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Vegetable Gardens

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In vegetable gardens, try wide-row planting instead of the traditional, long narrow rows. Benefits include a maximized planting area as less space is used for pathways, fewer rows to weed, and an attractive garden design. Weeds can be reached from either side if the row is 36 inches wide or less. The same for ripe vegetables.

Don't let the vegetable garden rule your life
Assess your vegetable needs and plan a garden that's big enough to meet them - period. Planting enough for the whole neighborhood or to start a produce market is an experience the average new gardener doesn't want to have. Instead, expand the summer vegetable season into spring and fall by planting cool-season crops. An extended harvest makes a lot more sense than 200 ripe tomatoes demanding something be done with them on a blistering Saturday morning in August.

Most vegetables and annual flowers are "heavy feeders," requiring regular fertilizing. Perennials also like fertilizer, but to a lesser degree. Too much fertilizer may result in heavy vegetable growth, but few flowers.

In vegetable gardens, try wide-row planting instead of the traditional, long narrow rows. Benefits include a maximized planting area as less space is used for pathways, fewer rows to weed, and an attractive garden design. Weeds can be reached from either side if the row is 36 inches wide or less. The same for ripe vegetables.

Water the garden in the early morning hours
This gives plants a good soaking with little water lost to evaporation. Drip irrigation systems, such as hoses that continuously release small amounts of water through their porous walls, are an excellent way to provide moisture. During dry periods, gardens generally requires one to two inches of water a week. Mulching around plants will help conserve water and reduce weeds.

Record plantings and harvests so you can rotate crops next year and track what did well and what didn't. Rotation helps prevent insect infestations and soil-borne diseases. Notes can be very helpful when ordering seeds in February when last summer's garden is but a memory. Taking photos is also a great idea as is saving seed packs. Nothing like a picture to refresh the memory and the seed pack to reorder the exact same thing again or never again.

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