vegetable Gardening secrets every beginner should live by
Margaret Roach has a joke she often replays with a friend who is a longtime gardener: "What's the best gardening advice you've ever received?" one asks. "Green side up," replies the other. It's a solid tip, but Roche hopes to offer even more hard-hitting advice to new gardeners with his seminal book, A Way to Garden: A Hands-On Primer for Every Season. In it, he shares insights gleaned from three decades of working his land in New York's Hudson Valley. Among his many pearls of wisdom for beginners, here are a few that will guide you to a successful experience wherever you garden.
1. Don't buy every plant you want at a nursery.
This often results in a polka-dot garden, not a coherent landscape. Buy fewer items in large numbers to plant in drifts and repeat elsewhere in the garden.
2. Plants grow.
Like the "green side up," this should be obvious but sometimes isn't. Planting trees and shrubs along a path, a structure, or near one can be expensive. Space woody plants no closer to two-thirds of their mature width, and use annuals and perennials to fill the space in the meantime.
3. Limit the width of your beds.
For edibles or cut flowers, whether in-ground or raised, a bed 6 feet wide or larger is impractical. Creeping for planting and weeding compacts the interstitial soil. Four or 5 feet wide is plenty, and reaching the middle is possible on either side.
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4. It is never too early to install drip irrigation.
This is especially true for intensively cultivated crops such as vegetables. Save time and water by installing a drip irrigation system.
5. Know your weeds.
Learning the names and growth habits of your weeds is critical to garden management. Are you up against a wonderful self-seeding annual like crabgrass, where efforts to prevent seeding must be made over time? Or is your enemy running underground like perennial gout? Many local extension services have online tools for identifying weeds. (Rutgers and the University of Minnesota have good ones.) Once you've identified your weeds, photograph them and make notes to refer to next year.
6. Use desirable volunteer plants.
I shop my own garden every spring, transplanting baby nicotiana, foxglove, and hellebores to better spots. It is therefore valuable to learn to recognize volunteers' seedlings; If I can't identify them, I'll waste money on every single one in the nursery.
7. No "deer-proof" plants.
That means deer will at least browse any plant and take a nip or so. The best investment I ever made was a fence.
8. Most insects are not insects.
Most insects are either beneficial or harmless and have nothing to worry about. A shelf of regional field guides, a bookmarked browser at bugguide.net, and apps like iNaturalist are among the gardener's best companions.
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9. The number of seeds in a packet has little to do with how many to sow.
For example, with tomatoes, a packet may contain 40 seeds, and all you need is six plums and two slicers for the sauce. Don't make the same mistake I did in the beginning and do more than you can handle.
6 Secrets to Starting Your First Vegetable Garden
Vegetable gardening at home is a way to save money while getting closer to nature. For example, even a single tomato plant is very affordable—$3 to $5—and can yield up to 10 pounds of tomatoes per season, but it could easily run you $20 or more. Growing tomatoes and other favorite vegetables or herbs from seed can save even more money. You'll also find that the taste and texture of garden-grown produce are better than what you're used to finding at the grocery store. Plus, tending to your vegetable garden is considered exercise! Explore these tips and tricks to get your vegetable garden off to a strong start.
1. Start with a small gap
If you're a beginner gardener, start small. It's better to be happy with what you produce in a small garden than to be frustrated by the time it takes for a large one. It's best to learn some gardening basics before investing tons of time and money into this new hobby. You will realize how much time gardening takes. You will find out if you want to spend time outside planting, watering, and weeding. You will also know how much produce you and your family can eat during the summer.
A good size for a beginner vegetable garden is 6x6 feet. Choose five types of vegetables to grow and plant a few of each type. You'll have lots of fresh produce for your summer meals, and chores will be easier. Growing vegetables in containers is a great way to get started. With them, you don't even need a yard; A sunny deck or balcony works well.
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2. Grow what you love to eat
What do you like to eat? Your answer will tell you what you should plant in your vegetable garden. There are a few other things to keep in mind when deciding what you want to grow.
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Pay close attention to the description on the seed packet, tag, or label. Each type of vegetable comes with certain characteristics. Some produce small plants suitable for containers or small gardens. Other varieties offer better disease resistance, improved yields, or better heat- or cold tolerance. Start by choosing the vegetables you want to eat, then look at their sizes and maintenance requirements.
Calculate how much you and your family will eat and freeze, make or give away excess produce. Be realistic about how many seeds or plants you need to put in the ground. Many beginners make the mistake of over-planting. Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and squash are constantly supplied throughout the season, so you don't need many plants to meet your needs. Other vegetables such as carrots, radishes, and corn can be harvested only once and then replanted.
Planting both cool and warm climate vegetables will give you a spring, summer, and fall harvest of vegetables and herbs. In early spring, grow spinach, greens (such as arugula), peas, radishes, carrots, and broccoli. After harvesting your cool-weather crops, plant warm-weather favorites like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and herbs. In autumn, you can harvest potatoes, cabbage, and cabbage.
Experimental garden tip: By planting vining crops like green beans and peas, you use vertical space in the garden to increase yield per square foot.
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3. Choose a location for your garden
No matter where you place your garden or what you decide to plant, there are two basic requirements for your location to be the best success: water and light.
A lot of sunlight is essential
Like all plants, vegetables need sunlight to initiate photosynthesis. Fast-growing vegetables need full sun Fast-growing vegetables need full sun - at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day - without obstruction from trees, shrubs, or hedges. That's why sun-loving vegetables won't have much success if planted in shady areas. If your yard offers partial shade, plant vegetables and herbs that tolerate those conditions, such as spinach, kale, collards, spinach, chives, cilantro, parsley, and dry thyme. Root vegetables such as carrots, radishes, and beets can also work if your site receives at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day. Or if you have a sunny patio, switch to container gardening. That way you can put sun-loving vegetables and herbs like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, basil, dill, and rosemary where they do best.
Think about convenient water access
The closer your land can be to a water source, the better. You should water these fragile plants frequently in the first few weeks after seeds have germinated or seedlings have been transplanted to help them develop strong roots and stems. Once your plants are established, it's better to give your garden a long drink every few days rather than a little sprinkling every day. The water then moves deeper into the soil, which encourages the roots to grow deeper, where they can access the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Consider installing soaker hoses or drip irrigation on a timer to help reduce water wastage and the amount of time you need to water.
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4 Be prepared for pests and diseases
Some problems require special solutions, but in general, follow these guidelines to keep pests away from your vegetables.
Stop weeds in their tracks
Weeds compete with your vegetables for light, water, and nutrients, so it's important to keep them to a minimum. Clean straw, compost, or plastic mulch around large plants like tomatoes can keep weeds at bay. Use a spade to encourage weed seedlings that pop up.
Keep animals out
Large pests such as deer and rabbits can wreak havoc on an edible garden. An 8-foot fence is needed to keep deer from jumping into the garden. A fence should extend 6 inches below the soil to prevent rabbits and other burrowers from burrowing inside.
Prevent destructive insects
Picking off large insects and caterpillars by hand—and dropping them into a bucket of sudsy water—is a safe, effective way to deal with limited infestations. For large numbers of insects, try insecticidal soap sprays, which you can find at most garden centers. Whatever pest-control chemicals you use, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
Fight fungal diseases
Reduce the chance of fungal diseases by watering the soil, not the leaves of the plants. If you use a sprinkler, do it during the day so that the leaves can dry out at night. If a plant becomes infected, immediately remove it and throw it in the trash; Do not add diseased plants to your compost pile. Additional disease prevention measures include growing vegetable varieties listed as disease-resistant and changing the location of your plants each year (crop rotation) to reduce disease-causing microbes from building their populations.