix existing dirt with nutritious top soil. You can spread a few bags of flower and vegetable topsoil on the bed. This will provide proper nutrition and good plant growth. In order to improve the nutrient content of the soil, you can also incorporate fertilizer. When in doubt conduct a pH test of the soil to avoid over-fertilizing. You can get pH test strips or a soil tester at your local garden center.
Step 3 - Make sure you have good neighbors:
Not all vegetables get along. For example, onions should not be planted next to green beans or cabbage. Tomatoes will grow well next to cabbage, lettuce, spinach, parsley, and celery. You can buy seeds or small plants to start your own vegetable garden. Established plants are sometimes easier for gardening newcomers. Sow or plant the vegetables in rows spaced wide enough apart to facilitate later maintenance of the bed. Keep in mind that some vegetables like green beans or tomatoes require a trellis.
Step 4 - Cultivate and harvest:
If you plant early in the spring and the weather is still cool, cover the freshly planted and sown vegetables to protect them from frost damage. Otherwise, a vegetable is very easy to maintain. If there is no rain, just water once daily and remove the weeds in between.
With a little patience and depending on your region, your own fresh vegetables can be harvested in mid to late summer. When the season is over and you want to use your vegetable patch in the next year again, it is important to give the new soil nutrients. For example, old humus from the compost is ideal for mixing the existing soil.
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