The Vegetable Garden from Planting to HarvestAug 19th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Organic Vegetable Articles
Whether you are looking for cost savings as prices rise in the supermarket and we are barraged with information on the benefits of eating vegetables, or you want produce that is fresher and better tasting, starting your own vegetable garden is the answer. It is important, however, to assess your situation before you begin. Know that gardening will take a lot of time, knowledge and tools. If you aren’t prepared for this, you may be better off just going to your local farmers’ market. For many of us, though, the gardening itself is as much of a reward as the harvest it yields.
Your local Agricultural extension office can give you information on what grows best in your area, when to plant, and other helpful tips. Give them a soil sample and they will analyze its PH and tell you what to do to improve it. It may be as simple as sprinkling a little lime on it.
If you have trees around your yard, take note of which areas get the most sun. Pick the area with the most sun to get the best harvest from your garden. No matter how good the soil, what type of fertilizer is applied or how diligently the garden is watered, sunlight is still the crucial factor for your garden. Photosynthesis rules.
Your choices for fertilizer may depend on how much time you have to spend. Organic and home-made is preferable, but commercial fertilizers can also work well. It takes time to make your own compost. Fertilizers made from fish or kelp are good and are easily applied and effective. A compost needs to be worked into the soil before you plant.
The beginning gardener often plants more than they can maintain. By the end of the summer, after many days of weeding and watering, they may decide to plant a smaller garden next year. It is good to start with a manageable size. You can always increase it as your skills are honed.
If you only have a small sunny space available for gardening, you may want to consider using a raised bed. This requires a lot of work at first and some investment in timbers to hold the soil in place. But the raised bed maintains a warmer temperature and can be more intensively planted. It can give you a better harvest in a small space.
Your seed packets, or those little plastic markers in the seedlings from the nursery, will tell you when to plant and how closely. Ideally, you want early, middle and late harvested vegetables. Spinach and snow peas can grow in the cool temperatures of early Spring. Corn and tomatoes won’t ripen until sometime in July. Okra won’t reach its peak until August but may then produce abundantly into September. Each plant is different, so you will want to take this into account when you plan your garden. Good planning can give you fresh vegetables from Spring through early Fall.
Planting your home garden can be a challenge, but it also offers rewards both in the planting and tending as you see your seedlings grow and in the harvesting of an abundance of fresh vegetables.