Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Walmart Homestead - How To Start A Homestead

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Homestead

What Is Homesteading?

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. Usually, it consists of a set of skills such as growing and preserving food or other products to consume or to sell on a small scale.
Homesteading isn’t limited to farming. It encompasses many categories of sustainability — all with the common goal to live off of what you produce. 

Types Of Homestead

Not all homesteads are built the same. The kind you have will be defined by how much space you have to work with. No matter where you live, you can always homestead in some way or another.

Indoor Homesteading / Apartment Homesteading

Growing your own food from your apartment may be challenging, but not impossible. For those that want to homestead in a modern setting, you’ll have to opt for fruits and vegetables that can grow in containers.
For natural lighting, place them by your windows or on your balcony, if you have one. Growing herbs are great because they take up very little space.

Urban Homesteading

Urban homesteading is similar to indoor or apartment homesteading, except you have a small area to work outdoors. Its space can consist of a backyard less than an acre, or a small section of a community garden.
Urban homesteading can have a diversified small garden, a flock of hens for a quick stash of eggs, and maybe even small livestock if your local HOA allows it.
If you have more space you could even consider bee keeping!  Raw honey is a great product to have around the house or sell locally.  Plus raw honey can last a very long time!

Traditional Homesteading

A decent size piece of land in the rural area is the most sought after kind of property when it comes to homesteading. The number of acres you need will depend on what you plan to do.
If you want a farm to sustain your family, you’ll only need around 2 to 4 acres. If you plan on having a woodlot or plenty of livestock, you’ll need a much larger property.

How To Start A Homestead

Before you can begin your homestead plan, you must research to know what you want, what you’ll need for it, and if you have space for it. Use these guidelines to narrow down your options so that you don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning — you’ll have plenty of time to add to your farm later on once you gain experience.
Here are some things to consider while you’re planning your homestead blueprint. 

Your Location

Your homestead is reliant on more than just space. Get familiar with your local laws so you know what you can and can’t grow, or what livestock you’re allowed to have on your property.
When you gain experience and decide to expand into a small farm business, you may need to apply for licenses and have it registered like any other company.

Climate

What you grow or raise must be favorable to the climate you’re in. This means you’ll have to get acquainted with the seasons, then act accordingly. With time, you’ll learn which vegetables grow better in warm or colder climates, and what season you should plant them. It also helps to learn how to preserve your food for winter so it will last longer during the harsh cold.

Your Interests

Your priorities will also be determined by what you intend to get out of your homestead. Do you want to live off-grid and generate your own water and energy? Are you doing this to decrease your carbon footprint? What you produce can also be tied to what you consume the most. For example, if you want to focus more on animal products, you may need to go on-grid for a while.

Your Budget

During the Great Depression, farming was ideal for providing for a whole family on a tight budget, and the same applies today. However, you’ll still need to calculate your expenses and find out how much you’re willing to spend to start and maintain your homestead.
For instance, building a vegetable garden bed and compost is a low-cost investment, whereas a chicken coop or bee hive can cost hundreds of dollars.

                                               

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Walmart Homestead - Mountain Vegetable Garden

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                                            Homestead

High Altitude Vegetable Gardening – How To Grow A Mountain Vegetable Garden


Growing high altitude vegetables is difficult, but not impossible. Mountain vegetable gardening is nothing like growing in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest or even down South. Nope, high altitude vegetable gardening takes special know how. So, what kinds of things does a gardener need to know before veggie gardening in the mountains?

Veggie Gardening in the Mountains

When high altitude vegetable gardening, the first thing is to be realistic. Higher altitudes have cooler temperatures and a shorter growing season that is often measured in weeks rather than months. Part of being realistic is knowing there is no way you are going to grow warm weather eggplant. Stick to the cool weather veggies for your mountain vegetable garden. Not only is the growing season shorter but more critters than just you will be competing for those nutrient-rich vegetables. How you protect your crop will mean the difference between feeding yourself and being surrounded by chubby rabbits and deer. The weather in a veggie garden in the mountains is unpredictable during the growing season as well. You may encounter sudden July hailstorms or early August frosts. Too much rain, too little rain, record high temperatures, forest shaded locations, these all afflict high altitude vegetables.

Creating a Successful Mountain Vegetable Garden
There are some things you can do to ensure successful veggie gardening in the mountains. First, check your area’s climate zone. This will give you an idea regarding the length of the growing season. This is just a somewhat idea, though, because mountainous regions are notorious for having multiple microclimates, which can affect you differently than someone only a couple of miles away. Select an area in your landscape that receives the most sun, away from shading forest trees or cliffs. If you only have a north-facing area, growing vegetables is probably not in the cards for you. Choose seeds with the shortest day to maturity numbers. This includes things like most leafy greens and root veggies. Beets and turnip greens are also good choices for early season greens. If you mulch them well and an early freeze hits, potatoes can be grown in your mountain garden. Veggies like tomatoes, squash, peppers, and green beans are riskier choices. If you jumpstart the growing process by starting the seeds indoors, you give them a better chance. Transplant them early if need be into a cold frame or in raised beds. Protect these delicate transplants throughout the growing season. Also, choose the shortest “days to harvest” when choosing high altitude vegetables.  Vegetable gardens in mountainous areas does require more patience, knowledge, and adaptability than in the lowlands. Start seeds indoors, protect plants (especially at the start and end of the growing season), and select cultivars with short harvest dates and growing seasons. Be realistic about what can and cannot grow in a high-altitude vegetable garden.

Lastly, keep a garden journal and talk to any nearby neighbors who have had experience gardening at high altitudes.

The Walmart Homestead - The Tropics

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Homestead
                                                  

Veggies For Rainy Seasons: Tips On Growing Food Plants In The Tropics


High temperatures and humidity can either work magic on vegetables cultivated in the tropics or create problems with diseases and pests. It all depends on the type of crops grown; there are some more adaptable veggies for rainy seasons that should be considered. Some specific crop planting in rainy seasons may need the assistance of plastic row covers and pesticides or plant varieties of veggies that are suited to the humid, wet climate. Veggies typically grown in the United States, such as lettuce and tomatoes, are less than suitable for growing food plants in the tropics. Lettuce, for example, dislikes the heat and will bolt almost immediately.

Vegetable Gardening in the Tropics

Insects, both good and bad, are to be had in every garden in every area of the globe. Tropical insects tend to be rather plentiful and as such may become a plague to the garden. Better soil equals healthier plants, which are less susceptible to insects or diseases. If you plant crops that are not suitable veggies for the rainy season, they tend to stress and when they stress, they emit substances that bugs can sense, which in turn attracts the insects. So the key to growing healthy food plants in the tropics are to amend the soil with organic compost and to plant traditional vegetables that are cultivated in the tropics. Sustainable vegetable gardening is the name of the game and working with the natural temperatures and humidity of a tropical climate rather than against it.

Vegetables Cultivated in the Tropics

Tomatoes will grow in the tropics, but plant them during the winter or dry season, not the rainy season. Choose a heat tolerant variety and/or cherry tomatoes, which are hardier than larger varieties. Don’t bother with traditional lettuce varieties, but Asian greens and Chinese cabbage do well. Some tropical veggies grow so rapidly during the rainy season;, it’s hard to keep them from overtaking the garden. Sweet potatoes adore the wet season as do kang kong, amaranth (like spinach) and salad mallow.

Other rainy season veggies include: Bamboo shoots
                                                             Chaya 
                                                             Chayote 
                                                             Climbing wattle 
                                                             Cowpea 
                                                             Cucumber 
                                                             Eggplant 
                                                             Vegetable fern 
                                                             Jack bean 
                                                             Katuk 
                                                             Leaf pepper 
                                                             Long bean 
                                                             Malabar spinach 
                                                             Mustard greens 
                                                             Okra 
                                                             Pumpkin 
                                                             Roselle 
                                                             Scarlet ivy gourd 
                                                             Sunn hemp (cover crop) 
                                                             Sweet potato 
                                                             Tropical/Indian lettuce 
                                                            Wax gourd/wintermelon 
                                                            Winged bean

The following veggies should be planted towards the end of the rainy season or during the dry season as they are susceptible to pests at the height of the rainy season: Bitter gourd melon                                                                                                                                   Calabash 
                                                                                                          Angled luffa, similar to zucchini


When gardening in the tropics, just remember that the conventional veggies grown in Europe or North America don’t cut it here. Experiment with different varieties and use veggies that are climatically adapted. You may not get all your favorite veggies from home to grow, but you will undoubtedly add to your repertoire and expand your cooking to exotic tropical cuisines.

The Walmart Homestead - How Does Composting Work?

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                                           Homestead

Composting Basics: How Does Composting Work


Regardless of your current soil conditions, the addition of compost can transform it into a healthy growing medium for plants. Compost can be worked into the soil by hand or tilling or added as top dressing. It also makes suitable mulch.

Composting Basics Numerous benefits are associated with the use of compost: 
It can enhance the soil, building up the structure and texture. 
It increases airflow and water retention. 
Compost also stabilizes pH levels and supports essential bacteria.
Compost allows plants to effectively use nutrients for achieving healthier growth as well.

In addition, the organic matter found in compost encourages earthworms, which also help aerate the soil. Other benefits include erosion control and the reduction of soil-borne diseases.

How Does Composting Work? 

Compost is made up of organic materials that break down in the soil, enriching its structure and adding essential nutrients. To understand the composting process, it helps to look at the natural decomposition process found in nature. For instance, wooded areas are filled with organic materials—trees, leaves, etc. Over time these materials slowly decompose, or break down, with the help of micro-organisms and earthworms. Once the materials have decomposed, they turn into humus, an essential element in the production of rich, fertile soil that is also responsible for producing healthy plants. This process is similar to garden composting. Once decomposition has taken place in the compost pile, the result should be similar to that of humus with a dark, crumbly, soil-like material.

Make Your Own Compost 

While composting instructions vary, most share the same basic principles. Generally, passive composting methods are most often used. This method involves small piles of compost contained in a bin, enclosure, or compost containers. These, too, vary with sizes ranging between 5 to 7 feet around (1.5-2.1 m.) and 3 to 4 feet high (0.9-1.2 m.) However, a more manageable size, especially for smaller gardens, may be no larger than 3 by 3 feet (0.9 by 0.9 m.) Nonetheless, it’s easy to tailor your composting system to meet your specific needs. Most compost is made up of organic materials like leaves, garden plants, newspaper, straw, grass clippings, manure, and kitchen scraps. Kitchen waste should include materials like vegetables and fruit peeling, eggshells, coffee grounds, etc. Meat, fat, and bone products should never be added to the compost pile, as they can introduce harmful parasites and attract animals. You should alternate layers of green and brown materials. Green items include grass clippings and kitchen scraps, adding nitrogen to the compost. Brown materials add carbon to compost containers and consist of things like leaves, newspaper, and small woody materials. Moisture and adequate air circulation are vital for composting. Therefore, they should be kept wet but not soggy. In addition, compost should be frequently turned with a garden fork to aid in aeration as well as speed up the decomposition process. Depending on the materials used and size of the compost pile, decomposition can take anywhere from weeks or months to a year.


What's the Ideal items to compost for a healthy frugal no-waste Vegetable Garden?






The Walmart Homestead - How to make a Garden Journal


The
Homestead

What Is A Garden Journal: Tips On Keeping A Garden Journal


Keeping a garden journal is a fun and fulfilling activity. If you save your seed packets, plant tags or garden center receipts, you have the beginnings of a garden journal and you’re only a few steps away from creating a complete record of your garden. This article shares garden journal ideas that will help you learn from your success and mistakes, and improve your gardening skills. 

What Is a Garden Journal? 

A garden journal is a written record of your garden. You can keep your garden journal contents in any notebook or on note cards organized into a file. For many people, a ring binder works best because it allows you to insert sheets of graph paper, calendar pages, pockets for your seed packets and plant tags, and pages for your photographs. Keeping a garden journal gives you a written record of your garden layouts, plans, successes and failures, and you’ll learn about your plants and soil as you go. For vegetable gardeners, an important function of the journal is tracking crop rotation. Planting the same crop in the same location each time depletes the soil and encourages pests and diseases. Many vegetables should be planted on a three- to five-year rotation schedule. Your garden layout sketches serve as a valuable planning aid from year to year.

How to Keep a Garden Journal

There are no rules on how to keep a garden journal, and if you keep it simple, you’re more likely to stick with it through the year. Try to find time to record something every day or so, and record the important things as soon as possible so you don’t forget.

Garden Journal Contents

Here are some of the things you’ll want to record in your journal:

A sketch of your garden layout from season to season 

Pictures of your garden 

A list of successful plants and those to avoid in the future 

Bloom times 

A list of plants you’d like to try, along with their growing requirements 

When you started seeds and transplanted plants 

Plant sources 

Expenses and receipts 

Daily, weekly and monthly observations 

Dates when you divide your perennials













The Walmart Homestead - Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

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                                                                     Homestead


                                                                   



Produce - Vegetables


The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Starting Vegetable Garden




Not only is vegetable gardening fun and Eco-Friendly, but it’s also a way to get the freshest produce on your table—without ever having to leave home. You know where your food comes from, and you can grow what your family enjoys the most. With this easy plan, you can start your own vegetable garden from scratch in your own backyard, or on your deck, patio or balcony. It’s easier than you think!


1. Location,Location,Location

Choose a location in an area that will not blot the landscape after growing season has faded. Locate your garden near an ample water source and preferably close to your home. Doing so will help ensure that garden chores don’t go undone. Make sure there is adequate sunlight in an area with good drainage.

Start with a small plot that's exposed to lots of sunlight.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you’re too ambitious. Stick with a small plot a few feet wide and long. And make short rows so you can reach in to weed because the weeds will compete for water and nutrients with your baby vegetable plants. Also, you need a water source nearby so you aren’t hauling a hose across the entire yard. Most importantly, make sure you pick a spot with six or more hours of full sun: that’s non-negotiable.

Get a soil test if you're planting in your backyard.

If you want to plant in ground, get a soil test first, says Blazek. A soil test will tell you what nutrients your ground may be lacking. A garden center or your local university county coop extension service (find yours here) usually does them for a small fee, about $20 or less. They also can advise you about what nutrients to add in what amounts. You’ll almost always need to add something to the soil to make it more fertile for planting. Remember, your harvest will be better if you give the plants what they need, rather than letting them struggle along. You can also find inexpensive DIY soil tests, or skip it altogether and plant in containers.

Loosen up the soil with your spade.

Now it’s time for a little work, so pull on your gardening gloves. Use a spade or pitchfork to loosen up the soil, ideally to about 20 inches deep. A tiller isn’t necessary. It’s always a good idea to add some compost (learn how to make it here!), which improves the soil structure, but it doesn’t contain every nutrient your plants will need, so mix in slow-release fertilizer, too, now. Follow the package instructions for the proper amount. And keep nosy pets away because they sometimes like to nosh on fertilizers, especially organic ones, which smell delightfully stinky to them. (If your pet is a nibbler, use water soluble fertilizer instead when watering).

Or, skip the soil and use pots.

The beauty of pots and containers is that you don’t need to fret about nutrients or soil that’s hard as concrete. And you can even grow vegetables in containers on your deck, patio or balcony as long as you have full sun. Choose the container, then add a premixed potting soil (not garden soil, which isn't the same thing).

Pots should be at least 16 to 18 inches wide and deep, though a window box is fine for veggies with shallow roots such as lettuce. More and more vegetables are being bred to grow specifically in containers. Look for space savers with the words “patio,” “compact” or “bush type” on the seed label or plant tag. And make sure every pot or container has multiple holes so excess water can drain out.

Choose vegetables that are easiest to grow.

For your first attempts, it’s best to pick plants that are reliable performers and don’t take a lot of fussing. Herbs are super-easy, so start with the basics such as chives, oregano, and thyme, which also happen to be perennial, so they'll come back every year. Bonus: it’s much cheaper to grow them than to buy those plastic packages at the grocery store. Greens, such as mesclun (mixed lettuce), spinach, and arugula also are good choices for newbies, and the return on investment is quick: You can usually harvest baby leaves in as little as 30 days. Greens can be planted in early spring when the soil is still cool. Beans, summer squash, cucumbers, and peppers are other options for easy-to-grow vegetables, but wait to plant these heat-loving plants until May or June when the risk of frost is past.

Herbs, like chives, oregano, and thyme, are super easy to grow. As are beans, summer squash, cucumbers, and peppers, spinach, arugula and mesclun.

Although it’s every gardeners’ dream,tomatoes aren’t always the easiest to grow because they can have a lot of disease and nutrient issues. If you do want to try them, stick with newer varieties or hybrids that have been bred to be in bush form and are more disease resistant. If you have your heart set on growing pumpkins or other vining plants or space hogs such as cabbage, make sure you read the plant tag or description to see if you have room!

Water your plants, of course, using these tips.

A soaker hose delivers water directly to the roots, but hand watering with a can or hose is fine, too. If it hasn’t rained lately, stick your finger in the soil to check moisture levels. If it’s bone-dry, it’s time to water. In containers, if the soil is pulling away from the sides, that’s another sign that you should water. More porous containers, such as clay or ceramic, also dry out faster than plastic, so keep your eye on them during the hottest months.

Should you plant seeds or transplants?

Seeds are economical choices for vegetables that are fast-growing and generally direct-seeded into the garden, such as greens, beans, and squashes. But buy transplants for peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes, which love heat, because you can’t put them in ground or pots until after the last expected frost date in your area. If you wait until then to start heat lovers from seed, you’ll run out of time in most climates for the plant to mature and produce before the first frost.

Don’t get discouraged.

Everyone was a beginner once! If your first year is a flop, try again next year. But jog your memory next spring by keeping a garden journal. Jot down what you’ve done and when you planted each thing, what you liked, and what varieties didn’t do well this year and aren’t worth the hassle. The only way to get good at gardening is to keep at it! 

Be patient (or at least try).

Gardening is a process, and you won’t have a perfect Instagram-ready garden your first season. But don’t give up! Every year you’ll learn a little more about what works and what doesn’t work. Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. If your tomatoes got late blight or your sunflowers got eaten by the birds, no worries. There’s always next year!

                                         Layout

Once you have established a site for your vegetable garden, consider its layout. Do you want a small or large garden? Does your location permit room for a plot of rows, small beds, or containers? Sketch it out and begin listing the types of vegetables you want to grow.

                                                                               Plants 

Be sure to choose vegetable plants that will accommodate your own family needs; try to resist selecting crops you don’t really like or won’t eat. For those you do enjoy, avoid over planting, unless you plan on preserving them.

                                                                   Soil prep and planting 

Work the soil with compost so that it is rich with organic matter. If you are starting crops from seed indoors, you need to be done well before planting time. Otherwise, sow seeds or set plants in the garden at their appropriate planting times. Your best bet is to start small until you get a feel for what you’re doing. If you’re planting your vegetable garden in rows, keep the tallest growing plants in such a way that they won’t interfere with the smaller varieties by casting too much shade, usually on the garden’s northern side. Leafy crops and some of the root crops, however, can be planted in areas of shade if necessary. If you have decided on implementing beds, try a strip of area about 4 feet wide by 8 feet long. This way you can easily maneuver around it. You could even consider placing this size garden along the side of your home, incorporating flowers and herbs into the garden for additional use and interest. Placing the garden near a fence or trellis can also offer you the opportunity for growing vine crops as well, while taking up less space. With containers, simply group them together with the largest growers in the back and bring the smaller ones to the front. With whatever design you have chosen, try to group crops according to their rate of maturity. By using this grouping method, you can ensure that your garden will be abundant continually since there will be other crops taking the place of those which have begun to fade or have already died out. When you follow crops, choose unrelated plants to prevent occurrence of pests or diseases. For example, follow beans with beets or peppers.

                                                                     Upkeep and harvesting 

You’ll want to check on your garden frequently, making sure that it has sufficient water and no weeds or other problems. To help cut down on the growth of weeds and help retain moisture, add plenty of mulch to the garden. Checking your garden often will also ensure that crops get picked once matured. Frequent picking helps increase production and extends the harvest season. Starting a vegetable garden is not that difficult or demanding as long as the proper care and maintenance is provided. There is a great sense of pride in knowing that you have grown your own vegetables that can be shared with family and friends each year; and once they have tasted the sweet, home-grown fruits of your labor, they will be proud as well.

Tips for Where to Put a Garden


 Convenience 

The position of a vegetable garden should first and foremost be chosen for convenience. After all, a vegetable garden is for your enjoyment. If you have to walk 10 minutes to the location of a vegetable garden, chances are greatly reduced that your spot for a vegetable garden will be weeded and watered as much as it should and you may miss out on harvesting regularly. 

Sun


Another thing to consider when choosing a garden location is how much sun that spot gets. Typically, vegetables need at least six hours of sun, though eight hours is better. Don’t fuss so much about if the spot for a vegetable garden gets morning or afternoon sun, just check to make sure it gets six hours total of sun.

Drainage 


Plants can’t grow in waterlogged soil. The position of a vegetable garden should be somewhat elevated. If the location of a vegetable garden is at the bottom of a hill or in an indentation in the ground, it will have a hard time drying out and the plants will suffer.

                                   Toxic locations




This shouldn’t be a factor for most people when choosing a garden location, but avoid areas where dangerous chemicals, like lead paint or oil, may have leached into the ground. These chemicals will get into your vegetables as they grow.

                                                                                    Soil 

Soil isn’t as much a factor in where to put a garden as you might think. If you’re down to two spots and you are undecided as to which would be best, choose the location with the loamier soil. Otherwise, all soils can be improved and if the soil is very bad, you can build raised beds. Now you know a little bit more about where to put a garden in your yard. If you follow these few tips for choosing the position of a vegetable garden, it will be easy. Remember, the location of a vegetable garden is not as important as having fun while tending it.
            
                                                       How to make a Raised Garden



Are you looking for a vegetable garden that is easy to maintain? 

Consider growing your garden in raised garden boxes. Elevated raised gardens require less bending for planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. A raised vegetable garden is also an excellent alternative for growing vegetables in difficult sites, such as hillsides. In these areas, depths can be adjusted easily to fit the slope of the hill. Depending on your individual needs, raised beds can take many forms, making them quite practical as well as beautiful. 

How to Make a Homemade Raised Garden 

Nearly anything that holds soil and maintains shape is the best way to build a raised garden bed. Wood, concrete, bricks, stones or containers that are situated in tiers can all be implemented for use in a raised bed. Normally, wood is the most commonly used; you should try to stay away from using any lumber which has been pressure treated, however, since the chemicals that are used to treat the wood can get into the soil and harm plants. Typically, raised garden boxes are laid out in a rectangular pattern approximately 3 feet in width. This layout allows all areas of the bed, including the center, to be easily accessible. The length of a raised vegetable garden mainly depends on your particular landscape needs. The depth of raised garden boxes generally require at least 6-12 inches for the proper root development of plants. Creating paths between the beds makes the maintenance easier and looks attractive, too. You can create this effect by adding a layer of plastic or other gardening fabric between each bed and covering it with a suitable mulching material, such as gravels or pebbles. The pathways should be wide enough for easy accessibility to the beds with additional room for a wheelbarrow. Generally, a width of approximately 2 to 3 feet is sufficient.

Preparation of Location


One of the most important aspects of a raised vegetable bed is proper location. Choose a site that provides sufficient sunlight and water. When it comes to the best way to build a raised garden bed, areas that get at least five to eight hours of full sun is recommended. Try to place the beds facing north to south to take full advantage of the sun. The soil in a raised bed warms faster and dries out more quickly than soil at ground level; therefore, you will need to water your raised vegetable garden often, especially during hot, dry weather. When considering how to make a home made raised garden, it is just as important for the plants to be in an area that is accessible to rainwater as well. When applying water to elevated raised gardens, it is often better to use soaker hoses which can be placed directly on the bed; the use of sprinklers can also be used but are more likely to spread diseases if the foliage stays excessively wet. The use of organic mulches, such as straw or hay, can also be used to help retain moisture within these vegetable gardens. 

Soil for Raised Vegetable Garden 

Raised garden boxes have looser soil, which is ideal for root crops, providing a more optimum soil environment for root growth. When you are ready for raised garden beds preparation of soil in your beds, fill them with commercial soil or mix the existing soil with compost or manure. As beds are built up, keep adding compost to further improve its soil structure and drainage. When you begin planting crops into the beds, the taller varieties should be placed nearer the north to prevent shading of the smaller crops. 

Enjoy Your Raised Garden Boxes 

Elevated raised gardens are easier for you to maintain since it is accessible on all sides. Since plants are growing above the level of walkways, there is less need for bending or stooping as you care for your crops. Raised beds offer other benefits as well. They save on space and allow crops to grow closer together, resulting in more moisture for the crops and less weed growth. With raised beds, you also have the option of creating the bed as small as you like and then adding onto it as time, experience and your individual needs permit.

Gardening Laws And Ordinances – Common Garden Laws





As the population grows and more people live closer together, there has been an increase in the number of garden laws in cities and localities. A gardening law can cause your best laid plans to go head to head with local law enforcement, so it is important that you check to see if your locality has any laws that affect your yard. Below, we have listed some common garden and yard care laws. 

Common Garden and Yard Care Laws 

Fences and hedges – Among the more common urban garden ordinances are ones regulating how high a fence or hedge can be. Sometimes, fences and hedges can be banned all together, particularly in terms of the front yard or street facing yards. 

Length of grass – If you have dreamed of having a wildflower meadow instead of a lawn, this is one gardening law you need to pay attention to. Most areas forbid grass being over a certain height. Many legal cases have resulted from cities mowing down a meadow yard. 

Watering requirements – Depending on where you live, the yard care laws may forbid or require certain kinds of watering. Typically where water is scarce, it is forbidden to water lawns and plants. In other areas, you can be fined for letting your lawn turn brown from lack of watering. 

Hell strips – Hell strips are the sections of land between the street and the sidewalk. This hard to tend purgatory land belongs to the city by law, but you are required to keep it maintained. Trees, shrubs and other plants put in these areas by the city are your responsibility to care for, but you normally do not have the right to damage or remove these plants. 

Birds – Many people do not realize that most areas forbid disturbing or killing wild birds. Most areas even have laws restricting caring for these birds, even if they are injured. If you find an injured wild bird in your yard, call a local wildlife agency to come get the bird. Do not move or disturb nests, eggs or fledglings. 

Weeds – Urban garden ordinances often forbid growing noxious or invasive weeds, either knowingly or unknowingly. These weeds change from area to area depending on your climate and conditions. 

Animals – Other common urban garden ordinances apply to farm animals. While it might be a nice idea to keep a few chickens or a goat, this may be forbidden under many cities’ garden laws. 

Compost piles – Many gardeners keep compost piles in their backyard and almost as many cities have a gardening law about how those piles should be maintained. Some areas ban these beneficial garden aids all together. No matter where you live, if you have a neighbor within throwing distance of your house, chances are there are garden laws and yard care laws that apply to your garden and yard. Checking with the local city or town hall will make you more familiar with these laws and help you to stay in compliance with them.

Learn The Vegetable Gardening Basics




Choose the location of a vegetable garden One of the vegetable gardening basics is choosing a location for your garden. There are four things to consider when choosing the location for a vegetable garden. 

They are: Convenience 
                  Sun 
                 Drainage
                 Soil type

Choose the vegetables to grow 

Many people seeking vegetable gardening tips wonder which vegetable they should grow. Which vegetables you decide to grow is entirely up to you. It really depends on your personal tastes. But, if you are looking for some guidance and ideas, the 10 most popular vegetables in vegetable gardening are: Cabbage 
                                                                                                                                Radishes 
                                                                                                                               Winter squash 
                                                                                                                               Carrots 
                                                                                                                               Lettuce 
                                                                                                                               Beans 
                                                                                                                               Summer squash 
                                                                                                                               Cucumbers 
                                                                                                                               Peppers 
                                                                                                                              Tomatoes 
These are just a few you can try but there are many, many more. If you are just starting out with backyard vegetable gardening, you may want to choose two or three and grow those until you get the hang of keeping a vegetable garden. 

Make your vegetable garden layout 

Making a vegetable garden plan is one of the vegetable gardening basics. For most vegetables, there is no set spot you need to put them in the garden but many vegetables do need a certain amount of space to do well. It’s helpful to make a vegetable garden plan that will help you make sure you have enough space for all the vegetables you have chosen.

Prepare the soil in your vegetable garden

Probably the most important piece of vegetable gardening advice is before you plant a single thing in the ground, make sure that the soil in your chosen vegetable garden location is as good as it can be. If you have clay soil, spend some time amending clay soil. Have your soil tested. Make sure that the soil’s pH is correct, and if you need to lower the pH or raise the pH, take time to do that. Fix any deficiencies with: Nitrogen 
                                                                       Potassium 
                                                                       Phosphorus
and anything else that the soil test indicates that you may need in the soil.

The Layout Of Your Vegetable Garden




Better Vegetable Garden Layouts 

Many of us actually require something taking up less space and less time and we are looking for the best way how to layout a vegetable garden. There is an alternative to the big vegetable garden layouts, which can be just as effective with an additional bonus — a layout designed for small areas. Small vegetable garden layouts, which fit the busy person’s lifestyle as well as accommodate those who have limited room for a traditional garden, comes in the form of small beds. These not only save on space but can be helpful to the plants themselves by allowing them to grow closer together, which essentially provides the soil with shade and results in more moisture for the crops and less weed growth for the gardener to deal with. 

How to Layout a Vegetable Garden  

For an optimal vegetable garden layout design, beds shouldn’t be more than 3 or 4 feet in width since your main objective is easy maintenance. Smaller beds allow you to maneuver around the area while watering, weeding, or harvesting. Use paths with your vegetable garden layout design. Dividing beds with pathways will lesson the chances of harming crops by trampling the plants and surrounding soil. Placing plastic or some type of garden sheeting over the paths will also keep weeds out, and adding some type of mulching material or gravels will improve the appearance. You should mulch around crops as well to help them retain moisture. 

Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas for Planting 

When arranging the garden bed, plant the early crops in such a way that allows other crops to follow once these varieties have faded out. For instance, rather than wait for these earlier crops to die out completely, go ahead and plant the later crops in between beforehand. This technique will help keep the garden alive with continual growth while adding to its appearance. Keep the taller plants, such as corn, towards the back of your beds or consider placing them in the center with other crops working downward in size. Instead of flat beds, you might consider raised ones that are edged with wood or stone. 

Alternative Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas 

You don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to beds for a unique vegetable garden layout design. Browse through books, catalogs, or public gardens for new and interesting vegetable garden layouts. Family, friends, and neighbors are also a great source of vegetable garden layout ideas, and many of them are more than willing to share their successful secrets with others.

Garden Layout Plans – Tips On Layout Options For The Garden


                                                              Layout Options for the Garden 

Before planning a vegetable garden layout, there are a few things to consider. The garden will thrive in well-draining, nutrient rich soil. It’s probably a good idea to perform a soil test to determine its composition. Once the results are in, you will know if and with what the soil needs to be amended. At this time, you can add compost, sand, humus, fertilizer or other ingredients. The garden should also be located in an area of full sun. If there is no adequate area in your landscape, vegetables can be planted in containers on a deck or patio that receives sun. Situate the garden near a convenient water source. Young plants will need to be watered often and you don’t want the watering to become such a chore that the task is abandoned altogether. Also, the garden site shouldn’t be near established tree or shrub roots that can steal moisture from the vegetable plants. If you have black walnut trees nearby, a lack of sun in the desired garden area or inadequate soil, try planting in raised beds. Raised beds have the advantage of providing better drainage, warm quicker so you can plant earlier in the season, and the soil stays warmer than a garden plot which will bring the crops to maturity sooner.

Types of Garden Layouts 

Rows 

The most basic garden plan consists of a design with straight, long rows running north to south orientation. A north to south direction will ensure that the garden gets the best sun exposure and air circulation. A garden that runs east to west tends to get too shaded from the crops growing in the preceding row. Grow tall items such as corn or beans, on the north side of the garden to keep them from shading smaller crops. Medium sized plants like tomatoes, squash and cabbage, should be grown in the center. Short crops like carrots, lettuce and radishes should grow in the southern end of the garden.

Four square

Another vegetable garden layout idea is called a four square garden plan. Imagine the bed divided into four quarters, as if you have a piece of paper and have drawn a square on it and then a cross inside the square. Each square within the larger square represents a different bed. There are four categories of beds based on the amount of nutrients they need. Heavy feeders like corn and leafy greens need lots of nutrients and will be included in one square bed. Middle feeders, such as tomatoes and peppers, will be in another. Turnips and carrots are light feeders that like potash in the soil and will be grown together accordingly. Soil builders are those veggies that leach nitrogen into the soil, such as peas, and will be grouped together. This type of garden layout has the advantage of forcing you to practice crop rotation. The layout is generally from top-left and counter clockwise: heavy feeders, middle feeders, light feeders and soil builders. After harvest, plan on rotating each group to the next square the successive year. This crop rotation will help reduce pests and soil diseases.

Square foot 

Square foot garden plots are generally set up in grids of 4 x 4 squares with strings or wood attached to the frame to divide the bed into equal square-foot sections. One type of vegetable is planted in each section. If vine plants are grown, they’re usually placed in the back with a trellis to allow the plant to grow up. The number of plants per section can be calculated by dividing the lowest number of spacing inches you need into 12 inches, which makes up the individual square-foot plot. For example, the closest spacing for carrots is normally around 3 inches. Therefore, your calculation would be 12 divided by 3, making the answer is 4. This means that you fill the square with four rows of four plants each, or 16 carrot plants.

Block 

Another garden layout plan is called the block style garden layout. Also called close row or wide row planting, this method increases yields significantly over a traditional row style garden. It also suppresses weeds. The idea is to plant vegetables in rectangular beds or blocks instead of long single rows, similar to that of the square foot but with whatever measurements you need. It eliminates the need for surplus walkways, thus maximizing premium gardening space. The plants are grouped together densely and, therefore, need fertile, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. They will need fertilization due to the high density. Try not to overcrowd the veggies when using this method. This reduces air circulation and can result in disease. The bed should be 3-4 feet wide and any length desired. This width makes it easy to reach into the bed to weed, harvest or replant. Walkways should be minimal and about 18-24 inches across. Mulch the walkways with grass clippings, wood chips or another organic mulch. Plant crops with equal space between adjacent plants in both directions. For instance, space a carrot patch on a 3- by 3-inch center – visualize the layout as running rows spaced 3 inches apart across the bed with thinned carrots within the row to 3 inches. A 24-foot long traditional garden row of carrots will fit into a 3-foot by 2-foot bed.

Vertical

Growing vegetable gardens vertically is yet another option. These gardens are designed for people having little to no traditional garden space. Rather than planting in your typical garden bed, you take advantage of vertical space, growing plants along trellises, hanging baskets or even upside down. There are even stackable containers available that allow you to grow a number of plants in one area by simply stacking the pots onto one another like a tower. Speaking of which, planting towers are another vertical option for growing plants and popular for potatoes.

Raised bed/containers 

Again, for those having little space or even inadequate soil, planting veggies in raised beds or containers is a great alternative. With this layout option, the sky is the limit, as you have the flexibility in moving the garden around and making use of all available space, including vertical areas.

Calculating Plants Per Square Foot: Number Of Plants Per Square Foot Guide




Plant Spacing in a Square Foot Garden 

Square foot garden plots are set up in grids of 4 x 4 squares, or 2 x 4 if set up against a wall. Strings or thin pieces of wood are attached to the frame to divide the plot into equal square foot sections. One type of vegetable plant is planted in each section. If vine plants are grown, they’re generally placed in the back to allow for a straight trellis to be installed at the very back of the bed.

How Many Plants per Square Foot 

When calculating plants per square foot, the most important thing to consider is the size of each adult plant. In the initial planning stages, you may want to consult a plant per square foot guide, but this will only give you a general idea of garden plans. You’ll rarely have a garden book or website with you in the yard, so figuring out your own plant spacing in a square foot garden is an essential thing to learn. Look on the back of the seed packet or on the tab in the seedling pot. You’ll see two different planting distance numbers. These are based on old-school row planting plans and assume you will have a wide space in between rows. You can ignore this larger number in the instructions and simply concentrate on the smaller one. If, for instance, your carrot seeds packet recommends 3 inches apart for the smaller number, this is how close you can get on all sides and still grow healthy carrots.

Divide the number of inches per distance you need into 12 inches, the size of your plot. For carrots, the answer is 4. This number applies to horizontal rows in the square, as well as vertical. This means that you fill the square with four rows of four plants each, or 16 carrot plants. This method works for any plant. If you find a range of distance, such as from 4 to 6 inches, use the smaller number. If you find the rare fraction in your answer, fudge it a little bit and get as close to the answer as you can. Plant spacing in a square foot garden is art, after all, not science.

Best Time To Water Plants – When Should I Water My Vegetable Garden?




Advice on when to water plants in the garden varies greatly and can be confusing to a gardener. But, there is a right answer to the question, “When should I water my vegetable garden?” and there are reasons for best time when you should water vegetables. 

Best Time to Water Plants in the Vegetable Garden 

The answer to when to water plants in the vegetable garden actually has two answers. 

Watering Plants in the Morning 

The very best time to water plants is in the early morning, while it is still cool. This will allow the water to run down into the soil and reach the roots of the plant without too much excess water lost to evaporation. Watering in the early morning will also make the water available to the plants throughout the day so that the plants will be able to deal better with the heat of the sun. There is a gardening myth that watering in the morning will make the plants susceptible to scorch. This is not true. First of all, almost all areas in the world do not get intense enough sun for water droplets to scorch the plants. Second of all, even if you live in an area where the sun is that intense, the water droplets would be evaporated in the heat long before they could focus the sunlight.

Watering Plants in the Afternoon 

Sometimes, due to work and life schedules, it can be difficult to water the garden in the early morning. The second best time to water a vegetable garden is in the late afternoon or early evening. If you are watering vegetables in late afternoon, the heat of the day should have mostly passed, but there should still be enough sun left to dry the plants a bit before night falls. Watering plants in the late afternoon or early evening also cuts down on evaporation and allows the plants several hours without sun to take up water into their system. One things to be careful of if you water in the late afternoon is to make sure that the leaves have a little time to dry before night comes. This is because damp leaves at night encourage fungus problems, such as powdery mildew or sooty mold, which can harm your vegetable plants. If you are using a drip or soaker irrigation system, you can water right up until nightfall, as the leaves of the plant do not get wet with this form of watering.

Vegetable Garden Size For Family




Deciding how large a family vegetable garden will be means you need to take a few things in to consideration. How many members you have in your family, how much your family likes the vegetables you eat and how well you can store the excess vegetable crops can all influence the size of a family vegetable garden. But, you can make an estimate on what size garden will feed a family so that you can try to plant enough to enjoy all of your favorite vegetables all season long. Let’s look at the what size garden will feed a family. 

How to Grow a Garden for a Family 

The most important thing to consider when deciding how big your family garden should be is how many people in your family you need to feed. Adults and teens will, of course, eat more vegetables from the garden than children, infants and toddlers. If you know the number of people you need to feed in your family, you’ll have a starting point for how much of any vegetable you need to plant in your family vegetable garden. The next thing to decide when creating a family vegetable garden is what vegetables you will grow. For more common vegetables, like tomatoes or carrots, you may want to grow larger amounts, but if you are introducing your family to a less common vegetable, like kohlrabi or bok choy, you may want to grow less until your family becomes accustomed to it.

Also, when considering what size garden will feed a family, you also need to consider if you will be planning to serve only fresh vegetables or if you will be setting preserving some to last through fall and winter. 

Vegetable Garden Size for a Family Per Person Vegetable Amount Per Person: Asparagus 5-10 plants 
                                                                                                                               Beans 10-15 plants 
                                                                                                                               Beets 10-25 plants 
                                                                                                                               Bok Choy 1-3 plants 
                                                                                                                               Broccoli 3-5 plants 
                                                                                                                               Brussels Sprouts 2-5 plants
                                                                                                                               Cabbage 3-5 plants 
                                                                                                                               Carrots 10-25 plants 
                                                                                                                               Cauliflower 2-5  plants 
                                                                                                                               Celery 2-8 plants 
                                                                                                                               Corn 10-20 plants 
                                                                                                                               Cucumber 1 – 2 plants 
                                                                                                                               Eggplant 1-3 plants 
                                                                                                                               Kale 2-7 plants 
                                                                                                                               Kohlrabi 3-5 plants 
                                                                                                                               Leafy Greens 2-7 plants 
                                                                                                                               Leeks 5-15 plants 
                                                                                                                               Lettuce, Head 2-5 plants 
                                                                                                                               Lettuce, Leaf 5-8 feet 
                                                                                                                              Melon 1-3 plants 
                                                                                                                              Onion 10-25 plants 
                                                                                                                              Peas 15-20 plants 
                                                                                                                              Peppers, Bell 3-5 plants 
                                                                                                                              Peppers, Chili 1-3 plants 
                                                                                                                              Potato 5-10 plants 
                                                                                                                              Radishes 10-25 plants 
                                                                                                                              Squash, Hard 1-2 plants 
                                                                                                                              Squash, Summer 1-3 plants 
                                                                                                                              Tomatoes 1-4 plants 
                                                                                                                              Zucchini 1-3 plants

Vegetable Garden Design: How To Design Vegetable Gardens




Outside of common belief, there are actually many ways to design a vegetable garden. With the proper design and maintenance, you no longer need to hide your vegetable garden away from view. In fact, a well-designed vegetable garden can be quite attractive as well as functional.


Tips to Help Design a Vegetable Garden

For people who have plenty of time and space, the traditional garden plot is acceptable. These garden designs can be created strictly with long rows or broken down into smaller ones. While traditional designs don’t always look like it, most can be a chore when it comes to the upkeep. To lessen some of the labor, however, mulch generously around crops as well as in between the rows to discourage weeds from eventually overtaking the garden.

Adding Paths

Are you limited on space or just looking for something a little less demanding? Designing a garden in smaller plots with paths woven in between allows for easier reach and maintenance. Paths offer you the benefit of maneuvering around all sides of the garden without the worry of packing down the soil. This layout also will make harvesting your vegetables easier and gives your garden additional interest by taking away the wild and unkempt appearance of the traditional plots of rows.

Designing For Crop Rotation

Design your garden each year so that crop rotation is implemented to prevent diseases from appearing throughout seasons. To accomplish crop rotation, avoid growing the same vegetable in the same location more than once every three years. To encourage ongoing succession within the garden, try to group crops with similar planting and harvest dates. For even more beauty and extended blooms, mix in flowers and herbs.

Making The Vegetable Garden Look Pretty

Fill in empty areas of flower borders or beds with vegetables. For example, cherry tomatoes and ornamental peppers work well with flowers. Flowers also encourage pollinating insects, which are beneficial to most vegetables and can be used as screens to surround the garden. Some crops can even be grown simply as ornamentals alongside your flowers. For instance, rhubarb has lovely cream-colored flower stalks that fit in nicely with many plants. Once asparagus crops have faded, their feathery foliage looks quite nice in a flower border. Adding unique features into the vegetable garden layout plan also can add more interest. You might try incorporating a bench, garden globe, or various garden ornaments to serve as interesting focal points.

 Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden 

Another benefit to growing vegetables with flowers is companion planting. This type of planting is ideal for reducing pest and disease problems within the garden. Plants with strong odors, such as marigolds or garlic, help deter insects. A good example of companion planting might include placing petunias with beans to repel bean beetles or marigolds with tomatoes to help fend off snails. 

Consider Raised Beds 

Designing vegetable gardens for smaller landscapes can also include the use of raised beds or containers as well. Raised beds are similar in most aspects to the smaller plots with the exception of the raised beds being elevated from the ground. These beds are usually ideal for root crops because of the looser soil with which raised beds tend to hold. Raised beds can adapt to nearly any location or shape, and they allow for better drainage.

Using Containers for Vegetables


Containers can fit into nearly any type of landscape as well and offer the freedom of changing the positioning at any point. They can accommodate vegetables of a larger size with ease while taking up hardly any space at all. This type of gardening is a perfect way for would-be gardeners without any other means of gardening to still enjoy a bountiful harvest of freshly grown vegetables.



Growing Vegetables With Seeds




Many people, such as myself, enjoy growing vegetables from seeds. Using the seeds from your garden’s previous growing year not only can provide you with the same succulent produce, but it is also a good way of saving money.

Finding Vegetable Seeds 

When you’re obtaining seeds to grow a vegetable garden for the first time, you may want to select them from a catalog specializing in vegetable gardening. These sources are typically ideal for beginners, as they provide useful information, better quality and a wider selection. Start with familiar varieties that are easy to grow. The seeds should be ordered well in advance of planting time and after you have planned your gardening space and individual needs. Ordering this way will help ensure that you purchase the proper amounts. If you already have a garden and want to collect seeds for the following year, save only seeds from non-hybrid or open-pollinated varieties. Take the seeds from fleshy varieties such as tomatoes or melons when they are at their ripest; collect beans once they have fully dried out. Clean the seeds and allow them to dry thoroughly. Be sure to store your seeds in airtight containers that are placed in areas which are cool and dry.

How to Grow Vegetables from Seeds

Seeds can be planted directly into the soil of your garden, or you may start them indoors.

Growing Vegetables Seeds Indoors

Start your vegetable seeds indoors about four to six weeks before the growing season begins. Many people prefer to place seeds in flowerpots, paper cups or small flats. If there is no outlet for drainage, be sure to place small holes in the bottoms of your chosen container beforehand. Fill the flat or other acceptable container with a suitable growing medium such as vermiculite or equal parts of sand, peat moss and soil. Soilless potting mix can also be used. Sprinkle seeds onto the soil and cover them according to their proper planting depth found on the seed packet. You also may refer to planting guides found in many garden centers or catalogs. Lightly moisten with water and keep the seeds in a sunny location, such as a windowsill. The location should stay reasonably warm and receive at least six hours of full sunlight. Additionally, the flats can be placed in a cold frame where they will receive ample amounts of sunlight, ventilation and a suitable temperature. Placing bricks or concrete blocks under flats will help supply additional heat, if needed. Once the seedlings have developed leaves, they can be transplanted into other suitable containers to prevent them from becoming weak. The plants need to be hardened off for about two weeks before planting them into the garden. Water plants generously prior to moving them out to the garden.

Planting Vegetable Seeds Directly in the Garden 

When planting directly into the garden, sow seeds in shallow furrows with plenty of moisture. Use a rake to create the furrows for sowing seeds. After seedlings show signs of healthy growth, you can thin them as needed. Pole beans, squash, cucumbers, corn, and melons often are planted in hills of 8 to 10 seeds and thinned to two to three plants per hill once they have reached adequate size. You can also interplant faster growing varieties of crops between the slower ones. Keep in mind that different types of vegetables have different needs; therefore, it’s best to refer to the individual seed packets or other resource that shows the quantity of seeds required for a given space and plan accordingly. Once harvesting season has begun, you can start collecting your favorite seeds and continue reaping their rewards for years to come.

How To Harden Off Your Seedlings



Why You Should Harden Seedlings 

When plants are grown from seed indoors, they frequently are grown in a controlled environment. The temperature is pretty much maintained, the light is not as strong as full sunlight outside and there will not be much environmental disturbance like wind and rain. Because a plant that has been grown indoors has never been exposed to the harsher outdoor environment, they do not have any defenses built up to help them deal with them. It is much like a person who has spent all winter indoors. This person will burn very easy in summer sunlight if he/she has not built up a resistance to the sun. The way to help your seedlings build up a resistance is to harden off your seedlings. Hardening off is an easy process and will make your plants grow better and stronger when you do plant them out into the garden.

Steps for Hardening off Seedlings

Hardening off is really just gradually introducing your baby plants to the great outdoors. Once your seedlings are big enough to plant out and the temperatures are appropriate for planting outside, pack your seedling in an open top box. The box is not absolutely necessary, but you will be moving the plants around quite a bit in the next several days, and the box will make transporting the plants easier. Place the box (with your plants inside) outside in a sheltered, preferably shaded, area. Leave the box there for a few hours and then bring the box back indoors before the evening. Repeat this process over the next few days, leaving the box in its sheltered, shaded spot for a little longer each day. Once the box is staying outside for the entire day, start the process of moving the box to a sunny area. Repeat the same process. For a few hours each day, move the box from the shaded area to the sunny area increasing the length of time each day until the box is in the sun all day. During this process, it is best to bring the box in every night. Once the plants are spending the whole day outside, then you will be able to leave them out at night. At this time, it will also be safe for you to plant the seedlings out in your garden. This whole process should take just a little longer than one week. Taking this one week to help your plants get use to the outdoors will help ensure that your plants will have a much easier time growing outside.

Crop Planting Info: When To Plant Your Vegetable Garden



People differ in the exact times they plant their vegetable gardens. Keep reading to learn the best time to plant vegetables.

When to Plant Your Vegetable Garden 

It’s easy to go by the frost-free dates that are expected during spring or fall as well as the hardiness of the plants themselves. To determine the best time to plant vegetables in the spring, check the hardiness zones for your area. These zones can be found on individual seed packets or in most gardening books. 

Crop Planting Info 

Most crop planting info when to plant vegetables centers around the types of crops grown — early, hardy/half-hardy, mid-season and tender crops.

Planting early crops 

Early crops mature faster; therefore, they can be easily replaced with other vegetables like lettuce, bush beans, or radishes to fill the empty spaces once these earlier crops have faded out. This technique, which is referred to as succession planting, also extends the growing and harvesting season.

Planting mid-season crops

Normally, early to mid-season crops are planted in early spring while fall crops are generally planted in summer. The first planting should be done as early as possible but only when there is no danger of any frost. Hardy plants normally tolerate temperatures below freezing and are usually the first to be put into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked, which is typically about four weeks prior to the last frost date. The half-hardy varieties tolerate light amounts of frost; thus, can be put into the garden slightly before the last frost is expected.

Planting hardy crops

Crops that are hardy typically include: Asparagus 
                                                                   Broccoli 
                                                                   Cabbage 
                                                                   Garlic 
                                                                   Kale 
                                                                   Onions 
                                                                   Peas 
                                                                   Radishes 
                                                                   Rhubarb 
                                                                   Spinach 
                                                                   Turnips

Some of these vegetables, such as peas, cabbage, broccoli, radishes and cauliflower, also are considered as fall crops and can be planted in late summer. Potatoes, beets, carrots, lettuce, and artichokes are some of the half-hardy types, which typically are followed by the hardy varieties in the garden.

Planting tender crops 

Tender crops do not tolerate cooler temperatures and are easily damaged by frost. As a result, these crops should not be put into the garden until well after any danger of frost. More often than not, you should wait at least two to three weeks after the last frost just to be safe. Many of these tender varieties require temperatures of at least 65 F. (18 C.) in order to thrive.

The most susceptible plants to cold temperatures include: Beans 
                                                                                                   Tomatoes 
                                                                                                   Corn 
                                                                                                   Peppers 
                                                                                                   Cucumbers 
                                                                                                   Pumpkins 
                                                                                                   Squash 
                                                                                                   Sweet potatoes 
                                                                                                   Melons 
                                                                                                   Okra


The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to vegetable gardening is that what you grow and when you grow it really depends on the locality in which you live, as variables in both climate and temperature have a huge impact with regards to individual plant requirements.

Stem To Root Gardening – Learn About Gardening Without Waste



What is Stem to Root Gardening? Those who compost are utilizing the remnants of plants to nourish next year’s crop, but if you really want to maximize your yield, think twice before lopping off those turnip or beet tops and tossing them into the compost pile. Turnips and beets are just some of the virtually wasteless vegetables available. The practice of using every part of a plant isn’t a new one. Most ancient cultures utilized the entirety of not only the game they hunted but also the vegetables harvested. Somewhere down the line, the idea of using the whole plant fell out of fashion, but today’s trend towards sustainability and environmental stewardship has made not only gardening but stem to root gardening a hot commodity again. Gardening without waste not only saves you money by doubling the amount of produce available, but it allows for a wider array of flavors and textures that might otherwise be overlooked.

Types of Wasteless Vegetables 

There are many vegetables that can be used in their entirety. Some of them, such as pea vines and squash blossoms, have been made popular by chefs. Just be sure to only use the male squash blossoms; leave the female blooms to grow into fruit. Thinning seedlings can be painful because basically thinning means throwing out a potential crop. Next time you need to thin your greens, cut them and then toss them into salad. No need to spend money on those pricey baby greens at the grocers. When carrots need to be thinned, wait as long as possible and then thin. The tiny carrots can be eaten or pickled in their entirety and the tender green used much like parsley. The tops of root veggies, such as turnip, radish and beet, shouldn’t be discarded. Chopped, fried turnip leaves are, in fact, a delicacy in Italy, Spain, France and Greece. The peppery, slightly bitter leaves are wilted and served with pasta or fried with polenta and sausage, stirred into eggs or stuffed into sandwiches. Radish leaves can also be used in this manner. Beet leaves have been eaten for centuries and are packed with nutrition. They taste somewhat like their relative chard and can be used in the same manner. Much of the world is enamored of the young tendrils of pumpkins, zucchini and winter squash. It’s time for Westerners to embrace the idea of eating the tender, crunchy leaves with a flavor combination of spinach, asparagus and broccoli. They can be stir fried, blanched or steamed and added to eggs, curries, soups, etc. Let’s face it, squash tends to take over the garden and is often snipped back. Now you know what to do with the tender vine ends. Like squash blossoms and pea vines, garlic scapes have become popular with chefs, and for good reason. Hardneck garlic produces garlic scapes – delicious, nutty, edible flower buds. Harvest scapes in the early summer. The meaty stem is crunchy like asparagus with a similar green flavor and a hint of chive. The blossoms are similar in texture and flavor to broccoli. They can be grilled, sautéed, flash fried in butter and added to eggs. The tops of broad beans are sweet with flavor and crunch, and are excellent raw in salads or cooked like a green. They are one of the earliest leaf crops in the spring and are delicious incorporated into risottos, on pizza, or wilted in salads. Even yellow onion blossoms, black currant leaves, and okra leaves can all be eaten. Probably one of the most wasted parts of vegetable is the skin. Many people peel carrots, potatoes, and even apples. The peel of all of these can be added along with herb stems, celery leaves and bottoms, tomato ends, etc. to make a delicious vegetarian broth. What’s the old adage? Waste not, want not.