Tips for Vegetable Gardening

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This article provides basic tips for getting started in vegetable gardening
by Brett · All Zones · Food Gardens · 0 Comments · August 27, 2010 · 13,160 views

Growing vegetables successfully can be simplified to a few key factors: good soil, adapted varieties, early planting, lots of sunlight, dependable moisture and wise fertilizing. You can plant and grow your vegetables organically (using no chemicals), or non-organically.

The most important thing is the garden soil.

Vegetable Garden Soil & Drainage Requirements

Many vegetable plants are fast growing and therefore can be heavy feeders, so they will need a quality garden soil for best performance. Few gardeners have ideal soil for growing vegetables but, in most cases and with a little work, you can turn the average to poor soil you have into a good vegetable growing medium. If your soil is too sandy it might not hold enough water and nutrients, while clay soils are often too compacted and lack good drainage.

Good drainage is a must for growing vegetables.

The key to good soil is organic matter. Between each season, broadcast a half-inch layer or so of organic matter over the garden. Mushroom Compost, composted manures, or your own home-made compost are good forms of organic matter. Till or turn to mix organic matter into the garden soil. When starting a new garden, mix in a 2 to 4 inch layer of organic matter/compost into the soil.

It is best to build up "raised rows/beds" within the garden to facilitate good drainage. These raised rows should be 5 to 10 inches in height. You can always supply extra water when needed, but you can't take it away!

When To Plant Vegetables

Plant your vegetable plants outdoors when all danger of frost is past and nightime temperatures are remaining above 55 degrees F.

Starting From Seed: If you plan on starting your own vegetable plants from seed, start seeds indoors at the time indicated on the package. This might be 4 to 10 weeks prior to the last frost date. Refer to seed package label for seed starting date.

Vegetable Plants: If you don't have the time to start your own plants, your local independent nursery and garden center should have many varieties of ready-to-plant vegetables available for purchase when time is right for planting. With the new enthusiasm regarding "organic vegetable", many nursery and garden centers are offering a selection of organic vegetable plants, which have been grown from organic seed, and with no harmful chemicals.

Fertilizing Vegetable Plants

For peak performance, vegetable plants require nutrients and organic matter. You can fertilize your vegetables organically, or with commercial fertilizers.

Fertilize your vegetables with 5-10-15 or Milorganite every 4 weeks or so, or if you are an organic gardener, continue to broadcast your homemade compost from time to time around the root systems of your plants throughout the growing season.

Growing Vegetables In Containers

Not all vegetables are suitable for growing in containers. Peppers and tomatoes are probably the most popular for container growing. In regards to soil, use a good potting medium/mix instead of native soil/dirt. Native dirt will most likely be too heavy and not drain adequately. Grow your vegetables in at least a 5 gallon size container (larger is better) that has drainage holes at the bottom. Be ready to pay closer attention to watering and fertilization. Make sure soil does not stay consistently wet.


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