The Vegetable Gardener
There is nothing that can compare to freshly picked home-grown produce at the peak of its flavor. Whether you are an accomplished green thumb or a very green novice, whether you have several acres of land or only a small plot to cultivate, delicious, nutritious vegetables are as close as your own back garden, a few handy tips can help you go a long way in being a good vegetable gardener.
- When planning your vegetables place tall plantings such as sweet corn or those grown on trellises at the north side of the plot so they don’t cast shadows on lower growing plants.
- Never grow plants with long tap roots such as carrots and parsnips in freshly manured ground because it causes them to fork and misshapen.
- Like pots and containers, raised beds dry out more quickly than the open ground and need frequent watering. Without the proper drainage materials and holes, they can also become waterlogged in wet weather.
- When growing vegetables for their decorative qualities, you should always check the latest seed catalogues. New ornamental varieties of old favourites are introduced every year, reflecting their growing popularity.
- Shade cast by buildings can be difficult to handle, but you can maximize the amount of available light by painting all the surrounding surfaces white.
- If you have a hydrangea, you can use the colour of its blooms to determine the soil pH where it is planted. If the flowers are pink, the soil is generally above pH 7; blue, pH 6.5 or lower
- Clay soil is easily compacted when wet. Avoid walking on wet clay soil and taking heavy equipment such as wheelbarrows across it. Where you cannot avoid it, put a plank down to walk or push a wheelbarrow on. It will help to spread the load and limit the damage.
- As most animal manure is so bulky, several proprietary, pre-rotted, bagged manures are available from garden centres. They are more expensive but easier to transport.
These few tips can help you develop the green fingers you would need to be a proud owner of a beautiful English garden.