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Access to water, tools, compost : You don't want to have to drag tools from the other end of your yard, and toting a watering can around isn't much fun, either. Make it easy on yourself and try to situate your vegetable garden bed in a convenient place. Get Your Soil Tested : You can send samples of your soil to your local cooperative extension service for testing.

Some garden centers and nurseries also offer soil testing services. This will let you know which nutrients are deficient in your soil and what type of soil you have, as well as provide suggestions for how to improve your soil.

Vegetable Gardening: A Beginner's Guide | NC State Extension Publications

Do a Quick D. Soil Test : By doing a few simple tests yourself, you can learn a lot about your soil. Learn about what type of soil you have, how healthy it is, how well it drains, and test its Ph. Follow the instructions you get with your soil test in regards to any nutrient deficiencies or Ph level issues. If you find that you have clay soil, there are some straightforward ways to improve it. Sandy soils benefit from the addition of plenty of organic matter , specifically, lots of compost. Read More. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience.

Plan to plant something new in the garden almost every week of the season, from the first cold-hardy greens and peas in late winter or early spring, to heat-loving transplants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant once the weather becomes warm and settled. Then start all over again, sowing frost-hardy crops from midsummer through mid-fall, depending on your climate.

Keep cleaning out beds as you harvest crops to make room for new vegetables that will take their place. You can even interplant crops that grow quickly radishes alongside other vegetables that require a long season carrots or parsnips , sowing their seeds together. This makes thinning out the bed easier later on, since you will have already harvested the quick-growing crop and given the long-season vegetables that remain some much-needed elbow room.

Another benefit of succession planting, of course, is that your harvest season lasts longer for every crop. This means that, instead of getting buried in snap beans or summer squash as your plants mature all at once, you can stagger plantings to ensure a steady, but more manageable supply of fresh vegetables.

If you use our Kitchen Garden Planner , you can print your plans, make notes and save them for future seasons. Finally, we end up where we started — with the realization that, although vegetable gardening can be rewarding even for beginners, there is an art to doing it well. There is also a mountain of good information and advice from other gardeners available to you. Yet one of the most important ways of improving your garden from year to year is to pay close attention to how plants grow, and note your successes and failures in a garden notebook or journal. Just as drawing a garden plan each year helps you remember where things were growing, taking notes can help you avoid making the same mistakes again, or ensure that your good results can be reproduced in future years.

For instance, write down all the names of different vegetable varieties, and compare them from year to year, so you will know which ones have done well in your garden. Many people keep a book in their car to record when they change their oil and perform other routine maintenance. In the same way, get in the habit of jotting it down whenever you apply organic matter or fertilizer to the garden, or the dates on which you plant or begin to harvest a crop. Over time this kind of careful observation and record-keeping will probably teach you more about growing vegetables than any single book or authority.

Easy Beginner Guide: Plant Your Organic Backyard Garden In One Weekend

As in so many other pursuits, so it is in the art of vegetable gardening: practice does make perfect. Cart 0 items in cart. Gardener's Supply. Search Catalog Search Search. A force for good.

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About Us. Fresh-Picked Gifts New! Gifts That Grow New! Garden Tools New! Garden Decor New! Home Decor New! Kitchen Gear New! More Articles Find more garden information. Share this Article:. Cool-season crops will bolt as the days lengthen and temperatures rise.

Use shade cloth to protect plants and extend the season. Warm-season crops planted in late spring will grow until the first fall frosts. In late summer, plant cool-season crops for fall. Cool-season crops established in late summer will continue to grow through moderate to freezing temperatures. Cold hardy crops such as kale, collards, and turnip greens planted in fall may live through the winter. In colder areas, use a cold frame or frost cloth to extend the season. For specific planting dates, consult your county Extension center.

You can also use N. Scheduling when to plant and when to harvest can be done in several effective ways. Writing the planting dates and projected harvest dates on a calendar is a method used by many gardeners and farmers. Another method is drawing a diagram of the garden and writing projected planting and harvesting dates on the garden diagram. Knowing when an area will be harvested helps with planning when to plant another crop in that space. Using this method of planning allows for a small space to be managed to its fullest potential.

If planting in rows, run them across the slope of the land to reduce erosion. If there is little or no slope, north to south orientation makes the best use of sunlight. Do not foster the buildup of insect and disease pests by growing the same types of plants in the same spot year after year. Instead, plan a three- to four-year crop rotation for each bed or garden area to prevent crops in the same plant family from being planted in the same space in succession Table 1. Crop rotation reduces the likelihood of nematode, insect, or disease buildup in the soil.

This method of planning works well when the garden consists of three or more raised beds or is large enough to be divided into three or more plots. Table 2 depicts a sample four-year crop rotation plan for a garden with four plots growing vegetables from four plant families.

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Having a garden plan makes it easier to decide what seeds or transplants to purchase, how many will be needed, and when they will be needed. Things to record in the garden journal would include a list and map of what was planted, planting dates, varieties, source of plants, air and soil temperatures during the growing season, soil test results, fertilizers and pesticides applied, rainfall received, and amount and dates of harvest.

Include photographs throughout the season. Containers : Purchase potting soil or make your own by combining equal parts of compost, shredded pine bark mulch, and vermiculite. Do not use garden soil in container gardens. Raised beds or in-ground gardens : Amend your soil with organic material first either homemade compost or purchased certified compost.

5 of the Best Organic Vegetable Growing tips

Then submit a soil sample to determine the pH and nutrient content of your soil. The N. Cooperative Extension center in your county can provide a soil test kit to have your soil analyzed and obtain specific recommendations for growing vegetables. Amend the soil based on the recommendations from the soil analysis. Space plants according to the label on the seed packet or plant tag. Allow space for the plant to mature , and leave space for airflow between plants to prevent disease.

Plant seeds only two to three times as deep as the greatest diameter of the seed.

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  • Cover the seed and firm the soil lightly to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. For plants in peat cups or cubes, remove the part of the peat container that is above the potting soil in the container, and be sure to cover the containers well with soil when planting them in the garden. Acclimate transplants to their new environment by providing temporary shade for tender transplants for two or three days after setting them out.

    Mulching helps conserve soil moisture, reduce weeds, and reduce erosion. Use shredded leaves, pine straw, newspaper, or other organic matter that will break down and improve the soil. Plan for continual harvest by staggering planting dates at one- to two-week intervals.

    For example, if you are going to plant four sections of lettuce, plant the first week one, the second week two, the third week three, and the fourth week four. Table 3 depicts the planting and harvest schedule for a raised bed with weekly plantings of lettuce and other cool-season vegetables. As one crop is harvested, replant that area. A greater variety of seeds are available than transplants, and seeds are less expensive.

    Some seeds can be sown directly into the garden. Plant seeds according to package directions. You can also grow your own transplants by planting seeds. Six to eight weeks before the transplanting date, sow the seeds according to packet directions into a container indoors or in a cold frame, greenhouse, or other protected growing structure. You can start a garden quickly with transplants and harvest crops sooner than with seeds. Small plants purchased from a garden center, catalog, or online provide a way to overcome seasonal limitations.

    Some plants take so long to mature that even if started from seed in the garden at the beginning of the season, they would still not be ready to harvest at the end of the season Brussels sprouts, for example.

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    Except for tomatoes, which can be planted slightly deeper, transplants should be planted in the ground at the same depth they were in the container. Disadvantages to using transplants include the increased cost compared to seeds and the limited number of varieties. Root crops such as carrots, radishes, and beets do not transplant well. Water mature plants as needed. Frequency will depend on rainfall and temperature.