March 18, 2007

Starting a Vegetable Garden

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Vegetable GardenVegetable gardening is a rewarding hobby. You get to nurture the plants from seedlings into giant, productive plants that produce delicious and healthy food for your family. What could be better than that?

If you’ve always wanted to start a garden but were intimidated by the amount of work it would take, let me tell you, vegetable gardening does not have to be difficult. In fact, you don’t even have to break ground if you don’t want to.

If you don’t have a big back yard or simply don’t want to give up space to a garden, there are many vegetables (and herbs!) that can be grown quite successfully in containers, including tomatoes, peppers, staked beans and cucumbers, even lettuce and radishes.

Use a Quality Potting Mix

Use a good potting mix that drains well, add compost and fertilizer if you like, mix well and add to your pots. Plant seedlings as instructed on plant tags, or seeds as the seed packets indicate. Lettuce, radishes, beans and cucumbers can all be grown from seed, while tomatoes and peppers do better in most areas started from seedlings.

Collect your containers together on your back porch or balcony, add a wind chime, a gazing ball or some other garden accessory, and place some plants on shelves or plant stands for a variety of heights. There you have it: a garden in a corner.

If you’d like to have a vegetable garden in the ground, prepare to soil by removing the sod. You’ll want to get rid of as many weeds as possible so you don’t have to pull them up later. Mix in compost and fertilizer, then plant your plants and seeds as in containers.

A little planning is helpful when designing a large vegetable garden. Think about which way the sun will shine into your garden and how the shadows of some plants will fall on the other plants. Planting lettuce in the shade of your tomato plants may give you a longer season because the shade will keep the delicate plants cooler.

Rotate Your Crops

From season to season you’ll want to rotate your crops. Many popular home [garden vegetables] , including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and Irish potatoes, are members of the nightshade family. These plants are susceptible to the same diseases and insects, and also use similar nutrients in the soil. To keep your garden healthy, don’t plant nightshades one after the other in the same spot year after year.

To finish off your garden, add a decorative rain gauge. Many of the problems people have with gardening are associated with water, either too much or too little. Having a rain gauge where your plants are will let you know if they are getting enough water or if you need to intervene.

For a natural bug control method in your garden, try attracting a toad. Toads eat thousands of insects and will eliminate the need for using pesticides, which is better for you and the environment. Purchase a toad house, put it in a shady spot, give the toad a water source such as a shallow dish that is refilled daily. Toads breathe through their skin, so give them a pesticide and pollutant free environment with lots of bugs and they will thrive. So will your plants, which means lots of great homegrown food for you and your family.
Gardener's Supply Company

Tags: Vegetable Garden, Perennial Flowers

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Filed under Vegetable Garden, Perennial Flowers by landscapeliving.
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