In my last post I talked about a class I taught on vegetable gardening. If you missed that post scroll down and check it out before you read this one. This post is the second part of my Vegetable Gardeing 101.
Now on to where I left off.....
4. What to Plant:
So you might be wondering "should I start my own seeds or buy plants from a garden center?" I start my own seed. I love being able to plant the seeds and watch them grow. However, seeds can sometimes be finiky and that can be frustrating. I recomend that if you have never had a garden before and this is your first time or if you don't have the time to start seeds, buy plants. They are just fine. They should grow great!
When starting seeds I use this:
You can get them at a home center for around $5. Follow the instructions on the box and you shouldn't have any trouble.
The most common and easy plants to grow are: Tomatoes, Lettuce, Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Green beans. All of these plants are pretty prolific growers and I recommend them for a beginner. There are many different varieties of these plants and that could get confusing. When you go to buy plants just read the labels and they will give a description of that plant. For instance, Roma Tomatoes - are good for sauces, Big Boy Tomatoes are good for slicing, Yellow Tomatoes are low acidic. The labels tell you a lot of info as well as the seed packets. The seed packets will also give you planting info.
There are a few things you will buy in seed, Lettuce- comes in seed and you want to directly sow it into the garden. Corn, and Beans also get directly sowed into the garden. Again the label or packet should say whether it is recommended to directly sow the seed in the garden or start the seed inside.
5. Heirloom vs. Hybrid
A Heirloom plant is a plant that has been around for many years. They are self pollinating. Say you grow an heirloom tomato and save the seeds out that tomato, you plant the seeds the next year, they should grow and produce more fruit.
A Hybrid plant is a product of man crossbreeding different plants to produce a plant that has certain qualities. If you grow a hybrid tomato, save the seeds from that tomato, plant the seeds, a plant may grow but it will not produce fruit. Hybrids are very hardy and strong. They are resistant to a lot of diseases. I grow both heirloom and hybrid.
6. Companion Planting
This is where you plant things that are compatable to each other. There are certain plants that like to be friends and there are certain plants that don't get along. here is an article along with a list of companion planting. Just keep these in mind when planting. Did you know when you plant the combo of tomatoes and marigolds they help keep garden pest away!! Neat stuff!
7. Keys to Success
Hard work!! That's what it boils down to anyway. I would love to have a magic cure for weeds!! But there are none really. There are a few things you can do to deter weed growth: Mulching the rows and around the plants, you can use newspaper (biodegradable), grassclippings, or straw for this as well. But mostly you just have to get out there with a little elbow grease!
Well, I hope this has been helpful to someone. If you are an experienced gardener and have noticed something that is incorrect or you would like to add something, please let me know. I am not a professional and I only know what I know because of what I've tried in my own garden.
p.s. Did anyone else get up at the crack of dawn to watch a common girl named kate become a princess???