The First-Time Vegetable Gardener -- Some Pathways to Success

 


Article by: Fred Davis

Did I hear you correctly? You're just "starting out" in the rewarding (and often exhausting) hobby of gardening? Think you'd like to grow , Balcony, Patio, and Courtyard Gardening your own vegetables, , Patio Accessories - Complete The Great Outdoors instead of limiting your choices to that natural-looking, neatly-arranged assortment of mostly foreign grown produce in the supermarket? Are you concerned that, in all likelihood, most supermarket vegetable , Have Year Round Color by Planting for Birds offerings may contain substances (additives, pesticides, and other chemicals used in their production) over which you have absolutely no control, and that you'd prefer not to serve to your family?

Then you're among a growing , Hot Feeding Tips number of consumers with a yearning to take control over the quality and content of at least some of the food , How to Start Your Lawn by Seeding or Sod consumed, and have made a firm decision to grow , Cactus Grafting: Lophophora Williamsii to Trichocereus Candicans as a Rapid Propagation Technique their own. Below are some helpful tips , Attracting Birds to the Garden for the health-conscious neophyte veggie gardener. . .tips not cast in stone, , Bamboo Plant Information and Care but ones that will improve your chances of success and satisfaction.

First, your new garden's location. , Hot Feeding Tips Most vegetables grow , Easy Concrete Pavers and mature best in full, uninterrupted sunlight. You've probably noticed that the big, profitable market-growers don't have too many trees , Growing Orchids as House Plants in and around their production fields. Eight to ten mid-summer hours is preferable, but that may be a bit difficult for many home-gardeners. Try for an absolute minimum of six full hours of direct sunshine during the brightest part of the day. Save , Hot New Sunflowers to Grow the shady spot in your yard , Attracting Birds to the Garden for the hammock. For the beginning vegetable , The Secret of Rooting Cuttings grower, 650 to 1,000 square feet of space is manageable. Be careful not to bite off more than you can comfortably chew! If you find you need more space, you can always expand the following year.

If your new garden , Easy Concrete Pavers space is currently lawn , Dutch Tulips or weeds, , Design Your Own Rose Garden here's a word or two of caution: tilled into the soil, , Selecting Your Gardening Tools crabgrass, Bermuda grass, , Cultivating Plants In Your Garden...What To Watch Out For dandelions, and many other aggressive weed , Cactus Grafting: Lophophora Williamsii to Trichocereus Candicans as a Rapid Propagation Technique species will re-grow from the tiniest fragment and quickly return to haunt any gardener. Take the time to remove all weeds , The Secret of Rooting Cuttings -- leaf, stem and root , Hot Feeding Tips -- before starting the garden. , Design Your Own Rose Most experts correctly recommend that you "peel" off the top two or three inches of turf before you begin preparing the soil , Patio Accessories - Complete The Great Outdoors to receive valuable seeds , Patio Accessories - Complete The Great Outdoors or transplants. And you should know that rototilling a patch of lawn , Growing Orchids as House Plants is probably the most common and tragic mistake made by overly-enthusiastic novice gardeners.

Soil preparation is next. Don't begin until the ground is drained well enough that a handful of soil , Winterizing Your Pond squeezed into a lump breaks apart when dropped from about chin-high. Resist the temptation to disturb soil , Getting Started with Garden and Patio Design that's gooey and sticks together. I've always preferred to prepare a new garden , Easy Concrete Pavers soil with a spade. . .and I like to drive that spade completely to the "hilt" and turn my soil , Daylily "Red Hot Returns" upside-down -- literally. That's ten to twelve inches deep. Homeowner-size rototillers rarely have the ability to cultivate any deeper than four to six inches. Not enough!

Having said that, I've never been a fan or proponent of "double-digging" to the oft-proclaimed depth of 16 to 24 inches. Realistically, root , Some Of The Most Common Landscape Design Features systems of the overwhelming majority of common vegetables , Easy Concrete Pavers perform admirably in improved soils , Selecting Your Gardening Tools cultivated to a depth of a foot or so. Exhausting -- and frequently discouraging -- double-digging is not for me!

Soil that's been lawn , Color in Flowers Arrangements or field weeds, , The Uses of Compost! and hasn't been cultivated for several years, is probably dirt-poor, so to speak. As you turn your new food-growing plot upside-down, mix in organic , Delavay's Blueberry (Vaccinium delavayi) material such as compost , Hot New Sunflowers to Grow or sterilized cow or horse manure to make it rich, deep and loamy. Three or four inches worked in deeply would be great! Peat moss can be used to break up heavy clay soils , Patio Accessories - Complete The Great Outdoors but should not be relied upon to add nutrition or beneficial biology to your soil. , Winterizing Your Pond Peat moss is quite literally nutritionally and biologically dead and adds nothing of any lasting benefit to the soil. , Growing Orchids as House Plants

Now's the time for a soil , Color in Flowers Arrangements test. A mailer and complete instructions are available at your local , Tips for Garden Decoration Cooperative Extension Service office. Cost for a test is in the range of about $12. . .good insurance for improving your chances of success right from the start! While at the Extension, ask about their selection of very helpful publications to help you get off on the right foot. Most are free.

Select your seeds, , Guaranteed Gladioli, Summer Colour that Returns sets, transplants, and roots , Delavay's Blueberry (Vaccinium delavayi) carefully and, based on your preferences, availability and quality. At nurseries or garden , How to Choose the Right Bulbs for Your Spring Flower centers, never settle for tall, spindly vegetable , Solar Residential Outdoor Lighting is Becoming the Product of Choice for Millions of Consumers transplants that are root , Your Home is Your Fortress: the Art of Garden Fencing bound, or appear to have been neglected in their tiny containers, or ones that have already begun to bloom or have set fruit. , Small Garden Bridges You'll Love To Cross! Those are "dead-end" -- and the furthest thing from a bargain. Make your purchases early enough in the season , Have Year Round Color by Planting for Birds to ensure strong, stocky plants , How to Start Your Lawn by Seeding or Sod that have a solid, healthy , How to Start Your Lawn by Seeding or Sod appearance and color. , 5 Easy Steps To A Successful Residential Landscaping Project. Reject any transplants that have excessively curled leaves, and those showing signs of nutritional deficiency (bronzing or yellowing of lower leaves, for example). And never accept young veggie plants , Pond Supplies - A Must For Your Pond from displays infested with aphids or small, winged, "gnats" or moths.

Most nurseries and garden , Balcony, Patio, and Courtyard ing centers will carry one or more lines of acceptable quality packaged seeds. , Selecting Your Gardening Tools Personally, I get my seeds , Your Home is Your Fortress: the Art of Garden Fencing from well-known and reliable local , Tips for Garden Decoration sources when possible, and I always stay away from the bargain racks at markets and those high-volume, high-traffic big-box stores. I like my seed , Lighting your Garden with Perennial Bulbs fresh, and I take comfort in the assurance of optimal, carefully controlled storage conditions. Johnny's Selected Seeds , The Secret of Rooting Cuttings of Winslow, Maine (http://www.johnnyseeds.com) is, in my opinion, a good place , Teak Furniture - A Cut Above The Rest to start.

Fertilizer is, of course, an important consideration. I prefer to avoid use of bagged, granular, non-natural mixtures for use in soil , Some Of The Most Common Landscape Design Features intended for producing my food. , Your Home is Your Fortress: the Art of Garden Fencing Yes, you can use the recommended 10-10-10 (a "balanced" commercial plant , The Secret of Rooting Cuttings food), but for me, the jury is still out on the long-term health consequences of non-natural fertilizers and plant , Mosquito Farms? Is That What Water Gardens Are? food. In my mind, a safer choice would be an organic , Teak Furniture - A Cut Above The Rest mixture of naturally-occurring plant , Adirondack Chairs - The Proper Way to Care for Them nutritional elements available at most large farm-'n-gardens and garden , Small Bridges You'll Love To Cross! centers. Always follow directions printed on the package and the recommendations included in the results of your soil , Daylily "Red Hot Returns" test. You'll have a better grasp of just how much fertilizer and lime to apply once you have those results in-hand. Get the recommended fertilizer and any other suggested amendments thoroughly tilled-in a few days before you actually sow your seeds , Lighting your Garden with Perennial Bulbs or plunk in your transplants.

There is actually more to achieving real success in the home , Daylily "Red Hot Returns" vegetable patch. But now you have a basis from which to begin. You might like to read an 8-part series on vegetable gardening , Patio Accessories - Complete The Great Outdoors beginning at http://www.HillGardens.com/veggie-1.htm.

So, as soon as spring , Color in Flowers Arrangements arrives, off you go! Enjoy your new garden , Bamboo Plant Information and Care -- and keep a stiff upper lip, a smile on your face and a song in your heart! One final thought: don't be afraid to ask questions. A successful neighborhood gardener is a tremendous resource. So also is the local , The Basics Of Pruning library. And your state's Cooperative Extension Service can put you in touch with a Master Gardener or two for some first-rate and accurate local gardening , Balcony, Patio, and Courtyard assistance.

While you're at it, why not consider becoming a Master Gardener yourself? The Extension offers courses; the price is right; times are convenient; instruction is by top-notch professionals; and then you'll be the expert -- and successful! Hey!...what's wrong with that?
Fred Davis is a Master Gardener, Master Composter, , The Basics Of Pruning correspondent, lecturer, owner/operator of a popular 18-year-old perennial , Solar Residential Outdoor Lighting is Becoming the Product of Choice for Millions of Consumers nursery in south-central Maine, and author of "Keys To The Garden , Color in Flowers Arrangements Gate...Saying Some Things That Need To Be Said." He and Linda, his wife of 44 years, reside in Palermo, Maine and may be contacted by visiting http://www.HillGardens.com

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