The weather is so fine, time to get out into the garden, grow some food, have some fun and R&R! Change your life and establish a beautiful vegetable garden where you will find yourself spending more and more time…
PLAN: Don’t under-estimate the need for this vital step. A few reasons for this –
Firstly, you need to know for the next season, what you have planted where, so that you can do your crop rotation to keep your food supply to your plants and soil, optimal.
Secondly, make enough space for the vegetables that you know you are going to eat the most of e.g. if you don’t eat Zucchini much and loooove Tomatoes, make the largest growing space available for your tomatoes.
Thirdly, bear in mind the space needed for each vegetable variety to grow. If you plant too closely together, your vegetables will develop diseases like powdery mildew, and others diseases, if there is insufficient air circulation around the plant. Big plants need big space, e.g. Artichokes.
Fourth reason is making sure that your plants with like requirements of watering (especially now with severe water restrictions) are planted together, as well as the same soil requirements, e.g. Carrots need a less nutrient rich soil than leafy vegetables.
The fifth requirement is your requirements for sunlight and shade, possibly wind breaks if necessary, looking out for the shadows created by your neighbours walls and trees, and your own shade caused by buildings or trees.
Keep a record of your plan for your next seasons planting…
DELINEATE YOUR BEDS: Do not make your beds wider than 1.2m as you need to reach your plants and harvest without stepping onto the soil.
The reason for this, is that each time you step onto the soil you compact it, squashing the oxygen out of it, killing microscopic life forms and earth worms which are so important.
You can make the beds as long as you need. If your planned space for the bed is wider than 1.2m simply lay some kind of stepping stone, planks, tin cans, or anything else that your imagination can repurpose, so that you can walk on the bed comfortably without stepping on the soil.
RAISED BEDS ARE PREFERABLE: You can control the health of your soil better.
Most soil is devoid of nutrients and top soil throughout the world is rapidly dwindling that it is imperative to grow not only plants, but top soil, so that we will have healthy soil to grow in, in the future. Raising the beds does not have to be laborious or costly. You can simply slant the sides of the soil above the ground, use corrugated iron, recycled wood, boxes, tyres, upturned glass bottles, etc.
Compost is king (Linda of Sought After Seedlings favourite saying at her Organic Gardening Courses), so put lots of organic compost into your raised beds. Promise yourself to make your own compost. So easy and such a huge money saver.
Plant your Franchi Sementi, best quality seeds, or seedlings into your beds, making sure that you water the planting hole before you place the seed or seedling into it. Keeping in mind the water restrictions for your area, water your vegetable garden during the allowed hours. In the current hot weather, you would need to keep your new plants moist, but not drowned at all times.
Drip irrigation is the best way to keep your water going only where it should. You can plant in indentations in the ground so that you water only around the plant, and do not water in the middle of the day, onto the leaves, where the sun will burn your plants.
Visit your garden, talk to your plants (at the risk of some strange looks from some people), relax, enjoy, and eat the healthy tasty ‘fruits’ of your labour.