Author Jean Morrison
Successful vegetable gardening - hints and tips
It always tastes better when you have grown it yourself. When freshly picked, the Vitamin C content is very high.
Vegetable garden - tips and hints
To grow vegetables successfully they will need at least 6 hours of direct sun each day so choose the location wisely. If your soil is poor quality then you must add compost or other organic matter to enrich it. You will never grow healthy produce in poor soil. Instead of growing vegetables in rows they should be planted in blocks.
Make the blocks small enough so that you can reach into the middle to weed and to collect your harvest. If you plant in rows then a lot of the compost gets wasted on the paths between the rows.
Dig the soil to a depth of at least 30 cm (1') and incorporate compost and manure.
Keep vegetable garden beds raised about 200 - 300 (8" - 12") above ground level. The soil will then drain better. If you choose to place a solid "wall" around your vegetable beds make sure you don't use treated timber as chemicals in the timber may leach into the soil.
Plant your seeds or seedlings the correct distance apart. Recommendations are usually given and these should be adhered too. Planting them closer may mean they don't have enough air circulating and it may make the plants more susceptible to any spreading diseases.
Tiny seeds such as carrot seeds should be mixed with sand and then scattered on the garden. Adding sand makes it easier to scatter them evenly.
Always strive to use organic material to feed your vegetables.
It is sensible practice to mulch around your vegie seedlings. Mulching is done for several reasons. It reduces the amount of moisture lost from the soil, it can eliminate weeding and it also can prevent fungal diseases coming up from ground level onto the plant's leaves.
Preferably water in the mornings and keep the water as close to the roots as possible rather than watering the leaves.
Plant some small flowering plants such as marigolds amongst the vegies. They will attract bees which will in turn help with pollination of the vegetables.
Plants such as tomatoes, egg plants and capsicums will need staking. Tomato stakes need to be just over 2 metres (7' - 8') high and made from timber. Stakes for egg plants and capsicums can be 1.5 metres (4') in height. Ensure the stakes are hammered into the ground at least 300 mm (1').
Some plants such as cucumbers and beans will need fencing or trellis support. You can create a fence from timber stakes and wire/metal mesh. Make sure the mesh has holes big enough to fit you hand through. Using vertical supports keep the vegetables off the ground so air can be circulated around them. They are then less susceptible to disease.
If you have dead leaves or dead plants in your garden toss them in the rubbish bin. They may contain disease that could harm other plants if you throw them on your compost heap.
Rotate your crops annually. This means you don't grow the same vegetables (or their relatives) in the same part of the garden two years in a row. If you rotate crops you will decrease the chance of disease within the soil. Learn which vegetables belong to which family. Tomatoes belong to the same family as capsicums so you won't want to plant capsicum seedlings right where your tomatoes were last summer.