How To Care For Your Vegetable Garden
We are a little over two weeks into our veggie garden and are already starting to see lots of new veggies emerging from the plants! If you are curious on how you can get started on your own garden, make sure to check out our post on how to start your own back porch veggie garden! We added tomato plants, different types of pepper plants and some green onions to this particular garden you see featured in the post. So far we have several tomatoes (not get ripe) and tons of peppers growing and green onions growing. So how have we been so successful with our veggie garden and how can we continue to enjoy this beautiful crop full of our homegrown veggies? Here are some useful tips on how to care for your veggie garden!
Planting all your veggies in the garden and watering them isn’t enough to keep your veggie garden sustainable. There are not enough nutrients in your garden soil to grow strong, productive plants for the entire growing season, so you are going to need fertilizer. Fertilizers, whether organic or synthetic, will supply nutrients to plants when they need them. You will want to fertilize as necessary based on your soil and plants will tell you if nutrients are lacking by stunted growth, pale leaves, and low yields. Both chemical and organic fertilizers can be over-applied and burn plants or stimulate leaf growth at the expense of fruit (tomato, squash, pepper, etc.), so make sure you are following the directions on the package very carefully. You will want to apply ½ of the fertilizer recommended at planting time and the rest later in the growing season.
Did you know that vegetable plants are 75% to 95% water? That is why the eating quality, plant growth, and productivity are all improved when sufficient soil moisture is available! Water is most needed during the first few weeks of plant development, immediately after transplanting, and during development of edible plant parts. You can find watering hoses by Gilmour, but make sure to avoid shallow, frequent watering (except for fast growing salad greens). This encourages shallow rooting which makes plants more susceptible to drought damage. When you are hand-watering, you will need to wet the soil around the plant base. Overhead watering may result in plant diseases but can also help cool plants and provide moisture for beneficial insects and spiders during hot, dry weather. Soaker hoses and drip systems are highly recommended because they minimize water use and deliver water to your plants slowly and directly to the root system. The best times to water your plants is in the morning. Disease problems are more likely to get started overnight on cool, wet leaf surfaces. Adding organic matter increases a soil’s water-holding capacity and mulches will help conserve soil moisture.
Why are those pesty weeds so bad fr your garden? Becuase they compete with all of your garden plants for water and nutrients! Plus they may harbor insect and disease pests that will destroy your veggie plants. Controlling the weed growth is a key to success in the vegetable garden. Make sure that you start early and as soon as weeds appear. Whenever there is bare soil is exposed, weeds are likely to germinate and fill that space, so make sure to spread organic mulches around your plants to prevent weed growth. You will also want to moderate soil temperature, conserve soil moisture, and add organic matter to the soil when they rot (examples of organic matter: 2-4 inches of grass clippings, finished compost, newspaper covered with straw or shredded leaves.)
I hope this article was useful to you and you are having a successful cropping season that is yielding many amazing veggies for you and your family!