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Planting a Vegetable Garden:
Pick a sunny location with good soil. Don’t place your garden in a low spot if possible. At night cold air settles in low areas so they will be colder than high spots. The ground shouldn’t be too hard (clay) or too sandy. Can you imagine growing tomatoes on a beach or beans growing alongside of a road?
Find out what your USDA Zone is. This will tell you when it is safe to plant your plants outside so they don’t freeze. If you hear on the news of a “Frost Advisory” and you have already planted tender crops like tomatoes and beans you will need to cover your plants with things like buckets or sheets. Don’t use a thin sheet of plastic; this will not protect your plants enough.
Make sure you can reach your spot with a hose and sprinkler. If you can, watering your garden in the morning is the best time. Just before dark will encourage fungus but if this is the only time you can water it is better than letting your plants die from thirst.
Be sure to use a sunscreen when working out in your garden. If it is going to be a very hot day, try to work in your garden either early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it isn't so hot. This is what they do in very hot countries, taking a siesta in the middle of the day to rest. Take water out to the garden with you for when you get thristy.
If your spot is covered with grass or weeds the easiest way to start a garden is:
Water the spot well.
Lay down several layers of newspaper, no glossy colored papers.
Put at least 1 inch of soil on top of the papers. (You will need an adult to help you with this part)
Plant right in this stuff, digging straight through to the ground. Put your plants in holes that are in the ground. If planting seeds, like beans, make sure you have enough soil on top of the paper.
You shouldn’t have too many weeds your first year because the newspaper is stopping them from growing.
In the fall, after your plants have died, ask an adult to roto-till your garden site.
Mulching your garden will help you in many ways. It will fight off weeds. (Kind of like a super hero!) It will help keep the moisture in your ground. (Yea! Super hero again!) It will feed your garden some vitamins for next year. And last but not least, it will help keep your shoes clean! (Mom will think you’re a hero!)
You are probably asking, Mulching?!? What is mulching? Glad you asked. It is laying down something on top of the soil that isn’t normally there. You can mulch with grass clippings from the grass being mowed, (this is one of my favorites), newspapers with leaves, grass clippings or straw on top. You can even use old carpeting turned upside down in the rows between your plants. (In flowerbeds you can use wood chips)
Pick some good things to eat like tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, broccoli, and corn. You can grow from baby plants you buy or from seeds. On the back of the packets of seeds are directions you need to follow.
Draw a sketch of your vegetable plot so you will remember what you planted where. You can use plant sticks (popsicle sticks work) but sometimes they get lost as your plants get bigger.
Make sure you water your garden enough. You won’t have to water as often if you mulch. (see ‘Watering Tips’)
Keep the weeds pulled, this is easy after a rain or after you have watered. If you have mulched your garden you won’t have very many weeds See! I told you mulching is GREAT!!
Go out to your garden almost every day. You will notice if something is wrong (like something is eating your plants or veggies) and you will know when things need picking. You don’t want your veggies all mushy or rotten, do you? If you have a critter problem talk to an adult or send me a message and I will try to help. (I mean I will tell you what to do, I won’t come to your house to chase those critters away!)
Take a bucket out with you when things need to be picked, the handles make it easier to carry back to the house when it is heavy with all those wonderful veggies! Don’t let things like cucumbers or zucchini get too big, they are better when little.
If rabbits are a problem you will need some kind of fencing. There is a special kind of fencing called “rabbit fence” that works great. An adult can help set up a large area or make individual circle fences that can be moved around as you need them.
If you want to learn more about gardening go to “Garden Tips” on the main web site.
Easy to Grow Veggies:
Bush Beans Tomatoes Lettuce Zucchini
Radishes Broccoli Beets Onions (plant from onion ‘sets’)
Cucumbers Corn Gourds Pumpkins (need a lot of room)
Don’t have any ground to plant vegetables in but still would like to grow some? Some kinds can be grown in big pots. If you want to know more let us know and we can tell you how and what to grow.
Check out Watering Tips
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