Time-Tested Tricks for Vegetable Gardening

March 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Gardening

A scanned red tomato, along with leaves and fl...

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With today’s modern, chemically-induced food production, it seems an intelligent choice to refer to past lessons -learned for advice when it comes time to grow your own vegetables. Here are some time-tested tricks that will help make your garden a productive, safe source of food for your family:

1. Use compost or chicken manure to fertilize your garden. Horse manure will grow more weeds than plants. Horses do not digest seeds.

2. If you live in states with a short growing season and a late spring, start your vegetables by seed indoors in the early spring, then transplant when the danger of frost has passed. This allows you to enjoy vegetables with longer growing seasons.

3. Plant marigolds between tomato plants. True marigolds, not the hybrid brands, have a smell that turns tomato worms away.

4. Plant different varieties of tomatoes. Romas have less seeds and are good for canning sauces, cherry tomatoes are good for salads and snacks, beefsteak tomatoes are great for summer sandwiches.

5. Plant root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, radishes, onions and leaf lettuce in heavy groups, then thin out the plants as they grow larger. Make sure your root vegetables are planted in loose soil with good drainage. Soil composed of hard clay will only rot the seedlings and prevent adequate growth of the roots.

6. If you decide to plant seed potatoes, cut up potatoes that have been grown in a garden. Make sure each piece you plant has an eye from the original potato as that is where the root plant will grow. Store- bought potatoes have been treated with growth inhibitor and will not grow as successfully.

7. To help keep animals out of your new garden, and prevent them from eating the plants before you have a chance to harvest them, put pieces of hose out between the plantings. Rabbits and other small rodents think the hose pieces are snakes and will hesitate to enter the area. Shavings of bar soap and cuttings of human hair sprinkled lightly around the outside of the garden will deter deer.

8. Certain weeds and wild plants which grow in your particular part of the country are not only invasive by producing millions of seeds and more weeds, but some of those plants’ excretions can poison the soil. Weed your garden regularly and keep those plants out of the dirt around your growing vegetables.

9. After you’ve had a year to experience your new garden and you decide you want to do it all again the following year, remember where you planted each kind of vegetable and make sure you don’t repeat the same planting pattern. Different nutrients are taken from the soil for different types of plants. If it’s there, insects like squash beetles will come back to the same food source year after year.

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