Growing your own garden or vegetables is both fun and rewarding. All you really need to get started is some decent soil and a few plants. But to be a really successful vegetable gardener you’ll need to know what it takes to keep your plants healthy and vigorous.for a good result.
Are you looking to become more
For the casual gardener or the avid green thumb alike, a vegetable garden has a lot to offer. You can grow simple snacks for you and your family, or try to supplement entire meals with your produce.
Vegetable gardens are a real investment, and there is a bit of start -up cost and elbow grease that goes into growing vegetables before you get any return. There are many things to consider when deciding on whether or not you should invest in a vegetable garden.
Here are the basics.
Pick the right location—ideally, a sunny site! Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sun a day. Some crops such as broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and other greens will grow well in your less sunny spots.
Keep it close to home. A location near your house will make it easier for you to tend your plot regularly and will also make it convenient to run out and pick what you need for a meal.
The vegetable garden will help your family to be better nourished and healthier.
A truck needs the energy to work. This energy is provided through fuel.
Children need energy to grow strong and healthy. They get this energy from food.
In order to be well-nourished and healthy, the entire family needs energy and nutrients that food provides.
Only grow things your family likes to eat. There’s no sense in spending all your time and energy (and money) growing things you won’t enjoy! Here’s a list of common vegetables to get you started.
Water needs to be readily available. Nothing wears out a beginning gardener faster than having to lug water to thirsty plants during a heat wave. Consider investing in a quality hose with a sprayer attachment or even a drip irrigation system.
Good soil is the key to a successful garden. Plants depend on the soil for nutrients, stability, and drainage. To grow your best garden, start with well-drained, sandy loam and add as much organic matter as possible.
Amend your soil. Compost, leaf mold, or well-aged manure will increase the ability of your soil to both drain well and hold moisture—the sponge factor.
Organic matter improves the fertility, the structure and the tilth of all kinds of soils. In particular, organic matter provides a continuous source of nitrogen and other nutrients that plants need to grow. It also provides a rich food source for soil microbes. As organisms in the soil carry out the processes of decay and decomposition, they make these nutrients available to plants. For more on this subject, read .
However, never use fresh manure! It can harbor dangerous pathogens and will burn tender plant roots. Compost it for at least 6 to 12 months.
Seeds or plants?
Most garden vegetables can be directly seeded where they are to grow—lettuce, beans, carrots, beets, chard, spinach, peas, cucumbers, and squash. Things that take longer to produce an edible fruit do better with a headstart. Purchase transplants for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and melons or start your own indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting them outside. See seed-starting dates here.
Choose varieties that will mature in your growing season. See the Almanac Planting Calendar for planting dates based on the first and last frost dates and length of the growing season in your area.
Keep your garden productive by staggering plantings of fast-maturing veggies such as beans and lettuce and replanting other areas as they are harvested. Don’t plant all at once!
Use raised garden beds or containers if you don’t have much space to work with. If you have impossibly rocky soil or solid clay, consider building some raised beds that you can fill with good soil. Growing vegetables in containers is another option. If you want an instant garden, try to use grow bags.
Alternatively, lay down large bags of potting soil in your sunniest location, poke drainage holes in the bottom, make some slits in the top and pop in your transplants. I had a friend who lined her fence line with bags every spring since it was the only sunny spot she had. Her tomato plants were beautiful and she grew luscious peppers, too!
Keep Crops Moving
Crop rotation within the vegetable garden means planting the same crop in the same place only once every three years. This policy ensures that the same garden vegetables will not deplete the same nutrients year after year. It can also help foil any insect pests or disease pathogens that might be lurking in the soil after the crop is harvested.
To use a three-year crop rotation system, make a plan of the garden on paper during each growing season, showing the location of all crops. If, like most people, you grow a lot of different vegetables, these garden plans are invaluable, because it can be difficult to remember exactly what you were growing where even last season, much less two years ago. Saving garden plans for the past two or three years means that you don’t have to rely on memory alone.
For Flowering Plants this PDF is Awesome
Designing a Backyard Water Garden
There are several factors to consider when designing a backyard water garden. The size of your yard or gardening space, amount of money you wish to spend, and maintenance level are all important considerations. Building a DIY water garden may also require a professional landscaping crew if you choose something beyond the scope of your abilities. For the apartment or condominium dweller, simple container gardens are space savers, inexpensive and easy to assemble. Other considerations are visibility, light exposure and soil composition.
Gardeners with minimal space or who don’t want a lot of maintenance can still have a water garden. Use containers and purchase pump systems to create container water gardens. These have minimal upkeep and still produce the soothing sounds and fluid display of a larger feature. Choose a container that is water-tight and large enough to accommodate the plants you wish to install. You can even implement fish in container water gardens as long as there is a pump to oxygenate the water.
Step 1: Choose your location. Place the pond where it can be seen and enjoyed, near a window or deck. It should get 5 to 6 hrs. of full sun. Check with your local utility or Diggers Hotline BEFORE digging!
Step 2: Layout. Lay the pond shell where you want it. Mark around the edge with paint or chalk.
Step 3: Excavation. Remove sod. Extend the perimeter of the hole by 2 or 3 inches. Dig 2 or 3 inches deeper than the depth of the pond. Set the liner in the hole, it should sit level and below ground level.
Step 4: Add sand and install a liner. Add a 3 or 4-inch layer of sand to the bottom of the hole. Place the liner in the hole and check for level. Then gradually fill with water as you pour in more sand around the sides. Try to finish backfilling as the pond fills.
Step 5: Rock borders. Use gravel to hide the exposed sides of the liner. This gives a more natural look. Use flat rocks or pavers to cover the edge of the liner.
Step 6: Finishing the pond. Add the pump and filtration system. Plug into a GFCI outlet. Plant shallow water plants into the gravel around the edges. Use planter baskets for deeper plants like lilies. Wait to add fish