A vegetable garden is a great hobby. It’s a great way to save money, and eat healthy. In a world of over processed foods treated with hormones and pesticides on commercial farms, it’s also the best way for an environmentally conscious family to know what is going in their food. Whether this is your first time growing vegetables, or it’s been a while, you will find something useful in our tips and tricks for your vegetable garden.
Experienced gardeners often begin growing their veggies in the early spring indoors, especially if you live in a more northern climate, and there’s no guarantee when your outdoor garden patch is safe for growing. If your seedlings aren’t getting enough sunlight, you can use foil lined sun boxes to make the weather you need. Cut one side of a cardboard box, and line the inner walls with foil. By facing the boxes toward the sun, the sunlight will reflect back on your seedlings, encouraging them to grow much faster.
Those of us who live in colder climates are used to unpredictable and uncooperative growing seasons. A week of warm weather in early spring cannot always guarantee that the winter weather won’t come back, or that an unexpected cold snap won’t compromise your vegetables. Keep an eye on the weatherman, and when there’s a cold night expected, prepare your vegetable garden ahead of time.
You can use anything that will absorb the heat of the sun and radiate it all night. Terracotta tiles or stepping stones, flat stones, even wickets draped with black trash bags draping over them to protect your plants against the cold and absorb the sun’s rays will do the job.
Growing zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers in between the rows of vegetables will actually help boost your crops. It encourages crop pollination to have a few bees and butterflies visiting your vegetable gardens regularly. It also encourages ladybugs, which eat aphids and other insects that might destroy your crops, without needing to spray any unhealthy or dangerous insecticide!
Companion planting is the practice of growing specific plants together to improve a crop. It often does double duty, such as keeping away insects while improving the soil. As an example, planting rosemary and carrots together will protect the carrots deter the carrot fly. If you plant chamomile with onions, it will improve their growth and flavor.
Mint helps keep peas healthy. Garlic is a natural insect repellent, so try growing some in your crops as another option for a natural insecticide. Do some research before you try planting crops together, since some crops can bully others out of nutrients, and sunlight.
Keep the dirt off your cabbage and lettuce plants. Spread a 1-2 inch layer of mulch around each plant to stop loose soil from travelling. Onions and other plants have narrow stalks which do not cast shadows, which makes them a crop that is especially susceptible to weeds. Weeds grow in sunlight. Keeping the soil around your plants in the dark with mulch, or even old newspapers and compost, will help to keep them from spreading too quickly. Like the sun-absorbing tactics we’ve already mentioned, dark soil also helps to draw in more sunlight. Not only does this keep plants warmer, it also helps your vegetables grow even bigger.
Your soil is the most important factor for any gardener. Making raised soil beds is the single most important factor in increasing your yields, according to experts. Raised beds yield four times more than the same amount planted in rows. Use wooden planks to raise your crops into beds, rather than leaving them in rows.
This increases the soil nutrients, and saves you time when watering and harvesting. It also helps to crowd out weeds, thanks to the closeness of the pants crowding them out. Related to that, an option for vine plants is to train them to grow up instead of out, using wooden or wire wickets, trellis’ or fencing. Tie the vines as they grow, and eventually, your plants will grow thicker stems, and vines will grow around the structure to hold it. Even heavy melons and squash!
Everyone knows about compost, and how good it is for gardens. Make composting a part of your routine, and treat the soil before you even begin planting. Mulch and newspaper will also improve the nutrition of your soil, and increase your crop yields. Companion growing, as we have already mentioned, is another way to improve the health of your soil. It is also helpful to grow crops in different soil, whether you garden all year, or just part of it.
Crop rotation is something farmers have been practicing for decades, to ensure they don’t bleed the soil of all nutrients before it has time to regenerate itself. You may not always have the space to plant several garden plots in your yard. But if you plant tomatoes this year where you planted squash last year, it can help to vary the nutrients in the soil. Earthworms are also a natural solution to putting nutrients back in the soil. They naturally overturn deep earth as they work, and help the soil to process the nutrients in compost and mulch.
Gardening is a fantastic activity, whether as a family, or by yourself. Growing your own vegetables is a great way to save money on groceries. It’s also good exercise. Eating organically grown and pesticide free vegetables is great for a healthy lifestyle. Growing your own vegetables can be as simple as a tomato plant growing in a window box, to a full crop of varying vegetables and herbs that last year round. But whatever your skill level, these tips will help you increase your crops and protect them from the elements, ensuring a successful vegetable garden.
I started this blog to provide advanced home improvement tips, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable home, kitchen, garden experience. I deliver more than home guides, and motivate people to get nice home!