There is nothing more rewarding to a gardener than to have a beautiful vegetable garden bearing an abundance of delicious fresh produce all summer long. Most of us know that the reality of the situation is not so idyllic but by taking some time to plan ahead and follow some time honored steps most of us can have a very satisfactory vegetable garden with lots of good food for the whole family, and even some friends.
If there is one word to describe the first step to successful vegetable gardening it is “plan”. Start early; in the winter when you can’t go out and work in the garden begin the process. Start by deciding what vegetables you want to grow to meet the needs and wants of you and your family. See: Eight Factors to Consider when Selecting Vegetables for the Home Garden
You may find that you can have the vegetables you want in containers. See: Six Tips for Growing Vegetables in Containers
With your list of vegetables that you want to grow step one is to make a plan for the garden. See: How to make a Plan for your Vegetable Garden
If you are using a site that has been used for growing vegetables before, consider a crop rotation. See: How to Rotate Crops in the Home Vegetable Garden
Once you have a plan you will need to find a suitable site. You may find that you have to edit the plan you made, adding or subtracting some of the vegetables you chose, but that is par for the course and will make for a better garden in the long run. Don’t try to crowd the plants as this will only create disease problems and a loss in productivity. It is better to grow fewer plants and grow them well. See: How to Select a Site for a Vegetable Garden
Soil is one of the most important factors in establishing a successful vegetable garden so take some time and do it right. You may have to put considerable time and money into soil improvement the first time you do it, but good soil is well worth it. In future years, you will spend considerable less. See: How to Prepare the Soil for a Vegetable Garden, Soil Fertility and Texture: How and
Why to Test Your Soil for Garden Success, and Soil pH: Understanding, testing, changing, and plant requirements
Selecting and buying vegetable seed is one of the most fun tasks. With the huge number of varieties in the garden centers and nurseries it is difficult to decide what to buy. In general, your local seed store will carry the varieties which are successful and popular in your area. If you buy on-line, you will have more varieties to choose from but will have no idea which ones are best for your growing conditions. When buying plants timing is important. If you buy early in the Spring, before the night temperature warms up, the plants will just sit or in some cases die; if you buy late in the planting season the plants available will be leggy, pot-bound and generally not do well when planted. You might be interested in growing heirloom vegetables. If you are see: What is an Heirloom Vegetable? If you are planning to grow vegetables in the cool weather of spring or fall, see: Top Picks for Cool Weather Vegetables
Here are some guidelines for selecting various popular vegetables:
After you have purchased your plants (or seeds), you will want to plant them in the garden as soon as possible. Here are some tips that give you information on planting and growing individual vegetables.
Taking care of the vegetable garden throughout the growing season involves many tasks.
For suggestions on watering see: How to Water the Vegetable Garden
For suggestions on fertilizing see: Six Guidelines for Fertilizing Vegetables
For detailed information on the cultivars and varieties of vegetables and how to grow them see:
As spring turns into summer, and summer into fall, you can experience the joy of harvesting your produce and turning it into food for the table. Many vegetables can be eaten simply with no additions but some may become so abundant that you will want to try some new ways to serve them. Here are some easy recipes for fresh produce, arranged by principal vegetable ingredient.
Baked Acorn Squash
Couscous and Vegetable
Cold Cream of Zucchini Soup
Roasted Summer Squash
March 1, 2013
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