Introduction to Vegetable Gardening Tips and Tricks: Vegetables are very easy to grow especially in sunny spots and you don’t need a large yard to build a vegetable garden. Vegetables are loaded with different essential nutrients that promote better health, including antioxidants and vitamins. Conditions required for vegetable gardening are location, planning the garden, preparing the soil, choosing the seeds and plants, planting a crop, and nurturing the plants until they are ready for harvest. In this article we also discuss the below topics about vegetable gardening;
- How do you start and maintain a vegetable garden
- Easy ways to grow vegetables bigger and faster
- The secret to container vegetable gardening
- Tricks to make a vegetable garden a success
- Best vegetables that grow in containers
- Best time to water vegetable plants
- Secrets to watering vegetable plants
- What is the best method to grow vegetables in a garden
- Tricks for high yield vegetable gardens
- Best time to planting a vegetable garden
Homegrown vegetables simply taste better than anything you can buy at the store. A vegetable garden is easy to start and doesn’t require as much effort as one might think to keep it growing strong. Growing vegetables in the garden can be a way to save money while you get up close with nature. The flavor and texture of garden-grown plant produce are even better compared to what you’re used to finding at the grocery store. Then, follow these vegetable gardening tips and tricks to get a good yield.
Vegetable Gardening Tips (Planting), Hints, Ideas, and Techniques for Beginners
Growing vegetable plants in the garden are both fun and rewarding. All you need to get started is some decent soil, a few plants, and some growing tips. But to be a successful vegetable gardener and to do it organically you’ll need to understand what it takes to keep plants healthy and vigorous. Easy to grow vegetable plants for beginners include Beets, Carrots, Lettuce, Radishes, Squash, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Beans.
Tips for Selecting the Best Location for Growing Vegetables
- Most vegetable plants do best in full sun and find a location that gets at least 6 hours of it each day if possible. Ideally, for growing vegetables, you want a location with at least 8 hours of direct sun per day.
- The location for a vegetable garden depends on some factors like it needs at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, good drainage and air circulation, and a level location with loose and rich soil. Then, the selected area should be a nearby source of water and convenient access to tool storage and equipment.
- Select a good location for a vegetable garden is key and it is very important for plant growth. There are a few vegetable plants that will tolerate some shade.
- Drains well and doesn’t stay wet. If you have poorly drained soil where water pools, plant vegetables in a raised bed or raised row for improved drainage. If you have rocky soil, till and remove the rocks, as they will interfere with root growth and make for weaker vegetable plants.
Start with a Small Space: If you’re a beginner gardener, start small. It’s best to learn a few vegetable gardening basics before investing time and money in this new hobby. A good size for a beginner’s vegetable garden is about 6×6 feet. Growing vegetables in pots or containers is also a good way to start.
Soil Preparation for Vegetable Gardening
Vegetable plants draw their nutrients from the soil, so it only makes sense that the better the soil, the better vegetables will taste come harvest time. One of the best methods to improve soil is by adding organic matter. You can mulch with all kinds of materials like straw, for example, which is excellent for vegetable gardens. Remember that the best soil suitable for growing vegetables includes lots of compost and organic matter. When the soil mix is right and it will bind together when you squeeze it but break apart easily when disturbed. This soil is full of living microorganisms that help feed your vegetable plants and give high yields. Water will be adequately retained and yet won’t saturate the soil either.
Soil is everything – Healthy and rich soil is the key to a successful and productive vegetable garden. Then, a soil test will give you an idea of your existing soil fertility and pH level, and also offer suggestions of what types of fertilizers. Generally, vegetable garden soil should be well-draining and loose. It should not be too heavy (i.e. clay soil) or too sandy.
Soil pH level for Vegetable plants – While exact pH level requirements for vegetable plants vary somewhat, in general, the soil in a vegetable garden should fall somewhere be 6 and 7. If vegetable garden soil tests significantly above that, you will need to lower the pH of the soil. If the soil in your vegetable garden tests significantly lowers than 6, you will need to raise the pH level of your vegetable garden soil. Soil type can find which vegetables grow best for you. Knowing soil type enables you to overcome some growing problems since you can prepare the ground accordingly.
Improving Your Soil – Whatever your soil type, organic matter such as homemade compost and leaf mold must be added regularly to improve structure and nutrient content. Though, organic matter helps to break up heavy clay soils, improving drainage, and binds together sandy soil, improving retention of water and nutrients. By adding organic matter can slightly lower the soil pH level to a level perfect for most vegetables.
Another important consideration before you begin is the condition of your soil. Vegetable gardens will have difficulty thriving without proper soil preparation. Clear the selected location of weeds and other debris, such as rocks, sticks, etc., and rake the surface smoothly. Compost mainly helps improve texture, fertility, and drainage of the soil. After the soil in the desired location has been properly worked, you are ready to begin planting your vegetable garden.
Tips for Selecting Vegetable Plants
Plant High-Yield Vegetables
If you spent some time and space growing vegetable plants that produce a high crop yield. The plants need the least amount of space and time, but give the most valuable yields in return. Choose what you like to eat. Consider the availability of vegetables at your grocery store. Use high-quality vegetable seeds. Seed packets are less expensive compared to individual plants, but if vegetable seeds don’t germinate, your money and time are wasted. A few extra cents spent in the spring season for that year’s seeds will pay off in higher yields at the time of harvesting.
Plant the Right Vegetables for Your Region
Planting vegetables in the right season will greatly enhance your harvest and yield. Most vegetable plants belong to one of two seasonal groups are cool-season crops and warm-season crops. The planting date for each vegetable mainly depends upon the weather that the vegetable can best tolerate. Cool-season vegetables grow best in the early spring or late summer and autumn season when the weather is cooler. Warm-season vegetables grow best during the late spring season, summer, and early autumn when the weather is warm.
Choosing Vegetable Seeds or Seedlings
Plant the right vegetable seeds at the right time, and some easy garden vegetables will practically grow themselves. Also, you can rest easy knowing that your vegetables will always be freshly picked and free of pesticides.
You can start your vegetables from seed or buy seedlings. There are some significant benefits to each. Planting your vegetable seeds is much less expensive than buying seedlings. Also, you can organically grow hard-to-find varieties. However, starting seeds isn’t for everyone. They require 12 to 16 hours of light per day and good air circulation to grow up strong. Also, you absolutely cannot let the seeds dry out, or they’re toast. Conversely, if you give them too much water, they will keel over dead. Then, to avoid this, you can make a self-watering seed starter. Before you select what seeds to plant, look at or plan your garden’s layout carefully. Remember that vegetables need lots of sunlight to grow large and plentiful, so select a location where your seeds will get the most sun exposure.
Easy Vegetables to Grow in the Garden
In case if you miss this: How To Grow Vegetables In Summer.
Lettuce – Lettuce is an easy-to-grow annual vegetable plant. Considered a spring and fall crop, the lettuce plant thrives when temperatures are between 60 to 70F. The ideal lettuce growing location for the spring and fall season is in a spot that receives full sun. You can harvest leaf lettuce from the outside of the plant, and leaving the central bud to grow more leaves, or you can cut the entire plant at the base.
Beans – Beans like moderately rich soil with a slightly acidic pH level and you can amend the soil with organic matter. Beans like to be planted in well-nourished soil, with homemade compost or manure being ideal providers of good nutrients. Harvest time changes greatly, depending on the type of bean and the desired stage or bean state: snap/green, shelling, or dry.
Radishes – Radishes grow quickly, and most go from seed to harvest in just a month. They also do not need much space and they can grow in containers that are 4 to 6 inches deep.
Tomatoes – Growing tomatoes in containers is very easy and incredibly satisfying. Fresh and homegrown tomatoes are the reason many people get into vegetable gardening in the first place. They have a reputation for being fussy, but if you know what to watch out for, growing tomatoes is hassle-free.
Broccoli – Broccoli is a cool-weather plant that grows best in the spring and fall seasons. It can be planted in early spring for a summer harvest, or in late summer to be harvested in the fall season. To avoid frost, broccoli plants can also be grown indoors and transferred to the garden when temperatures rise. For best results in a pot or container, grow one broccoli plant per pot and pots must be 12 to 16 inches deep.
Zucchini – Plant zucchini in full sun in compost-rich and well-drained soil. Space plants about 2 to 4 feet apart provide air circulation and discourage disease. Zucchini plants grow best with a lot of direct sunlight. Then, prepare a spot in your garden with full sun and rich, loamy soil. You can mix organic compost into the soil to help your zucchini grow.
Peppers – Growing peppers is very easy. Pepper plants usually need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Pepper plants need full sun to produce the largest and healthiest fruit, so pick a site that won’t get shaded out by trees or other garden plants. The soil must be well-draining, but be sure to maintain adequate moisture either with mulch or plastic covering.
Carrots – Carrots need all-purpose, mild fertilizers like seaweed along with compost. For growing carrots, use a well-drained potting soil mix with added peat moss, Coco-peat, and compost. Remember do not use garden or landscape soil to grow carrots in containers. Carrots can be growing well in big round pots as well as in rectangular containers. A round pot with 18-inch width can be used, or a rectangular container with a minimum depth of about 1 foot should be used. Also, they can be planted in grow bags. In the winter season, with ideal growing conditions, carrots can be harvested within 60 days of seed sowing.
Peas – Peas can be planted in early spring and then again when it gets cool in the fall. Peas are perfect for succession planting because they enrich the soil with nitrogen. Peas like rich and well-drained soil.
Beetroot – Beetroot prefers a position in full sun. Improve the soil by digging in well-rotted compost – avoid manures and other fresh soil improvers as they can lead to bolting or the roots not developing correctly. Beets can be grown well in containers of quality potting soil, but for best results grow them in well-prepared soil. Beets require a sunny, open position and moist, fertile conditions. Generally, Beets can be harvested from about the size of a golf ball up to the size of a tennis ball. To harvest, gather the base of the stems and twist the root out of the soil, or also, use a fork to dig them out.
Squash – Squash is an easy vegetable to grow, and squash blossoms are beautiful and delicate edibles. Most squashes need a lot of space and a reasonably large container. Ideal Squash growing conditions include lots of light, good soil, as well as consistent watering and feeding.
Tips and Tricks for Container Vegetable Gardening
You may also check this: Indoor Vegetable Farming.
Bigger is better – The main challenge of growing vegetables in containers is watering since soil dries out faster in containers than in the ground. A larger volume of soil won’t dry out as quickly, so select the largest gardening pot you can find. Then, make certain that every container has holes so excess water can drain away from the soil.
Top Vegetables for Containers – The best vegetables for growing in containers are Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumber, Eggplant, Green Beans, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Pepper, Radishes, Spinach, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, and Winter Squash.
Caring Tips for Container Gardening with Vegetables
- Usually, clay pots are more attractive compared to plastic ones. Then, to get the best of both, slip a plastic pot into a larger clay pot.
- Vegetable plants grown in pots must be watered twice a day. To keep vegetable plants adequately cool and moist during the summer season. Place a small pot inside a larger one and then fill the space between them with sphagnum moss or crumpled newspaper.
- Hanging baskets make good use of extra space, and herbs, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries are grown at eye level can be simply tended and harvested.
- Vegetable plants that can be easily transplanted are best suited for containers and transplants can be purchased from local nurseries or started at home. Feed container vegetable plants at least twice a month with liquid fertilizer, following the instructions on the label.
- Place containers where the plants will receive maximum sunlight and good ventilation. Watch for and control insect pests.
Proper Watering Tricks for Vegetable Gardens
Vegetable plants benefit from a consistent watering schedule. Too little water and you may not get vegetable plants at all. Too much, and you can drown the plant roots and spoil the fruit. To ensure consistent watering, use a watering nozzle at ground level to deliver even moisture to the vegetable plants at their roots.
Most vegetables need 1 inch of water per week, which includes any natural rainfall, which is adequate. The most efficient and productive way to watering is by using soaker hoses and drip lines. Then, these deliver water slowly, on target allowing roots time to absorb the moisture and soil to adequately hydrate and helps keep foliage dry. Wet foliage for extended periods can promote some diseases.
The best time to water vegetable plants is in the early morning, while it is still cool. Watering the plant 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. The first step to correct the watering of vegetable plants understands the importance of water to your plants. The average vegetable is made up of more than 80% water. Some varieties, such as Broccoli, Lettuce, and Celery, exceed 90% in their water content.
It will help if you can accurately measure how much water your vegetable garden is receiving. Consistent rainfall will reduce the amount of watering, but you want to know how much water the vegetable garden is getting. Putting a rain gauge in the garden is a good method to monitor levels.
The best practice for watering vegetable plants is to go about the work early in the day. Watering in the early morning time means you will lose less water as the air warms and evaporation occurs. When you water vegetables during the morning hours, any water that accumulates on plant leaves will have the opportunity to dry. Then, this means you will have healthier plants that require less maintenance.
Best Fertilizers and Techniques for Growing Vegetables
Balanced fertilization is the proper supply of all nutrients like macros and micros throughout the growth of a crop. These nutrients allow vegetable plants to grow. When soil nutrients are missing or in short supply, vegetable plants suffer from nutrient deficiency and stop growing. Farmers turn to fertilizers because these substances contain plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Since vegetables need nitrogen as well as other nutrients readily available, supplemental organic fertilizer is applied for quick feeding. Many vegetable gardeners supplement compost or manure-rich soil with the application of fish emulsion or manure tea. It is sprinkled around the vegetable plants every 2 to 3 weeks or as needed.
Generally, all vegetable plants require nutrients in different proportions depending on the type of plant it is;
- Major nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium
- Secondary nutrients (calcium, magnesium, and sulphur)
- Micronutrients such as boron, chlorine, iron, manganese, copper, molybdenum, and zinc are necessary for vegetable plant growth.
Tips for Treating Vegetable Gardening Problems
Some vegetable diseases take their energy from the plants on which they thrive. They are responsible for a great deal of damage and are encouraged by wet weather conditions, poor drainage, or inadequate airflow. Vegetable plant diseases are categorized by a variety of symptoms like moldy coatings, wilting, scabs, blotches, rusts, and rot.
Your first step in the battle against disease is to select resistant vegetable plants. Other measures for minimizing diseases in vegetable gardens include keeping the growing area clean, properly watering and fertilizing plants, rotating crops, and also using disease-free seeds and starter plants.
Generally, heavy infestations of pests and diseases can kill vegetable plants. Carefully checking vegetable plants every 2 or 3 days, paying special attention to the undersides of their leaves and shoot, or branch, tips, and treating problems immediately, prevents severe infestations. Pick off all bugs you see on the vegetable plants, and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. Spraying vegetable plants with ready-to-use insecticidal soap also control many pests but avoids spraying in hot sunlight. Cover all vegetable plant parts, and then spray again weekly or use the insecticidal soap according to its manufacturer’s instructions.
Fungal problems in vegetable plants can be controlled by reducing high moisture conditions and improving air circulation. In most cases, a fungicidal spray or dust will be necessary for treating plant diseases. As long as you practice the steps mentioned so far, you’ve already taken adequate measures to promote the growth of healthy vegetable plants which are better able to stand up to potential pest invasions. Remember that never apply pesticides in the morning when pollinators and beneficial insects are most active. Otherwise, you’ll likely kill them as well and it is best to not use chemicals in a food garden, of all places. Instead, focus on growing healthy vegetable plants with great soil and sunny conditions and let nature take its course. Synthetic and even many organic or natural pesticides are non-selective meaning they will kill beneficial insects too.
Reduce the likelihood of fungal diseases by watering the soil, not the leaves of the vegetable plants. If you use a sprinkler, do it early in the day so the plant leaves will dry by nightfall. If a plant falls prey to disease, promptly remove it and throw it in the trash; and don’t add sick plants to your compost pile. Also, additional disease preventatives include growing vegetable varieties listed as disease-resistant and changing the location of your plants each year (crop rotation) to reduce disease-causing microbes from building up their populations.
Vegetable Harvesting Tips and Techniques
Harvest is the most satisfying step in vegetable gardening, and it doesn’t take much to get it right. Pick your vegetable crops as soon as they reach an accurate size where you will enjoy them. And when harvesting anything except root crops, it’s a good idea to use pruners, scissors, or a knife to remove what you need; and if you try to pull off leaves, you risk damaging the vegetable plant and even uprooting it from the container.
If ripe vegetables are not easily removed from the plant and cut them off with a knife. Then, tramping through wet foliage helps to spread plant diseases. Harvest vegetables when they are dry and check the garden frequently for ripe produce during harvest time. To get the most delicious vegetables from your vegetable garden, you need to harvest them when they are at their peak of flavor.