Vegetable Garden Guide
Vegetable gardening has exploded in popularity in recent years and with good reason! It's a fun and rewarding hobby that is great for the whole family and can yield delicious dividends. There is really no comparison between freshly grown vegetables and the ones you will find at the supermarket.
To get your vegetable garden off to a great start and keep it producing all season long, we recommend the following tips.
Choosing a Location
Vegetables require a location with good sun. All day or at least five hours of afternoon sun is ideal. The soil should have adequate drainage, be in the neutral pH range, and be high in organic matter. Whether your soil is sand based or clay based, the yearly addition of organic matter such as compost, manure or peat moss is a good idea for the entire garden area. If this is not possible, each row can be amended. Estabrook's also recommends the addition of organic compounds such as gypsum to boost certain capabilities of your plants and soil.
A balanced fertilizer should be used to get the maximum crop result and to reduce the effects of root competition. You can choose an organic, granular, or water-soluble fertilizer.
To allow the plants to process fertilizers more successfully and encourage lush growth and crop production, lime should be applied yearly. If possible, a mulch should also be applied to aid in weed control and water holding capacity. This mulch could consist of compost, straw, grass clippings or layers of newspaper.
Remember to water your established vegetable garden well, applying 1.5-2" per week. As with all plantings, if you plan to use an overhead system, you should water early in the morning to reduce the risk of disease.
For ease in pulling and less root disturbance to the desired crop, weeding is best accomplished when the weeds are small. You can also lightly cultivate the soil with a hoe or other weeding device. The best time to weed is on hot sunny days. The newly plucked or cultivated weeds can be left on top of the soil to wilt in the sun.