Monday, May 17, 2010

Vegetable Garden Planning - Sun & Soil

I am getting ready to plant our 2nd ever vegetable garden and so was looking for some good articles to help me out on the topic.  Last year was my first year doing one and let's just say I bit off more than I could chew.  I didn't know much about soil and didn't think much about fertilizing it to get the best results.  And we don't even have an outside hydrant so I had to hand-carry one water can at a time out to the garden and water as much as I had time for, which usually ended up just being my tomato and pepper plants and that was it! I just figured mother nature would do the rest.  Needless to say, our garden was not as productive as I had anticipated.  So I thought I'd do some research first and share it with you all!  Happy Vegetable Gardening...

Sun and Soil
Good vegetable garden planning requires that you meet two special requirements: sun and soil. Vegetables can be fussy and they are very specific about their sun and soil needs.
You must have a garden bed that receives a minimum of six hours of full sun each day. The more sun, the better your garden will be. Your harvest will be bigger and your vegetables will taste better. A garden that faces south and has good space between the rows (six inches or so) will generally produce a better crop.
The other unbending requirement is good soil. You must have proper soil, but what is that? How do you know if your soil is good for a vegetable garden?
Fertile soil for the vegetable garden should be loose, brown dirt. It should shake easily through your fingers. It has to be rich in nutrients and organic matter. You may use commercial fertilizers or manure to enrich the soil. If you have a friend with a horse of two, offer to clean his stable. Horse manure is great fertilizer.
The soil should also be just a bit acidic. The pH should be about 6.5. A pH reading of seven means your soil is neutral. Any reading above seven means that it is alkaline and a lower number means acidic. You can pick up a cheap testing kit at your local nursery or home care store. If the soil is too alkaline, just add a little peat moss and work it into the soil. If it is too acidic, add lime.
Just a side note: flowers and flowering bushes require more alkaline soil than vegetables. While your flowers may bloom when planted against your vegetable garden, they will generally produce bigger flowers and more of them if the soil in which they are planted has a pH a little above 7. Having said that, there are certain flowers (marigolds, etc.) that you may want to put in among your vegetables to help ward off pests.
When in doubt, don't hesitate to call your county agent or the manager at your local nursery. These folks have probably been active gardeners for a while and they can provide you with information specific to your area. What's more, they will be delighted to help. Vegetable gardeners love to talk shop!
Good sun and soil can make all the difference in the success of your garden. Begin at the beginning with great vegetable garden planning and reap the rewards of your labor all summer long.
A guy has celery sticking out of one ear, lettuce out of the other, and a zucchini up his nose. He goes to the doctor and asks him what's wrong. The doctor tells him, "Well, for one thing, you're not eating right." I love that joke! If you like it too, you'll love the information we have at Vegetable Garden Planning. If you like great bargains, check out Blue Topaz Gemstone. See you there!

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