GREENSCAPE GARDENS VEGETABLE GARDENING
Vegetable Gardening Tips For Beginners And Even The Experienced Gardener.
Spring will soon be in the St. Louis area, and many gardening novices are making their first treks into the garden center with tons of questions. Many of the questions and statements are in regards to their neighbor's garden. They "turn green with envy" while admiring the neighbor's garden but don't think their thumb is green enough? My typical answer is anyone can develop a green thumb, as long as you're willing to invest a little time, patience and BLISTERS.
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Good planning is essential to successful gardening. Start your garden off right by selecting a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Check the site for good drainage by making sure water doesn't tend to stand after a rain or irrigation. Try to steer clear of trees and shrubs that will compete with your garden plants for water, light and nutrients.Once you've selected your site, sketch your plans on paper. Decide how big the garden will be, what crops you want to grow and where to place them.
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Beginners have a tendency to go overboard, not realizing how much work lies ahead. It's best to start out small and gradually add to your patch each year as needed. A 100-square-foot plot should be plenty for your first venture. Many different vegetables will produce well in St. Louis. Most new gardeners start out by picking up a few seed packets at the garden center.
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Before heading out to the garden to plant, you'll need to gather some tools and properly prepare the soil. A hoe, rake, spade, sprinkler, string and stakes are about the minimum tool supply you'll need. It's a good idea to have your soil tested as early as possible to learn how much of what kind of fertilizer to apply. Next, you should prepare a good planting bed, but make sure the soil has dried sufficiently before you work it. Working wet soil will damage the soil's structure. Squeeze a handful of soil, and if it crumbles away easily, it's ready. If it sticks together in a muddy ball, you'd better hold off. When it's ready, work the soil at least 6 inches deep. The best recommendation is to add some soil amendments to our lousy clay soil. Compost or manure tilled into the garden will make your first garden a success. Then rake the soil surface level. Most seed packages will list planting directions such as depth and spacing.
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When setting out transplants, be sure to dig a hole larger than the soil ball of the plant to aid root establishment. Most transplants are sold in containers that must be removed before planting. Score the sides of the transplants to encourage the roots to expand out of its previous packaged size. Transplants dry out and wilt rapidly, so be sure to get those transplants watered thoroughly as soon as possible.
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The job doesn't end with planting. There are always weeds, insects and diseases to battle. There are numerous cultural types of controls and preventive measures along with chemicals. No one chemical will control all problems on all crops, so you'll need to identify your problem correctly and then choose the proper control. Your first garden will be a learning experience, the knowledge and fruits (vegetables) will be well worth the sweat and blisters. Good Luck!
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