Many beginners wrongly assume that there can’t be too much of a good thing. Water, like fertilizer, should be applied correctly to produce healthy vegetables. Deep watering with sufficient intervals will coax plants to develop deep root systems. In general, a vegetable garden planting needs one inch of water per week. Avoid overhead sprinkling, which can promote fungus and mildew. The ideal watering system is a slow-drip method, as with a drip-irrigation system. If you can’t afford an installed system, water with a hose by moving it around the garden, positioning a slow flow of water at the base of plants.
The first step in planning a low maintenance vegetable garden planting is to have home garden plans. Many gardens just evolve over a number of years. Friends give you plants you have to find a place for, and you have moments of inspiration that lead to years of maintenance. If you take the time to plan your garden layout and content as a single paper exercise, you can design-in features that mean you have less work to do and not more. To get a working diagram of the current layout, use Google Earth to get an aerial view of your garden and print it as a base to work from.
Use compost rather than chemical fertilizer. It is free and safe. All those eggshells, coffee grounds, and food scraps are exactly what your garden needs. Leaves and lawn cuttings make great compost too. Many home made solutions can replace store bought pesticides. A spray of soap and water will stop aphids in their tracks. A shallow dish of beer will drown dozens of slugs overnight. Ants avoid cayenne pepper. Marigolds are said to keep grazing deer and rabbits away. Ladybugs and praying mantis can be purchased and added to the garden to control pests. Organic liquid fertilizer can also be a good way to go to get your garden to its fullest potential. And hey, what the heck, throw in a yard gnome or two. They have been known to scare off a neighbourhood critter or two.
In addition to nutrients, many plants also have differing light requirements, especially as the season progresses. Using containers allows you to move plants from one spot to another, and in some cases can allow you to actually extend the growing season of some vegetables. Spinach, lettuce and asparagus growing are three great examples. While these plants generally prefer the cool, lower light conditions of spring and fall, by moving them into a shaded, cooler area as the season grows warmer, many cool-weather crops will continue to produce long after their ground-anchored cousins have gone to seed.
And when it is in its fullest harvest, why not throw a home garden party to share with all your friends and relatives! A Home garden party is a great way to show off your garden and encourage others to begin a vegetable home garden of their own!
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