We all dream about the things we would like to have, including healthy and beautiful gardens. Growing a bountiful organic vegetable garden that nourishes a healthy lifestyle, or a gorgeous flower garden that nourishes the soul, are goals almost anyone can reach with some basic education of what is required.
- Know your local environment: To succeed in vegetable gardening you must understand your local surroundings. Know where the sun rises and sets in relation to your planting beds. Note when seeds germinate and when insects (and which ones) begin to appear in your garden.
- Sun & Shade – a defining factor: Plants that produce fruits require plenty of sun. Allow at least six hours a day for tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, beans, corn, eggplant, summer squash and cabbage. In general, the bigger the fruit, the more sunlight it must have. On the other hand, many vegetables and herbs will do well in shaded areas, needing only about 4 hours of sun per day. Try growing carrots, beets, chard, cauliflower, chives, lettuce, arugula, basil, mint or spinach in these shady areas. For leafy green vegetables, less sunlight is just fine.
- Drainage: Sandy soils drain too quickly and clay soils drain too slowly. Adding organic materials help to correct and balance both types of soil.
- Watering: Most plants are 90 percent water, 60 percent of which is delivered from the soil to the plant through its root hairs. To keep the plants healthy and thriving you must have good soil with plenty of organic matter to act like a sponge and allow the almost microscopic roots to travel through porous, well-drained soil.
- Make a plan: Before a contractor builds a home, the architect must provide a plan, a blueprint that clearly shows how the house looks and functions. The same is true when creating and designing a garden of any size. You must know how to put it all together.
Some questions to consider are:
– Will you start from seeds or from transplants?
– In-ground, raised beds or pots?
– Sprinkler system or hand irrigation?
– Fruits, vegetables or both?
– What plants will you grow in summer, winter and fall?
– What is the best soil mix for you?
– When will the transplants go in the ground?
– When should you start them?
For additional information about organic gardening methods, stop by the nursery or call 516-334-0066.