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  1. Keep a Vegetable Garden Diary!
  2. Vegetable Gardening For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
  3. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Starting Vegetable Gardens
  4. Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
  5. The Five S’s of Vegetable Gardening Success

Keep a Vegetable Garden Diary!

In very dry areas, sunken beds can be used to gather available moisture. Think about planting your garden in blocks or beds of plants instead of single rows. Beds should be 3 to 4 feet across — narrow enough that you can reach the center from either side. Within the garden beds, place plants in rows or a grid pattern. The goal is minimize walkways and maximize growing space. You only add fertilizer and soil amendments to the planting area, saving time and money.


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Work with companion plants to attract beneficial insects and improve yields. Start small, and make sure to give each plant enough room to grow. The seeds and transplants are tiny, but full grown plants can get huge. Overcrowded plants have difficulty thriving. A small, well-tended garden can produce as much or more than a large, poorly tended garden.

Vegetable Gardening For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies

Most raised bed kits are rectangular, but you can also plant your garden in found items like old livestock water tanks or sections of drain pipe. If you grow up you can squeeze more crop in less space. Consider grow bags or containers to start your garden. Self-watering containers are a lot more forgiving than terracotta flower pots, which tend to dry out quickly.

The right tools make working in your garden a pleasure instead of a chore. Basic gardening equipment includes:. Shop yard and estate sales for bargains on real metal tools, or visit your local garden center.

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Starting Vegetable Gardens

Get tools that are the right size for you to reduce the risk of injury. Good tools will save time and effort, and your back.


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Keep tools clean and sharp, just like you should treat a good knife. Before you start building your garden beds or planting, you need to know something about your soil. Is your soil acidic, alkaline or neutral pH? Do you have sand, clay, silt, rocks, or a mix of all four? Is there a risk of soil contamination from nearby structures, roadways or other sources?

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Does it have a good amount of basic nutrients? Some of these characteristics can be determined just from looking at the soil. Others may require home tests or professional lab tests. For instance, lead contamination from old house paint or nearby roadways with heavy traffic is a problem in some areas.

Most garden crops prefer soil with a pH around 7 neutral , although some like conditions that are slightly acidic potatoes, for instance or slightly alkaline brassicas.


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  • Balanced nutrient levels are also important, as is the presence of organic matter. In the U. Most plants prefer a deep, well-drained, fertile soil rich in organic matter. Each year I add a combination of different types of organic matter, including compost, worm castings and mulch. To learn which plants grow best directly seeded in the garden and which plants are better as transplants, visit the seed starting calendar.

    Gardening 101: How To Start A Garden

    Starting your own transplants is a great way to save money, too. Most seed packets and transplant containers come with basic planting instructions. North is shady, south sunny. Pick a sunny location — which might be in your front yard — and dig out the weeds you are most likely harboring. If there aren't weeds or grass, ask why — does a giant tree shade the area? Did your neighbor "recycle" his motor oil in your yard? If you're unsure about shade, winnow your list of easy vegetables a bit more. Chard, lettuce, and spinach will do fine with half-day shade, so plant them on the east side and reserve broccoli and cabbage for a sunnier spot.

    Once you've weeded your plot, turn the soil and spread a bag of potting soil and another of compost. Turn the soil again. Now level it off, as if you were going to take a nap on top. You've made a seedbed. Follow the instructions on the packages of seeds as to spacing and depth. Plant in blocks, not rows; tractors and irrigation equipment aren't coursing through your yard. Firm the bed with the flat of your hands so the seeds are well in place or with your feet if you've made a large bed , and water with a fine spray a couple times, not heavy enough to dislodge the seeds but sufficiently to dampen the soil.

    Dramm wands come with fine-spray heads, and the wand will screw right on your garden hose. Keep the bed moist but not wet. Congrats — you've started your garden. Slugs and snails are high-fiving, too. Sprinkle Sluggo around, and that'll do most of them in. You may lose a few leaves, but you won't lose them all, and you won't be poisoning cats or birds. Sluggo Plus also decimates earwigs and sow bugs aka pill bugs , and although the roly-polys are cute, they will eat your plants. Here's something you may not anticipate or understand: labels.

    Get plant labels, write the variety on it with a permanent marker, and stick it in your bed. Every single person who comes to visit your garden and by July or August, you'll be insisting people view your masterpiece whether they want to or not will ask what that lettuce or chard is. If you don't know, your guest's face will fall, and you'll feel rotten. Label your veggies. And make your garden a work of art. Even though you're a neophyte, you can have a gorgeous garden.

    Fan your seedbed into a crescent shape, or put a few tall plants for instance, peas on a rustic bamboo teepee inside a circle of lettuce and other greens. Vary your greens — Chinese cabbages next to kale, for instance, and lettuce intermixed with all. If they begin to crowd, pull out a plant here and there for dinner. The rest will fill in the hole in a couple days.

    If you want a bed of all lettuce, buy the most interesting varieties you can find, mix the seeds in a bowl, and plant them randomly. Red romaine looks amazing next to lime-green butter lettuce. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, and snapping beans to harvest them is kind of entertaining. Both types grow easily from seeds. Most beans prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Harvest to Table has a list of the 25 best bean varieties to grow. Pumpkins are relatively easy to grow and are great to have around during the autumn season.

    As you probably know from baking and carving, there are different types of pumpkins and some are simpler to grow than others.

    The Five S’s of Vegetable Gardening Success

    For a complete guide, take a look at the information on Harvest to Table. Serious Eats says :. The blossoms are as delicious as the squash. Like beans and cucumbers, zucchini plants are prolific, whether they are grown in containers or directly in mounded soil. Like beans and radishes, they grow easily from seeds. Hey, the more you garden, the more you grow. The A.

    The Five S’s of Vegetable Gardening Success

    Melanie Pinola.