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First Steps For Your Vegetable Garden

All great works begin with great plans. While environmentally sensitive gardening is not always easy, it can be very rewarding.

When getting started, carefully planning your garden now, can save a lot of trouble in the future. Garden planning can also be enjoyable. Start by considering the location of the garden. Is your garden located in the best place? Consider the following points.

  • • Sunlight – It seems obvious that all vegetable plants need light, don't choose your location according to appearance, choose it according to what your plants will need. The best and most efficient source of light is the sun. The sun also warms the air and the soil. Choose a site that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. More sunlight is even better. Prune or take out trees that hinder the sunlight from hitting the garden.
  • • Soil type – Is the soil good for gardening? You can improve the soil by adding all-natural matter, lime and nutrients. Select a garden site with soil that is well-drained and rich in all-natural matter.
  • • Water – Water is a must for plants. It is especially important at transplanting time or when a plant is making fruit. Locate your garden near a water source.
  • • Convenience – Plant your garden at a site that is convenient to you. A garden that takes time to get to usually doesn't succeed. The need for weeding, watering, pest control and harvest means frequent visits to the garden.
  • • Garden size – How large of a garden do you want? Consider the site, your family size and your appetite for gardening when you plan your garden.
  • • Variety selection – Select varieties that are known to grow well in your area. Choose those that fit the growing season; check the days to maturity on the seed packet. Consider the varieties' resistance to common plant diseases listed on the seed packet.

Plan your garden on paper before you plant one seed or transplant. Your garden plan will save time and increase your chances of success. Here is how you might create a garden plan:

· Make a list of all the vegetables you plan to grow. List them by family. Knowing the vegetable families will help in planning rotations.

· Sketch your garden site to scale if possible.

· Divide your garden into sections by plant family. Label the sections by family and by specific crop.

· Calculate the days to maturity for each crop. Count off the days on your calendar from planting to harvest. Sometimes working backwards from harvest date makes planning easier.

· Mark the estimated planting and harvest dates on your garden plan. You want to set up planting so that the crops are ready when you are.

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