growing garden goodies
Veggie Gardening Helpfull Ideas
Be creative with your plantings
You don’t have to plant all your vegetables in one plot. If your only sunny location is in the front yard, you
could plant a border of tomatoes and peppers along the front walk and set lettuce plants in a shadier spot out
Be careful of neighbouring plants
If you must put your garden near trees and shrubs, your vegetable plants will compete for water, nutrients and
light. Tree roots extend beyond their drip line, the outer edge of their leafy canopy. If you can, keep your
garden away from the root zone of surrounding plantings. If that isn’t possible, treat everything with extra water
Test for good drainage
Plant roots need air as well as water. Waterlogged soil is low in air, which is why it’s important to consider
drainage when choosing a vegetable garden site. Heavy clay soils are usually not as well drained as sandy ones.
Puddles of water on the soil surface after a rain indicate poor drainage.
One way to check your garden soil’s drainage is to dig a hole about 10 inches deep and fill it with water. Let the
water drain, then fill the hole again the following day and clock how long it takes for the water to drain. If
water remains in the hole for more than three to four hours after the second filling, poor drainage will likely be
Improve too soggy or too dry conditions
The fastest way to improve soil drainage is to build raised garden beds and fill them with amended soil. If your
soil is really soggy, due perhaps to a high water table, drains buried in the ground may be the only solution.
Soil can also be too well drained. Very sandy soil dries out quickly and needs frequent watering during dry
spells. Adding organic matter such as mulch to sandy soil will gradually increase the amount of water it can hold.
Find the right slope
A gentle slope to the south is ideal, especially in colder climates. Soil warms up faster in spring, and the
chance of frost affecting plants is lower. Cold air is like water: it runs downhill and settles in low spots.
Frosty air will move past plants on a slope. However, too steep of a slope can cause erosion problems. On any
sloping site, put rows across rather than down the slope to catch runoff. On very steep slopes, you may need to
build terraces to hold soil in place.
Protect your garden from wind
Winds can wreak havoc on tall crops such as corn and pole beans and can dry them out rapidly. If wind is a problem
in your area, protect the garden with a windbreak – either several rows of plants or a fence. You will get maximum
wind protection for your crops if you put them downwind at a distance three to five times the windbreak’s height.
Factor in size and workload
Consider how much of each crop you would like to harvest. If the soil is in good condition, you can keep up with a
400-square-foot garden by devoting about 30 minutes each day at the beginning of the season and 30 minutes every
two or three days throughout the summer to keep your garden producing and looking good.
Try to plan your garden so it’s close to a water source and the house. If you intend to bring in more than two
yards of soil amendments or additions such as manure, put your garden in a spot that can be easily reached by a vehicle.
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