Gardening with vegetables can be fun and provide delicious and highly nutritious fresh food. Watching and working with plants can add a new dimension of enjoyment to life and bring an awareness of the wonderful world of nature in the backyard. The marvels of nature will have special personal meaning when nurturing a small seedling into a colourful productive plant with your own hands. These accomplishments can be obtained regardless of the size of garden. A few plants or a large plot will give rewarding experiences for both young and old. The path to a successful vegetable garden is not difficult or long. A few carefully taken steps will produce many enjoyable moments and an abundant harvest of fresh vegetables during much of the year.

Location, location, location. First and foremost, select a location with plenty of sunlight. Most vegetables require a minimum exposure to sunlight of six hours per day, but more is better. Don’t plant gardens under or near trees or large shrubs. Aside from the shade factor, their roots will rob fertility and water from your vegetables.

Make a plan. Planning ahead will help avoid problems and make your garden a complement to your landscape. If space is an issue, plant vegetables that utilize space efficiently like bush beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, leaf lettuce, onions, radishes, swiss chard and tomatoes and peppers. Make sure to leave room for growing space between plants.

Get good plants. Select plants that are healthy, stocky, and medium sized with vigorous roots. Springtime Garden Centre is an excellent source for over 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs for your garden.

Prepare the soil. Peat moss will help make the soil loose and easy to work. It improves water holding capacity, drainage and aeration. Composted manure improves nutrient value in the soil. It is easy to use – apply a layer 2-3 inches thick on the garden area and work it into the top 10-12 inches of soil.

Timing is everything. Transplant seedlings on a cloudy day or in the evening.

Handle with care. About an hour before transplanting thoroughly water plants and soil. Carefully remove the plants from their containers, disturbing the roots as little as possible. Try to keep the soil ball around the roots. Plant in a hole so that the vegetable sits slightly deeper than it grew in the container.

Water, water, water. Water enough to keep the soil moist in the root zone of the plant throughout the growing season. Excessive fluctuations of soil moisture adversely affect plant growth and quality. Frequency of watering depends on many things. A large plant needs more water than a small plant. Plants need to be watered more often during hot periods than cool periods.

Weed, weed, weed. Weeds compete with vegetables for water, nutrients and light. Weeds often harbour insects and diseases. Small weeds are easier to control than large ones, so start weeding early and do so often.

The job is not done until top quality vegetables are harvested from the garden. When the fruits of your labour are tasted, then it will be worth all the effort. Garden vegetables offer you a variety of experiences and flavours throughout the year. Enjoy them both.

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