Monday, December 14, 2009

Three Insider Secrets for the Home Vegetable Gardener

There is no magic formula to growing great tasting vegetables in your home vegetable garden. Just like anything else in life it takes time, patience and of course effort. Combine all three of these and you are sure to yield so great results.

However, just like a lot of other things in life there are secrets, tips and tricks in home vegetable gardening that will make your life easier, especially for those that are limited on time and or space. Here are some insider secrets that you can implement today in your home vegetable garden.

Companion Planting
This is the process of planting one vegetable in between or near another vegetable. Companion planting has a number of benefits. The most obvious is the use of space. This technique allows you to utilize the space in between bigger vegetables. Another benefit is to attract certain variety of helpful insects that will actually attack harmful ones. For example, white flies can be devastating to a tomato crop, but the trichogramma wasp will actually eat white flies. By planting something near tomato plants that attracts the trichogramma wasp you can virtually eliminate the white fly naturally without the use of chemical pesticides. There a number of great resources, such as the USDA and our own website, that give you companion planting suggestions.

Crop Rotation
This is the process of alternating the location of where you plant a vegetable from season to season. In other words if you plant tomatoes in row one this year, you might want to consider moving them to row three next season. Crop rotation serves a couple of important purposes. Each vegetable uses a certain amount of nutrients, some more than others. For example, tomatoes use a lot of nitrogen. By the end of the growing season the area where the tomatoes were planted will have smaller amounts of nitrogen. The following season you will want to plant a vegetable (herb or fruit) in that spot that will not require as much nitrogen and move the tomatoes to a spot where the soil is high in nitrogen. You get the point.

Raised Beds
Looking for better drainage in your soil and the ability to have your soil warm up faster in the spring? Then raised beds are the way to grow, er um, go. There are a number of methods for raised beds. They range from simply building up the height of your rows, to actually boxes and filling them with dirt. Whichever method you go with is fine, just make sure you do not use any type of pressure treated lumber if you decide to go the box route.

Many home vegetable gardeners simply plant their seeds and go. This is fine, but don’t you want more vegetables for all of that hard work you put into it? Me too. That is why I combine, companion planting, with crop rotation and raised beds. Give it a try with your home vegetable garden. You will wonder why you didn’t try these methods sooner.

About the Author
Mike is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC where you can sign up for their Seeds of the Month Club and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

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