Everywhere you look, people seem to be talking about GMOs and food additives. Companies are creating more natural and organic products as a result, trying to appease healthy individuals. But those specialty products also come with an elevated price – nothing is free in this world.
But if natural or organic is important to you, then a vegetable garden is a great idea. How could you get more organic than your own backyard?
Here are some do’s and don’ts for vegetable gardening:
- DO: Plant early in the season
It’s probably best to plant right after the last frost of the season – after this point, it won’t get cold enough for your plants to be damaged. You should put in a little fertilizer when you first put roots or seeds in, allowing it to mix thoroughly with the surrounding dirt. Give the plant a healthy watering when you first plant, then give it a little time before watering again. Watering less often forces the plant to use nutrients more effectively.
- DON’T: Get impatient with the plants
When it’s really hot here in the Central Valley, plants can grow faster than usual, and it’s generally a fertile place. However, don’t expect immediate results. Your first harvest will probably be weak, since your plants are small and young. Your tomatoes might be tiny or even diseased, but don’t fret; there will be more harvests.
- DO: Consider an elevated planter
This is a great way to keep your garden separate from the rest of the lawn, while also giving it a distinct look. Beyond that, it will also help keep your vegetables safe from pests – most insects from the lawn won’t be able to reach the planter above. And if you end up having issues with larger pests (like birds or raccoons), it will be easier to put some chicken wire or other barrier around the garden (since it’s separated).
- DON’T: Forget to prune
Pruning is a huge part of gardening, because a plant should only grow to a certain size. If a plant gets too large, it will have too many branches/vines to support, which means weaker flowers and smaller vegetables. To prevent this, prune your plants as ruthlessly as possible. If a branch doesn’t appear to be sprouting anything, prune it off: this is a “sucker” and will take nutrients away from branches with actual vegetables on them.