Friday, May 10, 2013

Gardening Tips

The weather is here and it's time to enjoy it!  We know that a lot of you, like us, look forward to getting out to plant new, colorful life in your yards and gardens. Before you get going, here are a few gardening tips that we've learned along the way.  If you have additional tips to add or questions to ask, please do so in the comment form below, we'd love to hear from you!

  • Location, location, location.  When choosing a location for your vegetable garden, choose a location that will get as much sun as possible throughout the day.  The more the better.
  • Preparation: Prepare your soil before you begin planting by adding lime.
    • Adding lime into the soil increases the pH of the acidic soil, provides a source of calcium and magnesium for plants, improves water penetration, and increases the nutrient that the plant digests.
    • Lime will react more rapidly if it is thoroughly incorporated into the soil.  When adding the lime, it is best for the soil to be dry or the lime will cake up and will not mix well.  Lime can be purchased at your local hardware store.
  • Spacing:  Space your plants adequately.
    • Tomatoes: 24" apart
    • Peppers: 18"-24"apart
    • Squash: 18"-24"apart
    • Regular Cucumbers: 24" apart
    • Pickling Cucumbers: 6"-8" apart
    • Melons: 24" apart
    • Beans and Peas: 1 1/2" apart
    • Cabbage: 12"-15" apart
    • Cauliflower and Broccoli: 15"-18" apart
    • Corn: 10"-12"apart
    • Eggplant: 18"-30" apart
    • Lettuce: 10"-16" apart
    • Pumpkins: 18"-24" apart
  • Pest Control: Consider what kinds of pests and wildlife (i.e. deer) live in your garden’s environment and develop a defense strategy.
    • Use plastic or wire boxwire fencing to keep rabbits, groundhogs, deer, and all those other pesky animals out.  Don't bother with electric fencing, it is too high maintenance.
    • Place a shallow container of beer in problem areas to reduce slugs.
    • Remember to rotate your crops.  Map the location of plant placement.  You do not want to plant the same crop in the same place year after year.  The rotation of plants in your garden reduces the buildup of insects as well as disease problems.
  • When planting a perennial or annual flower bed, choose plants that are suitable for the amount of sunlight/shade that they will receive in your garden.  You may have to follow the sun for a day or two so you are familiar with light requirements.
  • Watering
    • After you plant, remember to water and fertilize right away to reduce the shock from transplanting.  Fertilize an additional two times during the growing season using a water soluble fertilizer.  
    • When watering, always try to do this in the morning.  When watering in the evening, the plants stay wet all night leading to disease problems.   
    • How often to water depends upon the weather:  how hot is it, how much rain are we getting.  Over watering can do more damage than under watering.  (If you are unsure of how  much or often to water after the initial planting, leave your questions in the comments section below for one of our gardeners to answer.)  
  • Weed Control
    • Lay black Landscape fabric in the garden area after preparing your soil, but before planting, or place hay between rows after planting.  Either or both control options will suppress the germination of weeds.
  • Multiple plantings
    • Plant several plantings to allow for a continuous harvest, especially of cucumbers and summer squash.
  • Yearend cleanup
    • At the end of the season, pull any plants remaining, till your soil, and seed the area with winter rye.  As the rye grows, nutrients will be rebuilding the soil as well acting as a control against soil erosion from wind and water runoff.
Did we miss anything? 

No comments:

Post a Comment