Well hello there folks Me again and this post i will blog about my favourite subject vegetables. I like a lot of gardeners of my vintage have a veggie patch and can come from having to grow ones own in our early childhood days or at least our Parents . Mine was certainly from parental interest ,anyway that doesn,t matter ,because the motives are still the same ,saving money,having good fresh produce and healthy for us too and the enjoyment of growing our own. For me its always been vegetables didn,t really get into flowers and shrubs and things only as a way of earning an income. I never seen the sense in putting flowers in my gardens always had to be something you could eat ,that said of course you can eat a lot of flowers too. So where do we start.
1. A good sunny spot and sheltered from winds is a good idea, vegetables need sun. As do most plants of course but because vegetables are in the main plants which we want to grow very well sunshine is needed. Along with good drainage and lots of humus in the soil,organic matter. We nurture our soils in the veggie patch and build them up over time ,so don,t be too stressed if your first attempts are scrawny veggies. Because time is on our side do things slowly methodicaly and you wil be rewarded
2. Ideally our soil should be free draining , friable with plenty of organic matter. If not we can amend soils to suit our ideal growing conditions by adding whats required. A ph near as Ph 7 would be perfect but not always acheiveable and i have dound a range of 5.5 to 6.5 good for most vegetables ,some exceptions like potatoes whom don,t mind a lower ph in fact it can be a good thing for disease protection. Most of what i just said you gardeners will have already worked out which works for you.
3. Wind can be a big factor i the veggie garden ,so reducing it is always a good idea. Wind can evapourate moisture from the ground very quickly and also bring in weeds and pests.You do need some airflow but gentle is preferred and reducing this is achievable easy. You could put up a hessian screen or shade cloth ,grow a living hedge although they can harbour pests especially over the winter months.So choose carefully there, fruit tres epsalired can be a good wind break if you havent a lot of room.
4. So now we have our veggie area what to do first , Clear of all weeds mow ,burn if allowed remove by hand or just simply dig them in . Me i would dig them in as once you turn over the soil with your manual soil inverter ( ie spade, fork ) you will get lots more weeds anyway from the thousands of seed in the soil. Add your, manures and probaly some lime in fact if in the States right now i would let my ground get all the climatic conditions that mother nature can throw at this time of year.As i am in Thailland i not get any of that cold really cold conditions which is a pity because i believe it benefits the soil.And we are just coming out of what Thais call winter.
5. Cultivate the soil to a depth of 12 inches by hand or machine lay out your beds into four feet by four feet plots and about six of these so u can practise crop rotation which is a good practise for plant hygiene,less diseases that way.Have paths between them enough for wheel barrows etc. The paths you can make by taking the soil from where you are having paths and throw back onto gardenbeds thereby raising them and better also for drainage. Give consideration to watering when laying out beds i like some drip type of irigation ,or a simple butterfly sprinkler is the way i do it. Once the tilth of the soil is a nice crumbly texture is time to plant ,when culitivating try and do when there is some moisture in the soil so as not to ruin soil structure.
6. Plant out your favourite veggies and look after them well . Don,t plant out everything at once spread it out over a three week span and small manageable crops is the way to go. Otherwise you will be disappointed with the results.Feed them on a regular basis once a fortnight with a good liquid feriliser and you,ll have veggies you are proud of. Well there you have it some tips on the veggie patch and until next week i will say cheers.If you at any time have some questions about a specific subject please don,t hesitate to ask ,or leave a comment thanking you Steve Barratt