As more and more people become conscious not only of what they are eating, but also where it comes from, gardening is becoming more popular. Planting your own vegetable garden has many benefits. Produce can be canned or frozen for the winter months, which helps to keep your grocery bills down and also ensures that your family has fruits and vegetables to eat during the winter. You can also plant fruits and vegetables that may not be plentiful in your area, which opens up your palate to different kinds of foods. And there is a certain satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’ve worked hard to provide for your family. SUN Vegetable plants need direct sunlight in order to thrive. For plants to do well, you need to choose a spot for your garden that ensures at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight. Take into account things that could potentially block the sun (buildings, trees, etc.) and try to avoid them as much as possible. Be creative–the best spot for your garden may not be in the back yard. WATER Plants, like people, need water to survive. Your garden will need watered every day, either by you or through natural elements. If it has been raining steadily, you won’t need to water your garden that day, however one or two days without a drink will see your plants starting to droop–especially when it is very hot outside. Try to water in the morning and evening, as watering during the middle of the day, when the sun is directly overhead a temperatures are high, can result in burning the leaves on your plants and potentially killing them. Be careful to give your plants the right amount of water. Too little means that they will not be able to thrive and too much can actually drown them. Your county extension office can give you an idea of how much water your plants will need based on the weather conditions where you live. SOIL The richer the soil, the better your plants will grow when you start a container vegetable garden. There are different types of soil, and different plants grow better in each one. Your soil will most likely be sandy, clay-based or rich, dark and fertile. Once you have established what kind of soil you have, take some time to research what fruits and vegetables will grow best there. Factors to consider with soil types.
- Clay. Soil that has a high amount of clay in it can make it difficult for plants to spread their roots, and depending on how thick it is, water may have a hard time penetrating the soil.
- Sandy. When soil is too sandy, water can pass through easily and may drain so quickly that plants do not have a chance to get to the water before it’s gone. Sandy soil can also be loose and unstable, making it difficult for plants to develop a strong root system.
Article first published on Yard Day