Plan­ning a veg­etable gar­den

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page - Jef­fRugg

Veg­etable gar­den­ing can be a re­lax­ing hobby for the whole fam­ily, and you’ll be re­warded with whole­some, tasty low­cost food.

Proper plan­ning uti­lizes all good gar­den­ing prac­tices: site se­lec­tion, plant se­lec­tion, soil man­age­ment, cul­tural prac­tices, san­i­ta­tion tech­niques and bi­o­log­i­cal, me­chan­i­cal and chem­i­cal con­trol of pests.

A suc­cess­ful gar­dener will do some work in each sea­son. The site should re­ceive at least six hours of di­rect sun­light ev­ery day, but not be in the hottest place in the yard. It should be away from trees and shrubs that com­pete for mois­ture and close to the house for easy ac­cess. It should be near a wa­ter source and must be in an area with good drainage.

Choose crops based on five fac­tors:

First, what veg­eta­bles does your fam­ily en­joy eat­ing? There is no point in grow­ing veg­eta­bles they don’t like.

Se­cond, eval­u­ate the cost-ef­fec­tive­ness of your veg­eta­bles. Most veg­eta­bles are in­ex­pen­sive dur­ing the sum­mer, so gar­dens that only pro­duce sum­mer veg­eta­bles might not save you money.

Third, con­sider which veg­eta­bles and herbs taste no­tice­ably bet­ter when picked fresh from the gar- den. Fresh-picked as­para­gus, green beans, sweet corn, herbs, let­tuce, mel­ons, onions, peas, spinach, squash and toma­toes are all dis­tinctly de­li­cious.

Fourth, how much space is avail­able? Some crops have large roots and re­quire lots of sub­ter­ranean space to grow.

Fifth, se­lect va­ri­etals that are in­sect- and dis­ease-re­sis­tant. Re­sis­tant plants are eas­ier to grow, yield less rot­ten fruit and re­quire fewer pes­ti­cides.

The best way to pur­chase a crop may be to buy it in seed form. Most plant stores carry a lim­ited se­lec­tion of pot­ted veg­eta­bles and flow­ers, but they of­ten carry a wide va­ri­ety of veg­etable seeds. Seed cat­a­logs of­fer hun­dreds of va­ri­etals, in­clud­ing rare heir­loom va­ri­etals.

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