Edible Gardening

Join this growing trend of eating locally – right from your very own garden.  There is nothing better than biting into a sun-kissed tomato, still warm from the vine or the crunch of beans that just might not make it to the table.  We all know the benefits of eating healthy and by growing your own vegetables you know all about your food since you grew it yourself.

Once the foundation of your garden is in place (good soil preparation), and your garden is planted, it takes just minutes a day to check the moisture level, pull a few weeds and to keep a watchful eye for bugs.

Location, Location, Location:

  • in order to get the most out of your garden, the veggies need about 6 hours of direct sunlight
  • the ground should be level, however a slight grade would help with drainage
  • start by mapping out the size of garden you want
  • it’s tempting to start large, but keep your maintenance to a minimum by starting small and slowly expand each year (keep in mind that melons, squash, pumpkins etc. do spread and need more space)

Soil Preparation:

  • remove all grass, roots and rocks
  • aerate and amend with triple blend soil that contains soil, compost and peat moss
  • add organic material (composted manure, worm castings)
  • give your plants the best start with lots of nutrients!

Organization:

  • place large plants (read the tags – such as corn, peas, pole beans and tomatoes) at the north end of the garden so they don’t shade the smaller plants
  • don’t forget about pathways – you will need access throughout the garden for planting, weeding, watering and harvesting
  • by keeping the plants well spaced, it allows better access and better air circulation that will cut down on fungus and rot
  • TIP:  if lettuce is planted near tomatoes, the eventual shade may help the lettuce stay fresher longer and out of the heat as lettuce prefers the cooler spring weather

Maintenance:

  • watering in the morning is best when it is cooler and without the strong winds so the amount of water lost to evaporation is reduced
  • water the roots not the foliage
  • deep watering is the best practice as it encourages better root formation and plant stability
  • check the soil regularly, do not let the plants show symptoms of drought
  • weeds are inevitable but it’s best to keep on top of them as they rob moisture, sunlight and nutrients from your edibles
  • when the garden is first planted, the soil will be rich with compost added in the spring, but as the garden matures, more nutrients will need to be added (water soluble or granular fertilizers) This is just the beginning of garden season. Next time we will discuss how companion planting can enhance your vegetables and other tips for plant selection.