DIY : How to Plant your own Delicious Produce
As great as farmers markets are there’s nothing like enjoying food that you have grown and harvested just feet away from your home. Whether you’re looking to plant a few flowers or a whole vegetable garden, here are some tips to maximize your farming success.
- Choose your planting area. Make sure it is in a sunny location since most vegetables need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. You should also plant in a place that’s not prone to flooding during heavy rains and does not dry out frequently. A 16 by 10 foot garden is a good size if you are trying to grow most of your own produce. A plot this size could feed a family of four for one summer with a little leftover for canning or freezing.
- Start preparing the bed by getting rid of weeds so your seedlings have plenty of room to grow. Make sure you get them by the roots.
- Now you need to tend to your soil. It’s likely your soil has dried out over the winter so adding compost or manure will enrich your soil with organic matter which is vital for air, nutrient, and moisture retention. Soil cultivation is also important to mix in organic matter, loosen up the soil for plant roots, and improve the capture and retention of rainfall. Alternate between fluffing up only the first inch or two of soil and tilling down 5 or 6 inches.
- Consider adding some mulch to help prevent weeds and diseases and to retain moisture in the soil. To prevent weeds you could also use black plastic to cover your soil which will also help raise soil temperatures.
- Choose your seeds. Buying high quality seeds from a mail order seed catalog will cost you a little more upfront but will pay off in higher yields at harvest time. Common productive plants that are easy to grow include: tomatoes, zucchini squash, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, beets, carrots, chard, radishes, and marigolds. Some vegetables such as beans, beets, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, and turnips could also yield more than one crop per season if you are looking to get the most out of your seeds.
- It’s time for planting. Make sure your seeds are well spaced so they don’t compete for sunlight, water, and nutrition and fail to mature. The depth at which you plant your seed depends on the type of plant so make sure to read the seed packet or research what your plant requires.
- Continue to cultivate your soil but make sure you don’t disturb plant roots. Efficient and effective watering is key to healthy plants. Check out this watering guide.
- The time from seed to harvest depends on the type of plant. This guide can help you determine when different plants are ready to be harvested.
- Enjoy that super fresh and satisfying taste of home grown produce!