Vegetable Garden Planning – Simple Steps to Making a Successful Vegetable Garden Plan

If you have decided to start to grow your own vegetables at home, vegetable garden planning is a worthwhile investment of your time. Planning your veggie garden will enable you to save time, money, space and labor. A well planned garden can increase the duration of harvest time and produce an increased quantity of vegetables at harvest time. With careful planning, you can ensure that your vegetables mature at different times rather than all at once providing a regular harvest of the vegetables you require. Vegetable garden planning can seem to be an intimidating project when you are just a learner. But it need not be that hard if you follow some simple suggestions.

1) Draw a rough plan of your yard.
Your garden planning needs to take into account how much space you can devote to your new pursuit. It will be easier to plan your vegetable garden if you first make a sketch of your yard, then go and measure it, writing your measurements on your sketch.

2) Decide on the size and location of the vegetable beds.
How much of your yard will you devote to your veggie patch? Consider all your other outdoor activities and their space requirements. Select a position in your yard which will be suitable for growing vegetables. Not all positions will be appropriate. For example, most vegetables require at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.

3) Draw a measured plan of your vegetable garden beds
Decide on what layout you would like for your vegetable garden. Rows? Raised garden beds? Four square? Potager? Now draw your vegetable garden plan with a pencil on graph paper or use some garden design software.

4) Plan the vegetables you will grow in your garden
Next you need to make a prioritized list containing the vegetables and herbs that you currently use in your kitchen, that will succeed in your climate and that you wish to grow.

5) Plan where you will be planting your vegetables
Starting with the vegetables on your list which have the highest priority, begin placing these on your garden plan, making sure that you leave enough space for the adult plant. You will also need to consider crop rotation and companion planting.

In conclusion Planning your vegetable garden will ensure a better return for the more physical work you will do outside digging beds, laying paths, watering, weeding and planting seeds and seedlings. Visit http://www.squidoo.com/vegetable-garden-planning to get more details on how to plan your vegetable garden. Be creative with your vegetable garden layout. Find out more details and see sample plans of different vegetable garden layouts at http://www.squidoo.com/VegetableGardenLayout

Enjoy your vegetable garden and the fruit of your labors.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Zillah_Bartlett/345694

 

Fresh Tomatoes and Organic Vegetable Gardening

How to build your own vegetable garden

You will first need to stake out an area of garden to be converted to a vegetable patch. This area needs to be located a good distance from large trees and in a well drained and sunny position. As mentioned above, sleepers can be used to define the veggie patch area and reduce the number of unwanted roots from entering. Rocks can be removed by sieving (this is important for parsnips and carrots to prevent forking) and plastic can be lined for long term segregation from surrounding soil.

The soil must be fertilized and irrigation or some form of consistent watering applied. Lastly the right vegetables must be selected and planted in sensible regions for optimal growth. Stepping stones for access to stake plants and harvest produce are effective as this will confine walking areas.

Make sure the garden is maintained. This includes watering, fertilizing, weeding and plant maintenance (such as staking).

Growing your own – some common pitfalls

What are some of the common mistakes made when growing vegetables at home? Some of the common pitfalls include:

Lack of plant nutrition and poor soil. 
When removing grass, try and retain as much of the top soil as possible. This is the darker soil held around the grass roots. Use soil conditioner to develop the long term sustainability of your soil.

Insect attacks
Use some methods to control bugs, birds and other pests. There are many organic methods available as well as some simple preventative measures like adding appropriate mulch and keeping fruit and vegetables well away from the ground.

Lack of water
Make sure watering is to the plant root system and consistent. If you have a dry spell of a few hot days, this can wipe out your entire vegetable garden, so make sure you water to the season and climate. Adding mulch helps your plants and the surrounding soil retain moisture and nutrients, both vital for plant health and growth.

Poor crop rotation and choice of plants and positioning
Does your sweet corn shade out your dwarf beans? Choose crops for the season and ensure that you don’t plant the same crop year after year in the same position as the soil will become less able to support that particular plant.

Badly installed vegetable garden
Make sure large roots are removed from your vegetable garden as these will take nutrients away from your plants. If you want a great long term vegetable patch you may want to build a frame from sleepers and line this with some sort of plastic to prevent roots encroaching on your highly nutritious veggie patch soil.

How to grow vegetables in pots
There is not too much difference here, except you will want to make sure your pot has good drainage, plenty of room to allow root growth and is well watered in a sunny position. Add some blue metal or other gravel into the bottom to allow drainage without letting the soil wash out, and make sure you add some organic fertilizer or potting mix rich in nutrients. Pots are great for residential living where space is restricted.

Where can I buy fresh tomatoes and other vegetables?
There are a number of markets which sell relatively fresh fruit and vegetables. This is something which is really specific to your region so you will have to do your own research on where to source organic produce. If you have the room however it really is not that hard to grow your own.

How to organically fertilize your vegetable garden soil
Collect grass clippings, leaves and other organic matter, and mix in your old food scraps to make some highly nutritious compost. If you have chickens then use their droppings as fertilizer.

Preventing pests and bugs on your fresh vegetables
There are many remedies for this. Some natural snail pellets will be invaluable during seed germination, as this is a time when they are most vulnerable. I have had entire 100 seedling crops virtually wiped out by slugs and snails in the past. Some say that blending some of these bugs (such as caterpillars) and applying as a diluted mix can act as a natural pesticide, and others simply suggest planting certain plants which act as a deterrent. For example planting mint can be a deterrent for ants.

Strips of old video tape can be tied around parts of the veggie patch to scare birds, and mulch will reduce the amount of bugs which want a piece of your tasty vegetables. Lastly, make sure you get the fruit off the ground. Tomatoes need staking and climbing beans need climbing poles or rods.

How to save water when gardening and maintain good drainage
Mulch will save you many liters of water as well as providing good weed management. Water will be much less likely to evaporate if generous layers of mulch are applied. You can also buy drip hoses which apply water directly to the base of the plants. This can save considerable amounts of water when compared to a standard sprinkler.

A complex irrigation system would perhaps be the most desirable method of applying water, however we must weigh up the pros and cons of such a system which can certainly become a little expensive. One of the pros however is that we can apply water directly to each plant through drippers, or targeted sprinkler heads.

Installing a sprinkler timer can allow watering in the early hours of the morning, just before a hot day when evaporation is at a minimum. This also allows regular and consistent watering within your suburb’s water restriction regulations.

Lastly you may decide to use grey water to add to your water supply. Water from your washing machine or the shower is perfect for the veggies and can drastically reduce your water bill. Just be sure to make sure you only use environmentally friendly shampoos, conditioners and washing powders/liquids. You may also like to install a water tank which collects water during heavy rain and can consistently water your garden over the dryer durations.

Deciding what to plant
Perhaps the most popular vegetable is the famous tomato. Commercially produced tomatoes are often picked green, and artificially ripened allowing any sugars to turn to starch. This has led to an enormous number of home growers deciding on fresh tomatoes as the number one choice when it comes to vegetables.

Other popular choices include beans, sweet corn, broccoli and potatoes – all of which are high produce crops. Be aware that some crops are more suited to winter than summer and vice versa, and some require full sun or part shade etc. Be sure to select the appropriate crops for the season and positioning within the vegetable patch.

Why grow organically?
Organically grown vegetables taste amazing. Many top chefs stick to organically grown fruit and vegetables in order to add that extra zing to their meals. Using natural fertilizing methods is also much better for the surrounding environment, something which is especially important in built up urban areas. Artificial phosphates and concentrated fertilizers can wreak havoc with wetlands, streams, rivers and other water bodies.

Pesticides are also bad for the environment and somewhat unnecessary. There are many ways of reducing pest activity in your vegetable patch which should definitely be used over pesticides which not only harm the environment, but allow bugs to build up a tolerance to such chemicals in the long run. It is also almost impossible to completely guarantee that some of these pesticides won’t end up in the food you eat, and with a world already plagued with carcinogens and other nasties, it is nice to avoid pesticides if at all possible.

The vegetable garden project.
If you would like to see an actual vegetable patch made in what used to be an ordinary grassed back yard, and the delicious results obtained, then make sure you have a look at my website below for pictures, walk throughs and further tips about growing your own vegetables at home.

Richard Watson ( [http://www.homegrownvegetables.com.au] )

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Richard_G_Watson/351927

 

Time to sow Delphinium seeds

Thanksgiving is a good time to sow Delphinium seeds. I say Delphinium because that is what they really are. Only one type interest me here in the South. Larkspur Consolidce is what I want yo talk about today. I say Thanksgiving because that is easy to remember when to sow them. The annual verity is not as pretty as the perennial verities. There are about 300 verities. You may have seen these beautiful flowers in arrangements at a funeral arrangement or in a fine hotel lobby arrangement. They are so beautiful. They are the most beautiful, but the do better in Northern conditions. Larkspur Conolidce is an annual and will do well her in the South. They need cool weather to get started. They are all shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. They need rich well drained soil.They do come up during the winter. They may be less than six inches tall by early Spring. When it starts getting warm, they take off growing. They may reach three to four feet tall by the time they start blooming. You may not have the seeds now because the stores are doing Christmas things now. When the seeds come in January, you can sow them then. They may not get as tall, but you can save the seeds for next Thanksgiving. There is a negative though. They are toxic to cattle and humans. They are not food. You do not eat them Once you grow them, I am sure that you will never be without them from now on.

Bare Root Planting

Have you ever thought about bare root plants?Arbor Day tree planting season is celebrated in South Carolina on the first Friday of December. Planting trees,(large, fruit, rare, or hard to find) are a better bargain by ordering bare root plants. Bare root plants are trees, shrubs roses, vines, and herbaceous perennials that are sold by mail order without soil around their roots. They are devoid of leaves, because they are dug and shipped during the dormant season. High quality plants are harvested during Fall and Winter . The soil is washed off, then dipped in a clay-based slurry to coat and protect the roots from drying out. They are then packed in damp peat moss, wood chips or shredded paper, then placed in plastic bags. they are then boxed and shipped. It may be a shock at first to see sticks with roots. If you will treat them like you love them, it will not be long until you really do. Check your package as soon as you get them. make sure you moisten them immediately. It would be wise to plant them right away. if you have to wait, store them in a cool dark space until you can get to them. make sure you spread the roots out so that they do no girdle. Make sure that the trunk is level to the top of the ground. too deep and girdling is just a disaster in the making. Be sure to mulch. that helps with temperature and moister .

LEAVES LEAVES LEAVES What do we do?

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year. It is especially pretty right now around here. We are in our peak. Some leaves are more beautiful than Spring flowers. As beautiful as they are, some cringe at the thoughts of the work to deal with the leaves. It is OK to just mow them into the lawn as long as they don’t get to thick. It will serve as mulch and that is a good thing. If they are to thick, rake them up and use them in your flower beds as mulch. You will be surprised at how fast they will decompose . And of course, they are a must in the compost pile. One plea is to PLEASE do NOT let them go to the storm drains. It causes all kind of problems downstream . It is so valuable in the yard. It is so harmful in the drains .Thank you for helping with that.

Daffodils in the field or in the garden

When I think Daffodils, I think Spring. There is nothing like seeing a field of yellow blooms. They are deer resistant, unlike many other bulbs. There are advantages and disadvantages to having these beautiful flowers, You have to let the leaves die down, and may take up until June to do so. In a field, it doesn’t matter. But in the garden, It can take up the space you need to plant your Summer bed. They can also be unsightly. To remedy that, just plant short ones. You still have the color without a mass of dying leaves. There are early, mid, and late blooming verities. If they are mixed in a bed, you will have blooms form Valentine until Easter. How could you complain with that?

Spring Bulb planting time

You know that it is fall bulb planting time when it starts getting cold, especially after a frost. I get excited at this time because I know that what I do now will determine how beautiful my Spring will be. The bulbs need the cold to develop roots to grow their bounty . Tulips, Daffodils Hyacinths ,and Crocus are among the favorite. However there are many more.  As a general rule, they should be planted where they will get 6 hours of sun in a well drained soil. Bulbs like crocuses and scillas can be planted beneath deciduous trees. These bulbs can satisfy most of their light needs before the tree leafs out. You plant the bulbs 3to 4 times the depth of  the size of the bulb. It is not that important if you plant them upside or not. They will adopt to that.

Where do Tulips come from

It’s Tulip time. I mean planting Tulip time. I personal visualize the bed in full bloom as I plant. The Spring almost always surpass what I visualize. Have you ever wondered where they came from, or just thought they came from Holland? Some species are indigenous to Turkey, where they have been cultivated for many years. But, the majority come from the mountainous regions of Central Asia.They can be found growing there today. They are much smaller bulbs than the ones we are use to today because of hybridization. I ordered some wild Tulips that comes from the island of Crete,Tien-Shan Mountains China,even Afghanistan and Tibet. I can’t wait to see how they do. I will let you know this Spring

Autuman Leaves

It is going to be beautiful here very soon. The mountains of North Carolina is in there peak right now. The foothills will be next, then us here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. There are reasons the leaves are turning. I always just enjoy the season, But I have found out why they turn.                                          We all know that the green in leaves is Chlorophyll. That is what photosynthesizes into food for the plant to grow.  There is also Carthaginians that is not visible until the weather changes   to short days and cooler temperatures.  That causes the photosynthesis stops and the sugars in the leaves turn color and is reviled.

Swamp Sunflowers

It seems most flowers that bloom in Autumn are yellow, especially the Native ones. There is one blooming now ( yellow) that is the greatest. It is Swamp Sunflowers. They can get 8 feet tall. They spread underground. That is why many people do not want them. If you start early, you can pull all the unwanted ones. Most do not know that you can trim them up till July. That can make you have an enormous showing in the fall. I like to start low and do it in layers to get the most results.