Plan a Great Vegetable Garden
In these days of skyrocketing food prices, more and more families are turning towards growing their own vegetables. And why not? It's fun, it's healthy, and it saves money on your food bills!
It's that time of the year again when our attention turns to spring and ideas and plans begin to hatch for the planting of our vegetable gardens. The holidays are over and the seed catalogs are appearing in our mailboxes and inboxes.
The time has come to spread all these catalogs out over the kitchen table or sit in front of the computer and explore all the possibilities for new additions to your vegetable garden or perhaps just to mark your tried and true favorites. Every year, there are some really exciting new varieties of vegetables available and in most cases you will only be able to find these in catalogs or online.
The delicious, wholesome crops you produce will lead to healthier eating habits and tending a vegetable garden, whatever the size, is great exercise. Plus, home-grown vegetables tend be of high quality and have fantastic flavor when fresh picked.
The trick to having a really great vegetable garden is to plan ahead. This is especially true if you have only a small space to work with - as small as 10' x 10'.
Growing a garden for the first time?
- Be sure to choose a good location that gets plenty of sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight). For convenience, consider placing your garden near a source of water.
- Don't be too ambitious! Choose a plot size that is manageable. Take it from me, there is nothing more discouraging than a large garden that has more weeds than vegetables!
There are some really exciting new varieties of vegetables available but in most cases you will only find these new and different vegetable seeds in catalogs or online.
- Purchasing vegetable seeds from a seed company will give you a huge selection to choose from that you won't find in most garden stores.
- Order your seeds early so you have them in time to start some crops indoors to get a jump on the season.
- Click for some of Andre and Mark's favorite seed companies.
- You can grow a continuous supply of vegetables in a small space if you plan carefully, map out your garden space for the whole season, and plant a succession of crops.
- Plan the space you will allot to each vegetable, then divide this space into 2-4 sections depending on how many crops you have time to grow (check the days to harvest to make sure your last crop has time to mature).
- Plant the 1st section at the normal planting time, and then plant successive crops in the other sections every two weeks after this. As one crop is beginning to finish up, the next crop should be ready (or almost ready) to harvest.
- This is a great way to have a constant supply of fresh vegetables (but not too many) through the gardening season.
- This type of succession planting is great for bush beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, radishes, lettuce and even tomatoes.
- Rotating crops is one of the best ways to reduce the incidence of disease and pests in the vegetable garden.
- Plan your garden carefully to avoid planting the same crops in the same place year after year.
- Click here for a chart on crop rotation
Look for more tips on vegetable gardening in our spring and summer E-Newsletters!