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KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - BEGINNER VEGETABLE GARDEN

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran there needs to be some planning done before you get started. If this is your first garden, location means a lot. Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of full sun. I know this can be difficult especially in cities where yards are sometimes small. Do your best. It’s also beneficial that the garden plot is within sight of the house, especially the kitchen. It keeps you aware because in the hot summer months the garden needs attention every day.

Soil needs to be good for optimal plant growth. You can test your soil to find out the ph. level. Neutral is best 6.0-6.8. this means it’s neither too acidic or too alkaline. Compost is a good way to augment the soil. Making your own is rather involved so I just use readymade. I usually get mushroom compost and use one bag per 50 square feet of garden. Spread it out and lightly till in. Even better are raised beds. You can make these using landscape timbers. Form timbers into a square or rectangle depending on your space limitations. Fill with garden soil and you are ready to go. Even easier and more functional are cinder blocks. Make a square with 10 cinder blocks. Fill with soil and the cinder block holes too. Plant herbs in the holes.

Decide what vegetables you want to plant. Start out with a few easy growers. Tomatoes and peppers are relatively easy. Beans and cucumbers are climbers and will go up a fence or trellis. Realize the space needed for each plant. Tomatoes need about a square yard to grow well. Peppers two square feet. If you choose squashes like zucchini be careful. They can grow like crazy and you can end up with dozens of squashes. Lettuces and spinach do better early and late in the year when it’s not too hot. Harvest often for best results.

Make sure the garden drains well. This will be solved with raised beds but if you can’t do them watch when you water, where does the water pool? Make gutters in the soil to drain the water away. I also mound up the soil around the plants so the water tends to soak better into the soil.

So start small and make sure your garden has the things it needs to thrive. Sun, good soil, and water but not too much!

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO
Posted: Tuesday, March 01, 2016 3:16 PM by Dean's Team

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