In recent years, there has been a resurgence in vegetable gardening. Consumers have become concerned about where there food comes from and what better place than your very own garden!
In our grandparentís day, a vegetable garden was a large open area where they produced most of the food that they ate. The garden consumed a large tract of land and was labor intensive.
Todayís gardens are different, from raised beds to vertical gardens, from containers to Smart pots. In general they take up less space and need to be less time consuming for our busy schedules.
Raised Bed Gardens have many advantages over in ground gardens. There is no need to turn over the soil and they can be placed in any sunny spot in your yard. Generally raised bed gardens are 4 feet wide and the length is in 4 feet increments. The idea is to do all of the work from the outside of the garden, leaving all of the space inside available for planting. There is no need for walkways within the garden, therefore increasing the extent of what can be planted.
A combination raised bed with vertical gardening
is often combined with raised bed gardening, but can also be done on its own where you have a narrow spot, maybe along the side of a house or along the garage. As always, a sunny area is important. Vertical gardening is done on trellises, poles, string, or other upright apparatuses. Any vegetable that climbs can be used, such as peas, pole beans and many of the vine crops (cucumbers, squash, etc.) If used in conjunction with a raised bed, it is important that the vertical garden is located on the north edge of the garden so it does not shade the rest of the plants.
is as endless as the different type of containers that are available, but always keep in mind that good drainage is a must. Most common are plastic, ceramic or clay pots varying in size from small to large. Smaller pots can be used for smaller plants such as lettuce, radishes and herbs. Larger pots are needed for peppers, tomatoes, squashes, and even potatoes. Lettuce planted in a bowl shaped container works great on the patio table and can be harvested continuously throughout the season. Tumbling Tom tomatoes are designed to be planted in a hanging basket and will cascade down and will produce throughout the summer. Peas and strawberries can be planted in hanging pouches and be hung on a fence or elsewhere in the yard. We even have black plastic grow bags that are gusseted like a grocery bag that can be set anywhere in a sunny location and come in a couple of different sizes.
Smart Pots are a specific type of container made from a landscape type fabric that allows you to garden anywhere. The soft-sided fabric container holds its shape, gives great aeration to the root system, and controls moisture levels for your plants allowing for healthier plants and more production. We carry 4 different sizes and if you would like more detailed information, please visit www.smartpots.com.
Basic Gardening Hints
In general, plants need three important things to grow and produce:
· Good Soil, which is rich in organic matter and the addition of fertilizer may be needed throughout the season.
· Good light, which for most vegetables means a sunny location. The energy from the sun is what gives the plants the energy to produce fruit. In an area with inadequate sun, the plants will grow but no fruit will develop.
· Adequate water which varies depending on if your plants are in containers or in the soil. Containers dry out more quickly and will need more water. And with all plantings, more water is needed in the first few weeks to get the plants established. Once they are established, less frequent but more thorough watering is needed.
When planting in containers, less is more. It is better to plant one tomato in a five gallon pail, than to plant two or three. One plant will thrive and produce more because it is not competing with the other plants for the nutrients and water in the soil.
Placing the garden (if possible) and containers closer to the house and especially the kitchen, the more likely you will use the wonderful vegetables that you produce.