Planning a vegetable garden
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.