If you want to be able to grow nutrient dense vegetables just follow these simple steps to growing fantastic vegetables…
- Where is the garden bed going to be located?
- Examine your soil and determine what type of soil you are dealing with.
- Before planting, feed up the beds with what is lacking in the soil.
- Keep your beds well mulched.
- Before planting read up on what the plants needs are.
- Ensure the seedling are strong and vigorous.
- Keep the soil hydrated at all the times.
- Feed the soil and plants regularly, every 10 days.
- Monitor what going on in the garden.
Garden bed location
For growing the growing of most vegetables they will need at least six hours of sun light so make sure the bed is located in an appropriate spot in the garden. Watch out for trees that might shade out the bed.
“Feed and look after the soil and the plants will look after themselves”
Ok, before we start any planting you want to examine the soil in the garden bed. What type of soil are you working with – Sandy, Silt, Clay.
Watch this video to understand soils in more detail –
Now once you have determined the soil type that you are working with. You can take direct action to improve it if need be.
Example – For clay soil add lots of organic materials or build a raised bed on top of the existing bed.
Feeding the soil
Always feed the soil before planting anything.
Breakup up the soil by using a large broad garden fork. This will aerate and loosen up the soil Now you can mix in compost, aged manure and some activated biochar. I also add some coir which helps the soil to retain moisture.
I have a post on how I make up my growing soil mix if you need more information.
Once the beds have been prepared I try and not stand on the growing areas as it will compact them. I try to adhere to the no till method if I can. It may be helpful to lay out paths or stepping stones.
Give the bed a good soaking of water.
Next step is mulching – Always, always cover the bear soil. This is done to keep the moisture in and stop any evaporation. It also keeps the soil cooler and warmer depending of the season and importantly stop any weeds growing.
Mother nature does not want it’s soil uncovered and it will immediately start growing something on the bear soil – WEEDS and no one wants to grow weeds.
Types of mulch you can use are Straw, Hay, Wood chips, Sugar cane. It’s a good idea to find out where the mulch has came from as it may have weed seeds which would defeat the object of having the mulch in the first place.
I personal prefer to use a courser mulch as some of the finer mulches seem to mat up and don’t let air in. Spread out a layer of about 4 inches/ 10 cms over the whole bed.
Planing and Planting
First thing to do is jot down the vegetables you love to eat. No reason to grow anything that’s not a family favorite.
IMPORTANT – Determine what season the plant will grow in your location and find out what the plants needs are – Full Sun, Semi Shade, Shade – well drained soil etc. This information can be found on the seed packet or researched on the internet.
Presumably you will be growing more than one vegetable in the bed so draw up a rough plan of what will be going where.
Seeds or Seedling ?
Now for the fun part planting out the seedling. To obtain seedling you can either go to your local nursery or hardware store. My preference is to grow seedlings from seed as I love watching the miracle of a tiny seed popping out the ground and becoming a plant. I know when starting out on your vegetables growing journey you want to get something into the ground as soon as possible. so start with seedlings. growing from seed can come later.
Tip – When choosing the seedling make sure they look healthy and vigorous. Never buy a plant or punnet of seedling that don’t look in tip top condition.
When you get home and start planting up the seedlings again if it does not look right don’t plant it. We want the strongest plants to get planted. On the whole weak plants will never do as well as strong plants so why bother. Lets try and get the odd on our side before we even start.
Now it’s time to pop those babies into the ground, yes I did say babies, they are babies and need all your attention to make sure they grow up to healthy plants.
Go back to your vegetable planting plan and see where they are going in the bed, also note what the recommend plant spacing’s are. Now draw back the mulch, make an appropriate sized hole and place the seedling in the hole, back fill and gently press down the soil around the seedling. Cover up the bear soil with mulch and give a gentle watering. I recommend adding seaweed extract to the water which should help with replanting the seedling and stop the seedling suffering from the transplanting process.
Now all that is left to do is water and feed regularly. In the beginning before the plant has established itself it will need daily attention. I personally always wonder around the garden checking up on the plants anyway. Do a feeding every ten days to ensue the plant has the food to grow into a healthy adult which will provide you with wonderful produce.