Maybe you want to switch things up this year, and raise more vegetables instead of annuals, maybe you want to be part of the grow-you-own, farm-to-table crowd. Growing a vegetable garden can be a fairly easy activity, but you need to be prepared for the problems that may crop up along away. Being prepared and knowing what could be headed your way will help you avoid frustration later on.
Location, Location, Location
When planning your upcoming vegetable garden, make sure you find an area that gets the appropriate amount of sun for what you intend on planting, and plant only what you can guarantee you’ll have sun for. For instance, fruiting plants like peppers and tomatoes need at least 8 hours of sun a day, while green such as spinach or lettuce can make do with 4 to 6 hours.
Keep it Small and Thin
Particularly for newer gardeners, a smaller plot is the best bet. The less you’ve got, the less you need to worry about. But don’t think that you can crowd vegetables into a small plot to get higher yield. All this will do is create problems. Every vegetable needs room to grow, and not providing enough can cause vegetables to climb over each other for space, and grow poorly or not at all.
One of the most frustrating points in a vegetable garden can be when you realize seeds aren’t coming up. While there are a number of reasons this may happen, the most common of these is that you’ve used bad seeds to begin with. Before you put all the work in, drop a variety of seeds you plan on planting into a wet paper towel, then seal them into a plastic bag. They should begin to sprout within a few days – if they don’t, then that batch of seeds is likely bad and will not sprout if you plant them either.
Avoid Cold Ground
Sure, you’re in a hurry to get plants down, because the sooner they are planted, the sooner you can harvest the vegetables and eat them. However, if you plant too soon, you might never see them grow to be harvested. plants need warm soil to grow in. This doesn’t mean that a few days of 60-degree air temperature is good enough. You’ll want to measure the temperature of your soil for three or four days and see that it is above 60 degrees at all times before you put seeds into the ground, as cold soil will stifle and kill off seeds.
If this is your second year, third year, or you’re even further along with a vegetable garden, make sure you are rotating your plants year after year. With something like tomatoes, planting them in the same area year after year can lead to spotty foliage that is attacked by blight. Any vegetable planted in the same spot again and again will drain specific minerals from the ground, and every year it is planted, it will deplete these minerals further.
So avoid frustration later on, and make sure your vegetable garden gets off to a flying start.
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