Check the "average number of days to maturity" printed on seed packages or in catalog descriptions. And weigh against the first and last frost dates in your region. A few days difference can make the difference between a great harvest, and, a great disappointment.
C. Unfortunately - earliness and great flavor don't always go together. Many gardeners plant both an early variety of a crop, as well as a late variety. Tomatoes in particular, plant one for a quick early harvest and another of a later variety.
D. They should be able to withstand extremes of temperature and humidity.
E. The varieties you choose should be hardy and resistant to diseases prevalent in your area, or that you've had problems with in the past.
5. Visit your Garden Regularly
If you're an avid Gardener like me you visit your garden daily. It's a pleasant experience, not a chore.
A. Pests -insects, birds, rodents, neighborhood kids and take immediate steps to eliminate them. Inspect for insect damage and remove any damaged portions of plants, which are disease susceptible.
B. Disease - Watch for signs of disease, such as fungus, wilts ...
Early diagnosis will help you to control them in a timely fashion, before the damage can spread. Remove and destroy any diseased plant. Do not put them in the compost pile, destroy them.
C. Ripe crops - You don't want your fruits and veggies rotting on the vine, harvest as necessary.
6. Water as Necessary.
and only as necessary
A. A drip or soaker hose is best in vegetable gardens, not essential but best. Drip systems water only the base of the plant - the root system - where it is needed. The foliage of the plants, when possible, should be kept moisture free to avoid funguses, mildews and plant disease. The plants moisture is drawn up from the roots. Excessive watering can be as harmful as drought. Most vegetables need about an inch of water weekly.
B. Water in the morning, so that the plants don't remain wet all night, which makes them more susceptible to disease.
C. Organic matter and mulches in the soil enhances moisture retention , and prevents preventing rapid evaporation.
7. A Tidy Garden is a Happy Garden
A. Proper sanitary practices are vital to the health of your garden. Proper sanitation can help to ensure disease-free and productive gardens.
B. Try to keep the garden free of any diseased dead or damaged plant materials. Remove cuttings from pruning and trimming and either destroy them - if diseased, or send them to the compost pile. Leaving rotting fruits and vegetables in the garden is like a written invitation to unwanted pests and diseases.
C. If a diseased or dead plant part has to be cut, the microorganism that caused the problem is probably on the tool you just used. Like a surgeon, sterilize all tools by washing in soap and water - rubbing alcohol wouldn't hurt either. If you pinch off diseased plant parts, wash hands before handling any other plants.
D. Keep Weeds under control.
E. Make sure that any compost you put in your garden is completely decomposed to prevent disease organisms that may contain, from spreading.
8. Proper Diagnosis and Treatment
Before applying any remedy, be sure you're curing the right disease. Improper diagnosis of a problem can be fatal for the patient - your plants. Incorrect use of chemical pesticides will generally cause more harm than good. Whenever feasible use organic alternatives.
9. Companion and Succession Planting
Too much of the same variety of plant in a condensed space attracts bugs that feed on that type of plant. Mingling your plants is a good concept. If you are inclined you might want to consider a companion planting scheme.
Companion planting is the placement of various crops in close physical proximity to on another so as to symbiotically complement each other's progress.
Companion plants can benefit each other in a number of different ways, including:
- Flavor enhancement — some plants, especially herbs, seem to subtly change the flavor of other plants around them. Such as Basil is known to enhance the flavor of tomatoes.
- Hedged investment — multiple plants in the same space increase the odds of some yield being given, even if one category encounters catastrophic issues
- Level interaction — plants which grow on different levels in the same space, perhaps providing ground cover or working as a trellis for another plant
- Nitrogen fixation — plants which fix nitrogen in the ground, making it available to other plants
- Pest suppression — plants which repel insects, plants, or other pests like nematodes or fungi, through chemical means
- Positive hosting — attracts or is inhabited by insects or other organisms which benefit plants, as with ladybugs or some "good nematodes"
- Protective shelter — one type of plant may serve as a wind break, or shade from noonday sun, for another
- Trap Cropping — plants which attract pests away from others
[See: Companion Planting]
10.Don't bite off more than you can chew-Start Small
Last, but certainly not least - Start small, [Getting back to the point this article began at "If you're New to Vegetable Gardening"] you might envision a mini farm in your back yard. While a mini farm isn't out of the question, without previous experience you'll probably become exasperated, frustrated and overwhelmed. There much to learn about vegetable gardening, it's not rocket science but can be frustrating at times. Don't get disgusted if at first you don't succeed ... Stick with it.
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Thank You and Happy Gardening.