"Feed the soil" is mantra for organic gardeners, and with reason. In chemical agriculture, crop plants "fed" directly fertilizers.
When taken to extremes, of chemical force-feeding impoverish the soil. it from entity with microorganisms insects and life forms, into inert growing medium that exists to anchor the plants' roots, provides or no nutrition in its .
Although fertilizers and mineral nutrients (agricultural lime, rock phosphate, green sand, etc.) be to the organic garden, substance for building and maintaining a healthy, well-balanced soil is organic matter.You can add organic your soil , compost, leaves, animal manures or crops.
Organic matter improves the fertility, the structure tilth of of soils. , organic matter provides of and nutrients that plants grow. It provides food for soil microbes. As organisms soil the processes of decay and decomposition, these nutrients to plants. For on this subject, Building Healthy Soil.
Make Use of
The location of your garden (the of it receives, proximity to a of water, and protection from frost and wind) . crucial for growing vegetables is of your garden .
Lots of dream , a sprawling be to grow everything , space-hungry crops, corn, dried beans, pumpkins and winter squash, melons, cucumbers and watermelons. If and, even , the time and energy to grow garden well, go for it. vegetable gardens that use of growing easier for, talking few containers on the or a 50-by-100-foot plot . Raised beds for beginners the garden manageable.
Get Your Rows
The first maximize garden is to convert from row planting to 3- or 4-foot-wide raised beds. Single rows of crops, be on farms that use machines for planting, cultivating, and , not the . home-sized garden, rows , between rows , footage have for growing crops.
SHOP RAISED BEDS
If already of food in your existing row garden, then by to raised beds or open beds be downsize the garden. By up this existing garden , plant green-manure crops on the the garden not raising vegetables and/or rotate growing areas from year to year. have for planting new crops — rhubarb, asparagus, berries, or flowers for cutting — .
Other reasons to convert from rows to intensive garden system:
Less effort. vegetables planted intensively they shade below less watering, less weeding, less mulching — in words, less for the gardener.
Less soil compaction. The access between rows or beds, the you compacting the soil by walking in them. By increasing the of the growing beds and reducing of , have growing be walking on, and this soil fluffier and for plants' roots.
Grow Up, Not Out
Next to intensive planting, trellising represents use garden. have gardens to grow as crops as on vertical supports, and gardeners have of still lend physical support to their vegetables, peas and pole beans. vegetables that trellised vining crops, cucumbers and tomatoes.
The fence your garden do double-duty as a trellis, crops on the fence years. of vegetable supports from either wood or metal. However, or materials , your trellis up and well before the plants its support — even before you plant the crop. With some vegetables, tomatoes or melons, to tie the plants gently to the support, or weave them through the trellis as they grow.
Keep Crops Moving
Crop rotation within the planting crop same place years. This policy ensures that garden vegetables nutrients year year. It foil any insect pests or pathogens be lurking soil the crop is harvested.
To use a three-year crop rotation system, of the garden on paper , showing of all crops. If, like , you grow vegetables, these garden plans , it what you were growing even last season, less years . Saving garden plans for the past or years memory alone.
A Continuous Harvest
Planting crops in succession is maximize growing garden. , though, gardeners prepare their seedbeds and plant or transplant all their crops on or days spring, the last frost date location.
While nothing wrong with planting a garden , easier to plant seeds or transplants at a time, throughout the course of , facing the herculean task of "getting garden" all at one time?
After all, becomes easier the you divide it up. plant new garden of the season, from cold-hardy greens and peas in late winter or early spring, to heat-loving transplants tomatoes, peppers and eggplant once the weather becomes and settled.
Then , sowing frost-hardy crops from through mid-fall, your climate. Keep out beds as you harvest crops vegetables take their place. even interplant crops that grow quickly (radishes) vegetables season (carrots or parsnips), sowing their seeds . This makes the bed easier , since have already harvested the quick-growing crop and given the long-season vegetables that some much-needed .
Another succession planting, of course, is that your harvest season lasts longer crop. that, buried in snap beans or summer squash as your plants mature all , stagger plantings , manageable of vegetables.
Print Your Plans
If the Planner, print your plans, notes and save them for future seasons.
Finally, started — with that, vegetable even for beginners, art to doing it well. a mountain and from gardeners to you. of your garden from year to year is to pay attention to plants grow, and note your successes and failures garden notebook or journal.
Just as drawing a garden helps you things were growing, taking notes avoid mistakes , or your results reproduced in future years. , write down all the names vegetable varieties, and compare them from year to year, have done well in your garden.
Many people keep a book in their to record their oil and perform routine maintenance. same , get habit of it down whenever you apply organic matter or to the garden, or the dates on you plant or begin a crop.
Over time of careful observation and record-keeping teach you growing vegetables than any single book or authority. That’s the notes your own personal and observations, what works best for you conditions of your own garden. As in pursuits, art of vegetable gardening: .