How To Have a Great Garden in 8 Steps

Follow this Recipe for a Great Vegetable Garden in Any Soil

  1. Choose the location and prepare the soil.
    1. Direct sunlight all day long is essential for fruiting crops.
    2. Locate a water source near the garden for easy watering.
    3. Level ground - slight Southern slope is okay.
    4. Clean ground - remove rocks and weeds - annual and perennial.
    5. Outline perimeter of garden with stakes and string.
    6. Fence to protect against intruders.
  2. Create soil-beds - a nursery - in which to grow plants.
    1. Measure and stake beds 18", and aisles 3 1/2'.
    2. Outline growing beds by tying strings to stakes.
    3. Till aisles 2" deep, then pull soil from aisles to beds.
    4. Level beds by moving soil from high to low end.
    5. Apply fertilizer - pre-plant and weekly feed - to beds.
    6. Dig or till beds only (not aisles) 8" deep.
    7. Re-level beds, then shape with 4"-high ridges.
    8. Planting area of beds should be 2+" higher than aisles.
  3. Plant and/or transplant.
    1. Space planting based on size at maturity to avoid crowding.
    2. Use a marker to assure uniform plant spacing.
    3. Transplant healthy seedlings to extend growing season.
    4. Apply nitrogen to transplants 1/4 oz/ft for healthy fast start.
    5. Planting seeds?  Make shallow furrow and cover with sand only.
    6. Clay soil?  Don't amend soil, simply sprinkle sand in cracks.
    7. Grow vertically for much higher yield in less space.
  4. Water for maximum yield and minimum waste.
    1. Never sprinkle!  Wastes water and promotes disease.
    2. Early morning watering is best, but don't wait if plants need it.
    3. Always keep soil moist!  A wilting plant is dying.
    4. Watering with hose?  Cover with cloth to reduce pressure.
    5. Apply 1" of water in 10-12"-wide planting area - daily.
    6. Automate watering and save with drilled PVC pipe system.
  5. Feed accurately and regularly.
    1. Plants require balanced nutrition for full growing cycle.
    2. Water-soluble minerals are required - through the roots.
    3. Apply pre-plant and weekly feed in soil before planting.
    4. As plants emerge, apply weekly feed til 3 weeks from maturity.
    5. Application rates - pre-plant 1 oz/ft, weekly feed 1/2 oz/ft.
    6. Use STERILE compost/manure if minerals are not available.
  6. Control weeds - stop competition, bugs, and diseases.
    1. Eliminate ALL weeds - annuals and perennials at the start.
    2. After planting remove weeds immediately as they first appear.
    3. Use a garden rake and a 2-way hoe (aka scuffle, hula, stirrup).
    4. Pull ridges down and rake back up, hoe center of bed and aisles.
    5. "E & O" - early and often the first 2-3 weeks gets most weeds.
    6. Avoid pesticides and herbicides for healthier produce and people.
  7. Harvest at peak maturity.
    1. Pick fruit as soon as it is mature for best flavor and health.
    2. Pick plants in the early morning when it's cool.
    3. Immediately remove from the sun.
    4. Wash and clean before storing.
    5. Cool produce quickly for minimum wilting.
    6. Eat fresh for best taste and health benefits.
  8. Remove residue from garden and prepare for next crop.
    1. Remove any diseased or "buggy" plants from garden immediately.
    2. Clean plants can be tilled into the soil-beds to compost naturally.
    3. If re-planting immediately, do not till-in plant residues.
    4. Remove all weeds before re-tilling soil-beds for new planting.
    5. Re-apply pre-plant and weekly feed fertilizers when re-tilling beds.
    6. Re-level and ridge beds, then plant new seeds or seedlings.



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Very easy to follow and comprehensive as well.

By Mary Norton