Tuesday, July 17, 2012

vegetable gardening

One of my favorite projects to start and not finish is the garden. At the beginning of the season I am so excited to spend a Saturday at the garden center and then come home to plant all my new goodies. Within a few weeks I am annoyed to go water the garden but when I start picking those delicious veggies I am once again in love.

I have decided the way to be a more consistant gardener is to make a calendar. I seem to always be a week or two late planting or I love starting from seed but somehow I forget to start the seeds in time. If you are like me and seem to always be one step behind on the gardening trend, stay tuned because soon I will be posting my year round garden plan.

We moved into our house in April so once again I was behind in my garden preparation but we did the best we could. The first weekend home we put in a quick garden to ensure we had some summer produce but I am planning to expand for the fall. Here is what we started with.
If you have never had a garden before, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Site
Most vegetables need full sunlight for growth and development so try to select a site that receives at least 8-10 hours of sunlight a day. Plant leaf crops such as broccoli, collards and spinach in areas likely to be in partial shade. Locate the garden near your house and water supply so observing and watering it is convenient.

2. Soil
Living on an island has its benefits but soil quality is not one. Our backyard is essentially sand so we chose to do raised beds for our garden. Raised beds are simple frames 8-10 inches deep, staked to keep in place and filled with topsoil. 

One step many people miss is a soil test. You can do this easily and inexpensively through your local county Extension office. This should be done months prior to planting to determine lime and fertilizer needs (This is one of those steps I am always a little late on). If the pH is low (acidic soil), apply the recommended amount of lime before preparing the soil. A pH of 6.0 to 6.5 is recommended for most vegetables. You can find out more about applying fertilizer here.

3. Choosing your Plants
While you will want to select vegetables that provide a good supply of vitamins and minerals, be sure to plant vegetables you and your family likes. The size of your garden and the suitability of certain types of vegetables to your area will help determine the crops you choose. Remember that planting large-growing crops such as corn or melons in a small garden will reduce the number of other vegetables you can plant. 

Here is a Vegetable Planting Chart. This lists trusted varieties, planting dates and spacing to help you plan your garden. Don't forget to take advantage of spring and fall crops, not just summer. 

4. Make a Plan
Always plan your garden on paper before getting your seeds. Plant tall-growing plants together on the north or west side of the garden so they will not shade lower-growing plants. Remember to plan for space between rows to walk down to harvest the crop and maintain the bed. Include in your map what kind of vegetables you will plant, the distances between rows and between plants, the amount of fertilizer to use and the time of planting.

5. Mulch and Watering
A mulch of straw, leaves, compost or pine straw will help conserve moisture and control weeds in your garden. Apply enough mulch to have about 2-4 inches after settling. 

Unfortunately, you will only get moderate results if you try to grow a garden without watering it as needed. Water the garden as often as needed to maintain a uniform moisture supply. In the absence of rain, a good soaking once a week will probably be adequate for heavier soils. Light, sandy soils might require an application more frequently. Water early in the morning so foilage will dry off quickly, which helps prevent diseases.

It sounds like a lot to consider but i've found growing our own vegetables to be one of the most rewarding things we do for our home. It is also so nice to go to the backyard not the grocery store for that quick side dish for dinner. Hope this post helps get you started!

sources: Vegetable Gardening in Georgia, Home Gardening


2 comments:

  1. So thankful I'll have this to refer to when we have a yard... You're the wisest woman I know when it comes to many things...including gardening. Thanks!

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    1. you are too kind! hopefully ill be close enough to help with your garden one day...

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