The internet is a valuable resource when it comes to gardening. One could spend all day looking at the latest varieties, tips and more. The best way to succeed in vegetable gardening? Just do it. Learn from it. Your going to make mistakes but they will teach you something! Practice and trial and error is the best way to find out what plants, and what methods of gardening, work for you.
Today I would like to share with you three tips on vegetable gardening. These are things that I may have read over the years…but until I actually got into the practice of growing learned the value of. They may seem simple, but have led me to gardening success.
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1 – Thin Seedlings:
It is important to thin your seedlings. Almost every packet of seed you pick up says “thin to….” and I have wondered…how important is that? It is. Many seeds are very small and sowing one every two inches is impossible. You just can’t see them! For seeds such as those, plant them in rows and wait for germination. Once they come up thin them to what is suggested on the seed packet. Pull some out…yikes! I know…but you can transplant the thinned out ones if you want.
Why thin them? From what I have found the two main reasons is competition and seedling health. If there are too many seedling too close together your plants will be competing for everything – light, water, nutrients, etc. They will do better with less competition. As far as health goes, with larger spaces between the plants you get better air circulation. This decreases insect and disease issues. You can see issues better and can treat accordingly.
If you plant seedlings bought at a nursery and not from seeds, pay attention to the suggested spacing. This is true whether you plant in the ground or in a container. Give them room to grow.
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2 – Stagger Your Plantings:
If you are looking to lengthen your harvest time sow seeds, or plant seedlings, in a few rounds that are a few weeks apart. This will prolong your harvest. Especially with things that seem to be ready all at once like Lettuce, Spinach and Carrots. Even later fruiters like Zucchini that produce a huge surplus all at one time. If you stagger your planting times, you will stagger your harvest.
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3 – Water The Right Way:
Watering is important, especially in times of drought. Most vegetable plants need at least 1” of water per week. This can take time and be costly. Be sure to water efficiently. Water in the evenings once the sun has gone down. Less of the water will evaporate and the plants can take up more of it.
Be specific with the water. Watering by hand will ensure the plants get the water they need, not the surrounding areas. This is the problem with sprinklers, a lot of water is wasted in areas that do not need it. Don’t feel like watering by hand? Don’t have time? Invest in a soaker hose. It will deliver the water directly to the plants and can even be set up with a timer. This way it turns on in the evening and off a few hours later.