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Adding organic matter to your soils will amend them in such a manner that you should have a higher nutrient content for your roots to uptake, as well as providing a foundation for better soil structure. Moisture will be better locked in and it drain as easily, and clay soils will better aggregate, or stick together, to create air pockets for essential oxygen.
The great things about compost is how you can create it yourself from the waste found around your kitchen and yard, but it can also be purchased if you have yet to take the composting step. Compost is best added in the spring, or when you are first turning over and mixing your soils.
SImply spread it about 3 to 4 inches deep and then turn it into the soils!
Gardening for Dummies
Amending your soils first and foremost addresses the moisture issues you have within your garden. Clay soils hold too much water, and also often blocks off oxygen from reaching your plants as well. Drainage is especially important in garden plots that are dug into soils that hold high amounts of water naturally, with potted plants, or raised garden beds. Providing a layer of materials that allow water to drain freely, such as pea gravel or coarse sands, can offset water pooling, ad help keep your plant roots where you want them.
Fewer is better, especially when you are just getting started. Plants grow quickly, and if you are unsure of their mature size, overplanting can quickly result in choked out vegetation, poor harvest yields, an increase in bugs and diseases, and in some cases, the death of the plant altogether.
Consider the following when deciding which plants to purchase, and only choose 8 to 12 different plant varieties depending on your space to get started. Consider the amount of room and garden you decided upon above, and how you planned out your garden. Using a garden planner is never a bad idea when starting a vegetable garden for beginner in order to get an idea about how much room each plant choice will need. The perks of purchasing live plants are that they require very little advanced planning, and can be easily placed in the garden once the time is right.
Live plants take up space in your cart, of which you eventually run out of. And they are easy to collect. But in all seriousness, if you have space to start your seeds indoors or even the temperatures to sow them directly in the ground, your biggest mistake is going to be planting too many, and not thinning your seedlings.
I am totally guilty of this as I feel I am murdering helpless baby plants by thinning — which of course ruins my harvest later on and makes my garden look unruly. You can also mix and match and purchase certain plants, but sow the seeds of the rest, such as root vegetables for example. As mentioned, choosing 8 to 12 varieties of plants for your first experimentation with vegetable gardening is the best way to help you learn as you go.
There are a few plants that are better than others as well due to their ease of getting started, as well as hardiness, and good harvest yield , as well as others that provide benefits to your garden as well.
Some of the best choices to start with include the following. Consider limiting yourself for the first year to see how much space each takes up. Radishes are fast growers and easy to sow from seed. In fact, you can plant in spring, harvest, and plant again in later summer for a second, autumnal harvest. Beets are another fast-growing, and easy to care for the plant. You can easily get multiple harvests in one growing season.
Salad greens are the plant that keeps on giving, Well care for lettuces and spinach thrive through the growing conditions under the correct conditions avoid the full sun in the heat of the summer and will provide you with a plethora of salad all season long. Green beans put out a LOT of beans, and are super easy to can, or freeze for winter use! Plant in early spring and harvest baby potatoes by the start of summer.
Then leave the plant in the ground to continue producing through fall! Although easy to grow, peas do need to grow up and climb, and they are also not fond of hot, direct sunlight. If you can plant them in the shade of another plant, do so. Hot and bell peppers are easy to grow and lend some additional color to your garden if you let them ripen for different amounts of time.
Nothing beats a fresh tomato right off the vine. Large yields also can be used for canning and freezing at the end of the season. Bush zucchini is a smaller version of the long zucchini vines you may remember from your childhood. Both are easy to grow and will provide a constant supply of zucchini all summer. All squash varieties are easy to grow, but summer squash provides fruits for a long period, and if you have the room for a vine, this is a good choice.
Another vining and climbing plant, cucumbers will produce consistent fruits all summer if you can provide the room for them to grow. Basil is an easy herb to grow in your garden and is worth putting in as a low growing addition.
Fresh basil pairs well with many of the other vegetables on this list. Certain varieties of strawberries can produce all summer long, but even early spring producers will generally survive the winter and come back the following year with a new crop. Since they are low growers, you can plant them amongst your other plants, or create their own little plot they do well in pots also. No garden is complete without these cheery gold and yellow flowers, but marigolds do much more than just brighten up the garden.
They are also a great deterrent for certain insects, rabbits, and also help draw in pollinators. Companion planting is a consideration you may want a plan for, especially since you should have a limited amount of plants to mix and match with and it will be an easy way to introduce yourself to this idea. Companion plants are just that — plants that help intensify flavor, or complement each other when planted near one another. This concept helps to utilize your space, and in some cases, certain plants help deter pests that like a specific vegetable. For example, onions deter most destructive flying insects, and lettuce tenderizes radishes, and radishes deter cucumber beetles which can attack much more than cucumbers!
Some plants, as mentioned, grow quickly and can be harvested more than once during a growing season. All of the root vegetables , such as carrot, turnips, and radishes mentioned above are capable of this. First and foremost your growing zone will determine the length of your growing season. Mentioned above when determining the placement of your garden, your growing zone will also determine when your plants can either be seeded or transplanted into the ground.
The general rule of thumb is to keep anything from being outdoors until the chance of frost is past. But if you live in an area where the pesky cold likes to linger, you can consider covering your plants with a cloth, or using a cold frame in order to get them started in the ground earlier.
These types of helpful hints are talked about in more detail below. Many garden centers have a seed display year-round, and additional varieties and live plants begin to make their debut sometime in March. Otherwise, hold onto any early seedlings you have until the last frost has passed. Some people get a very early start on their garden each year and begin to sow their seeds in the winter month of February in order to have a healthy seedling ready for transplant when the weather warms.volunteerparks.org/wp-content/lybebona/2461.php
Vegetable Gardening for Dummies: A Novice's Guide — Better Farm
Once the plants begin to emerge, you can thin each pot to the strongest seedling. In order to start your seeds yourself, you only need a few items for success. Start seeds in small, individual containers such as seedling pots, or plastic cell flats with drainage holes since seeds can easily drown in too much water. Soil-less starting mixtures, generally a mix of vermiculite and peat are preferred to a potting soil when you first set your seeds.
Try to keep your soils between 65 and 70 degrees for the best results, which generally falls around room temperature. But how can one start their seeds so early you wonder? Simple — all a seed needs is soil, water, and light. If you place your seedling pots where they will receive the heat of the sun and water them correctly, you will have little plants popping up in no time!
Ideally, if you have a small greenhouse , and plenty of sunny days yes it can drop below freezing in a greenhouse if not properly set up , then you could realistically keep certain crops all year round. Setting your seed pots near an indoor window , and away from a draft, is an easy way to get your plants started.
I set up a small card table in my dining room where seeds get a strong indirect light all day and they do just fine. If you have children, or a cat like me consider some sort of deterrent to keep them from poking little fingers or paws in the dirt. If you are considering sowing directly in the ground before the last frost, check your temperatures before committing to make sure that you can keep your temps above freezing, and warm enough for germination during the day.
Sowing seeds in the ground is an easy process but do require a bit of maintenance once the seeds germinate. My favorite technique is to drag my finger through the soils at the depth the seeds should be planted each seed variety may be different so be sure to read the back of your seed packets for this information. Again, this information will be on the back of the packets you purchase, of which I always suggest you keep or record the information somewhere. Leave the seedlings alone for a few weeks to get a stronger root system, and to allow any stranglers to make an appearance above ground.
This is when you will want to thin them in order to allow enough room for the plant maturity and the fruits it will eventually bare. Thinning will be specific to the plant you have sown, so pay attention to that information on the back of the seed packet!