When to plant a vegetable garden

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Time your garden for bountiful vegetables
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Ever wonder how and when to plant your vegetable garden?

It is every home owner's dream to have a beautiful yard and bountiful garden. Some hesitate thinking it's a lot of work. Others are afraid plants might die, wasting money and effort, and ruining their soil.

On the contrary gardening is a fun, interesting and easy activity. Gardening can be a family project, or tending your garden can be a solitary hobby for time alone to find inner peace.

If gardening has been on your mind, get active and do it. You will see that once you start planning, planting and tending to a garden that it was a great idea.

When should you plant a vegetable garden? When you have the motivation to undertake a summer-long endeavor!

You also need to know the growing zone that you live in. This will help you determine which vegetables will do well in your garden, and, most importantly, when to plant them. You can find your growing zone by consulting a zone chart or talking with someone at your local garden center.

As you decide which plants to grow, consult the "germination" and "time to maturity" estimates of your vegetables on the seed packet or from a good gardening website. You can make a simple timetable, considering the last spring frost as the date you will start your vegetable garden. Count the days to get from seed, to seedling, to mature veggie-bearing plant.

Rainfall, sun and temperature will affect your garden timetable, so learn to be flexible and go with what Mother Nature sends your way.

If you plant seedlings or larger plants, of course, you can start later in the growing season. Remember that the first frost in the fall will kill most of your vegetable plants, so plan your garden to be finished producing well before then. Some plants are frost tolerant, which will extend your growing season a bit unless you are in the harsher growing zones.

More things to consider

When considering starting a garden, either for ornamental or fruitful plants, you first have to check the one thing is going to make everything possible: the soil. By testing your soil you will know the combination of minerals and nutrients in it. Then you can get the ones that your soil is missing and that are needed for what you plan to grow.

Something else you learn by testing it is your soil is the Ph level. This is extremely important to know because most plants need a neutral 6.2 to a 6.8 level to grow and stay healthy. You can test the Ph of your soil yourself by purchasing a kit or by taking a sample to a local co-operative extension office.

Locating the right space or location for your garden is crucial in deciding which vegetables you are planning to grow. Keep in mind some plants need sun, some need shade and others need the perfect balance.

Always plan your garden where you can see it every day, this will make it easy for you to observe your garden as it develops and also lets you enjoy it, incentivizing you to garden more.

After you test your soil, working the soil and treating it before starting your garden is going to go a long way toward guaranteeing you a successful garden. Start by removing all of the grass and weeds from the area you have planned as your vegetable garden. Let it breathe. Treat with nutrient additives as indicated. Then, water your soil well. Do this at least one day before planting.

Keeping yourself organized is going to help too. At this point you have already formulated what type of vegetable garden you want. It is practical to know what vegetables you like to eat and what colors appeal to you. Talk to your neighbors and see what are they growing in their gardens. Get all their tips and tricks.

When the time comes to actually garden, get your sunblock, hat and your hands dirty. Work the soil one more time. Mark and space out where do you want each plant to go. Be sure to dig a hole as deep as the dimension of the container that the plant came in. Sprinkle a healthy amount of soil on top and make sure NOT to press to hard.

After you have planted all of the seedlings and seeds that you purchased, water your garden. Don't over do it.

Last but not least, mulch around your plants as they grow. Whether organic mulch or artificial, mulch helps to retain water, keeps the soil cool and keeps weeds from growing and ruining your plants. Mulch soon after planting getting a good 2 to 4 inches on top of your soil.

After you have planted your garden, gotten it off to a healthy start, weed and water regularly. Thin vegetable plants that seem too crowded or weaker than surrounding plants.

Don't worry about your garden. Learning to grow vegetables is a process of trial and error, but every gardener, even the most inexperienced, is certain to have some successes. Every determined gardener will reap the rewards of growing their own vegetables.

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