Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Great Foundation is the Key to a Better Vegetable Garden

photo of my compost pile
Once in awhile I will receive an email for feedback on the book I wrote recently on home vegetable gardening. I appreciate feedback that I receive, both good and not so good (the politically correct phrase for “bad”).

I received an email from a reader not too long ago in which this person wrote to me and said, “I was a little surprised that you started your book off with composting. I was expecting to start with how to grow vegetables.”

I can understand what the person wrote. When you buy a book titled, “Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Growing Vegetables for the Rest of Us”, the name itself implies you will be talking about how to grow vegetables.

My reasoning for starting with composting was simple. Let’s say you were building a house. In order to put the first floor on, second floor, walls, the roof and so, you need a foundation. If that foundation is flawed, weak or what have you, the house will not be able to be built, or worse, will collapse under its weight.

Your vegetable garden is no different. If the soil you plant your veggies in lacks nutrients, is too acidic or too alkaline, very few plants will grow, or even worse, nothing will grow at all. This is why I started with talking about compost. Composting will help build up your soil by adding in many nutrients your plants will need to grow and thrive. It also helps with soil drainage and water retention. I will save that for a future article.

If you have a vegetable garden or are thinking about starting one, then having a compost pile (or some other compost technique) should be at the top of your list as well. You don’t need to go out and buy an expensive tumbler or bin, although they do make life a bit easier.

You can make one yourself with some leftover wood, or you can just pile everything up in a corner of your yard and just leave it there. Although for best results, turning the pile over once in awhile helps speed things along.

The easiest composting method of all, in my opinion, is trench composting. This is where you simply bury your organic material in your garden area (when plants are not in) and cover. Then let the worms, bacteria, etc., do the work for you.

As a side note. If you are looking for a good book on various composting techniques, then be sure to check out The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Composting by author Chris McLaughlin. I have read this book myself, and absolutely love it!

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure you are doing some sort of composting. Composting will ensure that your garden’s soil, the foundation, will be strong and of high quality, which in turn will allow your vegetable plants to grow and flourish.

About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the author of Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the rest of us, the moderator for the largest vegetable gardening page on Facebook and creator of the monthly Seeds Club.

Watch the video below to learn more about Mike`s Seeds of the Month Club:

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