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Vegetable gardening is a FUN, and then you get to eat the 'fruit' of
your labors! It is truly amazing the way that God put the
information needed into a seed that can grow if the conditions are
The first thing to do is consider what your climate will allow to grow,
and what garden space you have to use. It is important to consider
what the sun exposure will be from sun up to sun down for each area you
might use for plant growth, and what the soil quality is. Many
crops/plants require special considerations for sun... full sun to
shade, and soil... sandy loose to rich composted. Look at what
commercial crops are grown where you live. Consider seed
sources... it is important to use organic seeds, and if available
heirloom or non-genetically modified. This type of seed can
produce fruit and if you wish, can create your own seeds that can be used
for future plantings. Doing this sounds easier than it is.
Seeds must be properly harvested and dried and stored to produce well in
future plantings. My favorite source of seed is
www.highmowingseeds.com in Vermont. The quality is
guaranteed and has produced quite well for me. Other local seed
dealers are available from hardware stores to organic markets in your
If you have access to a green house, the
growing season can be extended. Remember that a green house helps
plants GROW when it is colder outside than their usual growing
temperatures... but when it is WARM outside... the green house will COOK
your plants quite quickly unless it is well ventilated! Also
remember that plants requiring pollination NEED INSECTS to reach the
flowers or else there will be no production of your desired produce.
I like to start my seeds in seed 'cells', transplant them into peat
cups, and then either into growing pots or directly into the ground.
These growing tools are really quite inexpensive and are available for
the home gardener from
http://www.burpee.com. For me starting plants intended to be
moved into the ground is practical about 6 weeks earlier than you would
expect to plant the same seed directly into the ground. In a cold
climate like where I live, I find that a low voltage heating mat under
the seed cells and a growing light over them is helpful.
You can buy these items individually or in combination sets like
http://www.burpee.com/gift-set . However, you can also just
use a paper cup on a sunny window sill in a room on the east side of
your home. :o)
My preference for soil to transplant the
seedlings into is a mixture of almost equal parts of organic potting
soil (like Fox Farm Ocean Forest Natural &
Potting Soil ), Canadian Peat Moss (like Black Gold Canadian Sphagnum
Peat Moss Plus!), organic compost (like
Gardner & Bloome Soil Building Compost), and perlite white water
retention particles. These are available from your local nursery or
hardware supply (like Orchard Supply Hardware). I use two 5 gallon
buckets to make the mixture. I fill one bucket about 80% full of
almost equal amounts of the four ingredients (usually I don't add a full
portion of perlite) and then just pour it back and
forth until it is mixed. This will work well if you are going to
grow your plants in a pot. When you are finished with any potting
endeavor, dump the soil into a compost area to later be mixed into your
outdoor garden. When you intend to transplant young plants into
the ground, there are other things to consider. Using good quality
soil building ingredients is VERY important. If you skimp on the
soil, you will be sorry later with poor produce and contaminants like
mushrooms, slugs, etc. So don't do it. Use a GOOD source for
your supplies. You will also need a fertilizer source to add to
your potted plants and to work into the soil in your outside garden.
It is probably worth the small investment for a soil analyzing kit to
have an idea of what your garden needs BEFORE you plant. I like
liquid fish emulsion for the potted plants and in the outside garden
when the young plants are transplanted. For larger outside
areas a quality manure source is important.
Poultry, steer, Llama manure... there are lots of options. A roto-tiller
is handy, but a shovel can do the job too.
Well, that's enough to 'chew on' for now...
I will add more later...
Good Planting! ;D