It’s gardening season. The vegetable seeds are coming out of their packets. The rodent and pest protective fences (and other devices) are being hooked up and the anxiety builds to pick that first tomato. Spring is the Super Bowl for us vegetable gardeners as it marks the time when we can get our hands dirty, put the hard work in, all to reap the benefits of a bountiful harvest. Here are 3 tips to get you going as we embark on yet another season in the sun.
It doesn’t matter whether you start your seeds indoors or outdoors, how deep you plant your seeds depends on its size. As you may know, vegetable, fruit and herb seeds come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors. They can be very small such as the celery seed, up through and including the very large seeds of the Big Max pumpkin. Rule of thumb? The smaller the seed, the closer it should be to the top of the soil. For example, celery seeds can be placed right on top and lightly covered and the Big Max pumpkin seed can be a half-inch to as much as one inch deep.
Weeds! It’s the naughty word for vegetable gardening because weeds create that extra work that we all want to avoid. There are a couple of things you can do which will limit the amount of weeding you will have to do. You can of course always invest in landscape paper which will keep weeds at bay, but come the end of the season you will have to take it up if you plan on composting in the off-season. A better solution, which has worked for me, is using newspaper. Three to five layers of your morning news will help keep those weeds at bay. You put it down just like you would any other landscape fabric. However, most, if not all, of the newspaper will be gone come the end of the year, so there is no extra work. Throw on top of it a 2 inch layer of straw/hay, pine needles or even grass clippings to keep the newspaper covered and of course keep it from blowing away in the wind.
You do not need an elaborate irrigation system to garden. Depending on the size of your garden, your watering technique can be as simple as a watering can up through a sprinkler system. For me, I attached a used sprinkler to a wooden post that I have standing in the middle of my garden. I have a garden hose that attaches to the sprinkler and when it is time to water the plants, I simply turn it on. The whole set up cost me less than $5 as I was able to get most of the material from Craigslist for free. Your system may be a bit different and will vary depending on your garden size. With a little creativity you can have a cost-effective, simple, easy to use watering system that can make your neighbors envious.
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