In The Garden
There are a lot of good reasons to grow your own food. Quality and cost are two motivating factors for lots of folks. You canít get it any fresher, or any less expensive than picking food right out of your own garden! There are many other benefits too, such as the pride youíll take in harvesting your own food, the opportunity to share and create community, and the sense of self-reliance and sustainability you'll feel from producing your own food.
And if all that isnít enough to get you out there digging in the dirt, itís FUN! Downright therapeutic some folks would say!
Gardening is not rocket science! All you really need is sun, soil and water. If you provide a plant with those three things, youíd be challenged to make it not grow! Plants want to growóthatís what they do.
Some plants can tolerate more shade than others, but none of your plants will thrive in shade, so in general you want your garden to be in full sun for the majority of the day during the growing season.
You donít want your garden to be wet and soggy, and you donít want your plants to show signs of stress from dryness (this would be in the form of wilting). Let Mother Nature do her part, and you fill in as needed. If you stick your finger down into the dirt, you should feel some amount of moisture, if you donít, itís likely time to water. Try not to wait until you see the signs of stress (wilting) in your plants, but if you do see any signs, water the entire garden thoroughly. Only water your plants when they need it, too much water can be as bad as not enough.
Most plants like a ďwell drained soilĒ which means it has enough sand in it that water will soak in, but not so much that all the water will leach through it and none be retained in the soil. If you suspect your soil is either too sandy or too dense, try adding a rich organic medium such as leaf compost until the mix seems right. You can always take a soil sample into your local garden center and they will advise you (and of course sell you what you need).
Use this PLANTING GUIDE to help determine when and how to plant your vegetables.
The most important part of planting is planning! Use the planting guide to help you with when and how to plant specific vegetables. Aside from that youíll need to decide if you want to plant in orderly rows or if you want to scatter your plants in groupings. The individual pages for each vegetable (links on the Veggies page) may help you determine what is best for a particular plant. Sometimes itís a matter of personal preference, or determined by your planting environment: pots/containers vs. raised beds vs. ground plots. Just remember Ė itís not rocket science Ė your plants will grow, and you will likely learn a lot and make adjustments accordingly next year.