Growing your own plants or buying them from a garden centre is an investment of your time and money which you certainly don’t want to see wasted. By protecting your investment and taking proper steps towards keeping your plants healthy and strong you can ensure that your hard work will bring you the vegetable garden you deserve!
It’s seems like spring is finally here to stay and I have some planting tips for your garden to help keep your vegetables and herbs on track, healthy and happy!
Waking up and seeing green grass makes me very happy and very eager to want to get working outside! Just a couple more weeks and I’m going to be ready to start planting my garden. When we started this series we began with my garden growing guide sharing tips about how to start a garden and preparing the soil. Now it’s time to take it to the next level and that’s making sure you take the proper care of your vegetable garden.
Whether you are growing a garden bed or a container garden there are a few things to keep in mind when planting your garden that will contribute to the overall success of your plants. I am hoping to have my property ready for a raised vegetable garden next spring so this year it is going to be grown vertically and in containers.
Why proper spacing is important…….
You want to make sure that your plants have the sufficient space that they need to grow. Check on the back of your seed packs and it will tell you the average height and width for that plant and how far apart to plant. If buying your plants the tag in the pot or cell pack will have this information on it.
Plants that are crowded can grow to become very spindly plants that may not produce any vegetables. It would be a shame investing your time and money preparing for your garden to end up with no vegetables.
Proper spacing also allows for good air circulation and maximum sun exposure. Arranging the plants so the taller plants are on the north side of the garden will also ensure maximum sun exposure.
There are many plants that will benefit the growth of other plants. For example, there are a lot of insects that like to attack tomato plants. Planting some herbs such as basil and oregano, that have a strong scent can help to cover up the smell of the tomato plant, basically hiding the tomato plant from the dreaded pests.
Marigolds, although not a vegetable they are a flower which can help with this as well. There are many combinations of companion plants including beans and lettuce, carrots and tomatoes , and onions and carrots. Wikipedia has an extensive list of companion plants that can be a useful guide when planning your planting arrangement.
This year I will be planting my herbs using the hanging shoe organizer, I will be trying tomatoes this year in the As Seen on TV Topsy Turvy, as well as in containers. The container tomatoes will be placed adjacent to the herbs.
As I write this I’m realizing time has crept up on me, where did April go? ….so I will be planting my onions and kohlrabi seeds as companions and carrot seeds this weekend with lettuce to be added later. Using companion plants could also be referred to as a natural approach to pest management, which can save you money on pesticides (if you choose to use them).
Now that you know where everything is going to go, it’s time to plant!
Preparing to Transplant
Taking plants out of cell packs, egg cartons or whatever growing medium your plants are in, can cause some stress to the plant, known as transplant shock.
You can minimize the stress by thoroughly watering them before you remove them. I like to give a good thorough watering the day prior planting, that way the soil is good and wet but not drenched when you take them out.
Unless the plant is root-bound to the pot, in which case gently loosening up the soil around the roots is a good idea, disturbing the roots as little as possible can also minimize the shock. If sowing seeds directly into the garden, placing a tag or stake stating what you’ve planted where will help you identify what is what as the seedlings start to emerge.
Plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and pole beans require some support for the plant to grow on. This is not the case though if you choose to use the hanging method for these plants.
There are many products out there that can be purchased for this use such as trellis’ and cages . You could also very easily make something yourself that would work, such as a few wood stakes and some zip ties. Metal stakes though would last longer than wooden ones but they both work fine.
It doesn’t need to be anything fancy as long as the plants can be attached or trained to grow around it, similar to the pictures above. Again take into consideration what the maximum height of the particular variety of vegetable you are staking is.
Depending on the variety, tomatoes can require anywhere from 3 to 6 foot stakes. The main reason for staking is to keep the fruit/vegetable off of the ground which can cause them to rot, again a waste of your investment.
Weed Free Vegetable Garden
In between rows putting down materials such as mulch, straw, grass clippings or even shredded newspaper although somewhat messy will help to keep down the growth of weeds. Any weeds that make their home in your garden will compete with your vegetables for sun, nutrients and water.
Preventing the growth of weeds and regular weeding will ensure that your plants are not losing out. Regular cultivating of the soil in between the plants and rows will help with weed control as well loosens it up to allow for better flow of water and nutrients.
Making the choice to grow your own vegetables and herbs can certainly help free up some money for your budget to put towards other outdoor projects you might have. If you enjoy crisp, tasty organic vegetables learning to grow your own favourite vegetables and herbs may help save some money in your grocery budge. If you are a savvy shopper like me you will know that vegetables, especially organic can be a bit pricey at your local grocery store.
Regardless of whether you grew your own seedlings or purchased them by using these planting tips for your vegetable garden they will help keep your plants on schedule to be harvested and in your kitchen in no time. Taking the proper steps to prepare, plant and maintain your garden will ensure that you are utilizing this budget tool to its maximum potential and protecting your investment.
Post Contribution By: Katrina is regular contributor for Canadian Budget Binder and is as passionate about personal finance as she is gardening. Katrina is a horticulture graduate with over 10 years experience with landscaping and greenhouse production. Her goal is to share her knowledge and experiences blogging about gardening and her continued passion for personal finance in hopes of motivating others. While being a single mom of two and working in a sales and marketing position, Katrina runs her own Landscaping Services in Southwestern Ontario.
How did you do in April with your budget?
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