Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Some Gardening Don'ts

Gardening is so many different things to so many people.  It can be relaxing, fulfilling and constructive.  It is one of the best ways I know of to be self sustaining.  The main requirement for gardening is to love the outdoors.  You must be committed to the care and attention your garden will require.  An ignored garden will not be a productive garden.

1)  Don't forget to prepare your garden before you plant.  Your garden plot must be properly nourished, circulated and cleared before you seed it.  Purchasing fertilizer is not only expensive, but too much will cause the roots of your foliage to burn.  Fertilizer can also cause a plant to become too leafy and less effective.  Using compost to nourish your soil replenishes the nutrients that deplete over time.  Unlike fertilizer compost will not hit your pocket book, or over feed your vegetation.  It is also suggested that compost helps fight plant disease, and deters some insects. Unlike fertilizer compost will not succumb to rain fall off and end up in the sewer system.  Add plenty of compost and cultivate into soil using a simple hoe, or till.  For more information on starting a compost visit  http://www.compostjunkie.com/ .

2)  Don't pant your seeds too close together.  One of the most common mistakes of gardening is the planting itself.  Seeds must be properly spaced in order to allow proper room for maturing.  If your seed is not placed correctly below the ground it will not develop a strong, deep root system.  Seeds should be place in a hole 1 to 2 inches underneath the soil.  The placement of the grain will depend on the plant.  Beans and peas grow straight up vining around fences or poles.  Therefore they can typically be planted in a closer proximity than a squash which tends to vine out in a vast area.  If you prefer a crop of tomato and peppers space your crops at least 3 feet apart.  Pay attentiont to lighting requirements listed on a seeds packaging.  Some require full sunlight, some require partial shade. 

3)  Do not over water your garden.  Just because your plant's leaves are turning don't assume it is dehydrated.  It could be quite the opposite.  Over watering a plant causes the roots to turn brown and root.  Since the root system transports nutrients to the foliage and fruit of your garden the leaves will turn yellow and begin to curl.  The only proven method to avoid over watering is to check the soil.  The ground may look dry, but the soil itself may still hold moisture.  With a hand shovel turn a small slice of earth to fully check for wetness.  Moisture meters can be purchased at local hardware stores, but I hesitate to spend money on anything I am capable of handling myself.  On the other hand make sure to add proper hydration when necessary.
4)  Do not succumb to weed killers in a vegetable garden.  Weeds tap into your gardens nutrients to survive.  The same nutrients you replenish in your bed for a maximum harvest.  I never recommend adding unnecessary chemicals into a garden or spending excessive money.  You may not be a fan of pulling weeds by hand, but it is the proper way.  Yanking out the weeds will allow you to be in tune with your garden.  It is important that you pay attention to the progress and needs of your yield.  Scheduling a portion of every week to remove the excessive shoots gives you the opportunity to address the changes and requirements of your efforts.

5)  Do not gather your harvest before it is ready.  It is fairly easy to know when to pick some vegetation.  Tomatoes, beans, peas and corn are evident.  How do you know when to harvest a root vegetable?  For example, potatoes will be ready to dig when the plant itself begins to turn brown.  Carrots and radishes will have a thick stem, but the only way to be sure is to pull one from the ground.  If you have any doubt about the progress of your shoot do a little research before your crop is ready.

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