Produce For Your Table From Your Own Garden
If you are interested in vitamin rich vegetables for your table that have not been picked before their nutritional peak and traveled long distances to your local food store, then consider the convenience of picking high quality vegetables from your own backyard garden. You can reduce your grocery bill and enjoy the best nutrition by growing the vegetables you love at home. Here is what you need to know to get started.
Before you plan you home garden, take a few minutes to check the USDA Hardiness Zone Map for important information about your climate zone. The temperature ranges for your area will determine your planting times as well as plant selection. Seed catalogs and plant information online will almost always include information about what zone is best for each plant they offer. There are also many online sites that can give you dates for the average last frost in the Spring and average first frost in the Fall for your location. This will give you an idea about the length of your local growing season and let you know when to plant your vegetables.
A little bit of forethought and planning can make all the difference between a successful vegetable garden and a disaster that wastes your time and money. Only choose vegetables that you and your family love to eat. For example, zucchini squash is relatively easy to grow, but if no one likes to eat it you will end up with produce that rots on the vine and takes up valuable space in your garden. Let your family's preferences guide your selection.
Another important consideration is the size of your garden. It it much better to plant a smaller garden that you have time to care for rather than a large garden that will end up full of weeds. Think about how much time you can give to the basic chores of weeding and watering as you plan how many plants you will put in your garden.
Most vegetable plans require at least 6 hours of full sunlight each day. Choose a location that meets this requirement.
The next step in the process is the soil preparation. A simple PH test, using a kit that is readily available at any garden center, will determine if you need to adjust the acidity or alkalinity of your soil to suit the needs of your plants. Complete your soil preparation by working in a good fertilizer or organic matter to make sure your plants have the needed nutrients.
Regular maintenance is an ongoing chore that is important to the health of your garden and the produce it will yield. Adequate water is essential for healthy growth. Weeding is also important and is best done on a daily basis to prevent weeds from stealing precious water from your vegetables. There are many mulching options that can help prevent weed growth and conserve moisture in the soil. Straw, burlap bags and weed mats are just a few of the many choices.
It is also important to keep a watchful eye out for any insect pests that may attack your plants and deal with them quickly.
Cultivating a productive home garden is not as difficult as you may think when you have some basic information to help you get started. The advice above is really all you need to start enjoying your own healthy vegetables picked at the peak of nutritional perfection all season long.