Time to plant vegetables

Which vegetables do well in the shade?

Can I overwater my garden? 

We looked at how to plan your garden, prepare the soil and grow a flower garden. We are moving on to how to plant a vegetable garden to produce tasty vegetables and even save you money.

Colourful, nutritious and delicious.

Similar to a flower garden, start with 2-3 vegetable varieties until you achieve the desired results then add more. Depending on the vegetables you choose some will require more work and time for success. Planting, watering, fertilizing and weeding will ensure the best chance for a bountiful yield. Plan for what you can eat but also freeze or share extras. A small well-tended garden will yield more produce than an unattended plot overgrown with weeds and disease. Don't feel overwhelmed. Plant what you like to eat. There are many vegetables that require little maintenance, are ready to harvest within a short period of time and have few pests. Try beans, beetroot, radish, chilli, and potatoes. First-time gardeners may be tempted to plant too much. It is advised to start small and master a select few then add another.

Planting both cool and warm weather vegetables will give you a harvest from spring to fall. Lettuce, hearty greens, peas, radishes and carrots can be planted during the cooler spring weather. Tomatoes, peppers and herbs fair better in warmer temperatures. Closer to fall, potatoes, cabbage and kale can be harvested. Potatoes planted in early spring can be ready in mid-summer.

Making use of vertical space can boost the yield per square foot with growing beans and peas on vines. Other vertical crops such as tomatoes, pole beans, peas, squash, and cucumbers can do well with the support of trellises, fences or stakes. Fungal diseases are also less likely to affect vining crops because of improved air circulation around the foliage. 

There are three important things to consider for a vegetable garden: soil; sun; and water. 

Soil - It is important to plant your vegetables in rich, healthy soil that drains well and is easy to aerate. Take a sample of soil and squeeze it into your hands. Too much sand will make it gritty, too powdery it might have too much silt and a high content of clay will cause the soil to be too wet and dense. Ideal soil conditions allow water and air to percolate to the roots. The best soil is rich and dark coloured. You can improve the soil by incorporating organic matter as it helps retain moisture and nutrients for your vegetables. Clean compost will support the soil and help provide the ideal condition without attracting smelling and attracting pests. 

Sun – Many vegetables need at least 6 hours of sun per day including tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peas and herbs. Root vegetables like carrots and radishes only need four hours of sun. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cilantro and parsley do not mind some shade. For maximum sun, plant in a north/south direction. Plants can shade one another too much if planted in an east/west direction. 

Water- Is vital to your garden but overwatering can damage and cause rot. It is best to water every few days than on a daily basis. You wish to have the water travel deep into the soil to encourage roots to grow deep and access nutrients and mature. Consider weather conditions and check soil moisture regularly. Feel the soil about 4-5 inches down to determine if it requires water. There are tools that can help gauge moisture content.

You can plant seeds or transplant seedlings that have been started earlier. The transplants will be better at resisting pests and will mature much faster than a seed grown directly in the garden. If possible, start off delicate plants such as salad leaves indoors and move them outside when they are sturdy enough to withstand the environment. Do not fret if a yard is not available. Even a balcony or window ledge can hold containers to start a vegetable garden. Herbs are fast-growing and will add flavour to any meal. Choose containers with proper drainage. Consult with garden shops to determine the best selection suited for your space. Take note any plants grown in containers will need enough room for the roots to develop and populate. Do not forget they will still need watering and additional nutrients.

Have fun, enjoy knowing with a little trial and error tasty vegetables and a sense of satisfaction (maybe even some exercise) can be a success. And don't forget to eat your vegetables!

The Healthy Way Vibes - Health Warriors Please comment below, like and share!

Sources: What You Need to Know to Start Your First Vegetable Garden, Better Homes & Gardens Editorial Staff; BBC Gardner’s World Magazine; How to Start a Vegetable garden, Canadian Living; Pexels, Markus Spiski



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