(Updated June 12/2020)
Is there a patch of land in your backyard that’s been left useless all this time? It’s time to get busy gardening.
I have been gardening for years. I look forward every year to Spring when I can get started. It is so gratifying to plant those seeds and watch them pop up from the ground.
When we lived at the farm we had a huge garden. We planted everything, from carrots, peas, corn, melons, tomatoes, squash, peppers, onions, pumpkins, and more. We also had grape vines and of course our 2200 Asian Pear Trees.
Let me tell you a story of the first fall we lived in out big farmhouse. The man who we acquired the house from came out with channel 8 news in his helicopter. (That is a whole other story in our lives) he had not seen this house we had fixed up for several months. He was so amazed at what we had done.
He came into the kitchen and as he opened the door to the pantry he cried. Here is a big executive of Louisiana Pacific and tears were coming down his face. He said it was just like his mother used to do, and they knew they would make it through the winter because of her efforts.
It’s important that the plants you choose can grow successfully in the climate you live in.
Check out this USDA Zone Map from Wilson Bros. Gardening to find out what zone you live in, so you will have success in planting as you get busy gardening.
Unfortunately, soil found in most yards has become compacted over the years and can be as hard as concrete in summer. Therefore, the best time to dig your garden is early spring when it is moist enough to dig easily.
In addition to the climate conditions, you’ll also need to consider the type of sunlight your garden area receives and how much light the plant varieties you are selecting require to grow. Sunflowers need full sun most of the day, (I plant them across the back of my garden they are so fun!) and will not grow in areas that are shady. Your local nursery can help you select plants depending on how much sun the area receives.
An edible garden can be started in a small area. Courtyards, balconies, porches and very small gardens are all suitable sites. If you don’t need a raised garden bed, you can create a space directly into the soil in your garden.
Things to remember
- Gardening is a healthy activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
- An edible garden can be started in a very small area or in containers or pots.
- Make sure your plants are non-toxic varieties and are edible.
- Don’t use chemical sprays or fertilizers in your edible garden.
Children can learn new skills, have fun, play and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden tending plants and growing their own food. Most children enjoy being outdoors and love digging in the soil, getting dirty, creating things and watching plants grow.
Get busy gardening and you can save $600 a year by planting a 20 by 30 foot garden and growing your own vegetables. There’s nothing as delicious as a tomato you’ve just picked from the vine or an onion that’s just been liberated from its underground world.
Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits and can be very enjoyable. It’s an activity that everyone can enjoy. People with disabilities, seniors and children can find it especially rewarding to spend time in the garden tending plants and growing their own food. With some planning and thought, you can create an interesting, productive and pleasant space that can be used as an edible garden.
Remember this: It’s better to be proud of a small garden than to be frustrated by a big one!
I purchased a small greenhouse last fall so this is my first year to start my own plants. I am very excited to do this. Getting containers can be quite expensive so Checkout Mavi’s Freebie Suggestions. I will definitely be doing this.
One of the common errors for beginners is planting too much too soon and way more than anybody could eat or want. Unless you want to have zucchini taking up residence in your attic, plan carefully. Start small.
A good-size beginner vegetable garden is about 16 x 10 feet and features crops that are easy to grow. A plot this size, planted as suggested below, can feed a family of four for one summer, with a little extra for canning and freezing (or giving away).
Make your garden 11 rows wide, with each row 10 feet long. The rows should run north and south to take full advantage of the sun.
Container gardening is an easy way to garden, especially when you lack yard space. Here are our recommendations on which vegetable varieties are container-friendly—and which container types are most suitable for each veggie.
Tips for Growing in Containers
- Clay pots are usually more attractive than plastic ones, but plastic pots retain moisture better. To get the best of both, slip a plastic pot into a slightly larger clay pot.
- Avoid small containers. They often can’t store enough water to get through hot days.
- Add about 1 inch of course gravel in the bottom of the container to improve drainage.
- Vegetables that can be easily transplanted are best suited for containers. Transplants can be purchased from local nurseries or started at home.
- Feed container plants at least twice a month with liquid fertilizer, following the instructions on the label.
- An occasional application of fish emulsion or compost will add trace elements to container soil.
- Place containers where they will receive maximum sunlight and good ventilation. Watch for and control insect pests.
It is so fun to grow your own potatoes in a trash bag.
Step 1: Place seed potatoes in a warm spot. When the sprouts that form are about 1/4″ to 1/2″ long, the potatoes are almost ready to plant.
Step 2: Cut large seed potatoes into chunks about 2″ wide. Each piece should have at least two sprouts.
Step 3: After cutting the seed potatoes, let them sit at room temperature for two or three days.
Step 4: Cut several draina ge holes in the bottom of a 30-gallon black plastic trash bag.
Step 5: Fill about one-third of the way up with potting soil. Place the bag in an area of the garden that receives full sun.
Step 6: Plant the seed potatoes by burying them, eyes pointed up, about 2″ deep in the soil. Water well.
Step 7: When the potato plants get about 6″ to 8″ tall, add more soil and straw to the bag. Add enough soil so that just the top few leaves poke through the dirt.
Step 8: As the potato plants grow, continue to unroll the bag and add more soil. Keep the potatoes well watered but not soggy.
Source : HOW TO GROW POTATOES IN A TRASH BAG
So how much water do you need in a garden. Sometimes people water too much!!
To address the big watering question, below is a chart that tells you critical times to water each vegetable crop as well as the number of gallons of water needed.
Of course, these guidelines assume that you have rich, well-balanced soil. Increase frequency during hot, dry periods.
|Vegetable||Critical time(s) to water for a 5-foot row||Number of gallons of water needed|
|Beans||When flowers form and during pod-forming and picking||2 per week depending on rainfall|
|Beets||Before soil gets bone-dry||1 at early stage; 2 every 2 weeks|
|Broccoli||Don’t let soil dry out for 4 weeks after transplanting.||1 to 1 1/2 per week|
|Brussels sprouts||Don’t let soil dry out for 4 weeks after transplanting.||1 to 1 1/2 per week|
|Cabbage||Water frequently in dry weather for best crop||2 per week|
|Carrots||Before soil gets bone-dry||1 at early stage; 2 every 2 weeks as roots mature|
|Cauliflower||Water frequently for best crop.||2 per week|
|Celery||Water frequently for best crop.||2 per week|
|Corn||When tassels form and when cobs swell||2 at important stages (left)|
|Cucumbers||Water frequently for best crop.||1 per week|
|Lettuce/Spinach||Water frequently for best crop.||2 per week|
|Onions||In dry weather, water in early stage to get plants going.||1/2 to 1 per week if soil is very dry|
|Parsnips||Before soil gets bone-dry||1 per week in early stages|
|Peas||When flowers form and during pod-forming and picking||2 per week|
|Potatoes||When the size of marbles||2 per week|
|Squash||Water frequently for best crop.||1 per week|
|Tomatoes||For 3 to 4 weeks after transplanting and when flowers and fruit form||1 gallon twice a week or more|
|Needs a lot of water during dry spells.||Needs water at critical stages of development.||Does not need frequent watering.|
What To Look For As Fall Comes..
As you begin to wind down and clean up, take notes of what worked and didn’t.
Mark areas that would have been easier to maintain or areas where more bulbs might fit.
- Be sure to water trees and shrubs now through hard frost, so that they enter dormancy in a well-hydrated state. Evergreens (needled ones and broad-leaf types like rhododendron, too) are particularly vulnerable to desiccation and winter-burn if not well watered before the cold and winds set in.
- As vegetable plants (and annual flowers) fade, pull them to get a start on garden cleanup.
- Many popular annuals can be overwintered as young plants if you take and root cuttings now rather than try to nurse along leggy older specimens. Geraniums, coleus, wax begonias, even impatiens (to name just a few common ones), if grown in good light indoors and kept pinched and bushy, will yield another generation of cuttings for next spring’s transplants.
We are living in a time I did not expect to see in my lifetime. I know my parents lived through the depressions so they knew what to do during a pandemic. Explore secrets to growing a successful Victory Garden so that you can feed your family regardless of the economic and supply challenges in our future.
Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.
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