Have you ever tried to grow your own vegetables in a backyard garden? With the growing trend to become self-sustaining and lead a “greener” lifestyle, many people have found ways to provide their own vegetables, fruit and eggs, right from their own backyard efforts. Living off the land is not as difficult as you think, it just takes a little bit of knowledge, some space and a couple of seed packets to get started.
When boiling or steaming vegetables, keep the water that the vegetables were cooked in and let it cool. Use the water to water the garden with. It is packed with all the vitamins and minerals that were in the vegetables when they were cooked and will help the plants grow as a natural plant food.
Be realistic about the types of plants you can grow in your garden. If a particular plant has failed you in the past, don’t try it again. You need to right kind of climate, soil, and sun/shade ratio for certain plants. If you don’t have it, no amount of effort will make those plants a success. Choosing realistically will increase your yield while decreasing your effort.
A great way to maximize garden potential is to plant perennials. Some edible vegetables will come back year after year with minimal maintenance like weeding, mulching, and fertilizing. Asparagus, bunching onions, and horseradish all will come back every year. Depending upon climate, there are many options for growing perennial vegetables for a maximum yield.
Don’t grow food no one will eat. Just because you can grow something, doesn’t mean you should. If your kids don’t like spinach now, fresh spinach from the garden isn’t going to change that and much will go to waste. Consider what you and your family like to eat and then determine your garden accordingly.
If space is an issue, try vertical gardening. Even with the limited space of condos and townhouses, many people have thriving gardens in the small area they have using vertical gardening. By using trellised gardens one can grow pole beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a small place during the summer, and in the fall a wide variety of greens can be grown in the same space.
When growing potatoes, make sure you choose a variety with a starch content that corresponds with the way you’ll be cooking them. The more starch there is in a potato, the drier and flakier it will be when cooked. Potatoes that are good for mashing have approximately 7% starch. These potatoes cook quickly and retain a high moisture content, so they’re easy to mash. Baking potatoes have a starch content between 15% and 18%, and frying potatoes have the highest level at 22%.
Clean your garden tools before you put them away. It seems strange to worry about keeping a gardening tool clean, but it’s actually very important for the health of your plants. Tools that are put away while coated in dirt can harbor microbes and even insects that can be deadly to your plants.
If you spend a lot of time taking care of your garden, get yourself a gardening wheelbarrow. You can put all the gardening supplies that you need on the wheelbarrow and easily push it around to various parts of your garden. This will save you time from looking for various supplies every time you need to tend to your garden.
Don’t plant your seedlings or young plants too deeply. The top of a root ball of a large shrub or tree seedling should be just above the soil level, and then covered up with mulch to protect it. This allows the roots to breathe and keeps the tree or shrub healthy.
Invest in a kneeling stool, and a wheelbarrow to work in the garden. In order to relieve stress on your knees when gardening, always use a small garden stool to be more comfortable. There is also a lot of heavy lifting involved with gardening, so a good wheelbarrow is a great tool to have around.
Wash off your garden harvest before taking it inside your home. Use a laundry basket or some other plastic basket with holes. You can spray down your fruits and vegetables easily with water inside the basket, and the water and dirt will run out. You could also save the water that runs out to water your plants with.
Water efficiently to promote plant growth and cut down on the water bill. Watering at night or early in the morning is the most efficient time to water. The heat and the sun makes the water evaporate before it soaks it in. Watering closer to the ground will also minimize evaporation permitting your plants to receive the maximum amount of water.
Make bloom-times overlap. Plant both early and late blooming plants next to each other, so that you have flowers all season long. Shallow-rooted annuals can be planted around deep-planted spring bulbs – when the bulbs die down, the annuals will just be coming into flower. For each season, choose one outstanding plant to serve as the key flower. Plant in drifts throughout the bed, and fill in with secondary flowers.
Just think of the beautiful harvest you can add to your dining table from your garden. Not to mention the environmentally friendly impact of growing your own food. Maintaining a personal vegetable garden can provide food at low cost to your family — and wait until you savor the amazing taste of vegetables, picked straight from the plant. Store-bought produce never tasted this good!