Weed Control

Weeds compete with vegetable plants for water, nutrients and sunlight. Weeds reduce yields and may cause crop failure unless they are controlled. There are several methods of controlling weeds. Commercial vegetable growers use a combination of mechanical methods and chemical weed killers called herbicides. Most herbicides are not recommended for use in home gardens. They are difficult to use because no one chemical can be used on all vegetables and because it is difficult to apply small amounts...

Fertilizer and Lime

Vegetable gardens will not reach their potential unless the soil is properly limed and fertilized. Liming decreases soil acidity, increases fertilizer availability and reduces certain physiological problems such as blossom-end-rot of tomatoes, peppers and watermelons. A soil test is the only reliable method of determining the optimum amount of lime and fertilizer to apply. Instructions for taking soil samples and soil sample boxes are available at your county Extension office. The samples are...

Trickle Irrigation

Trickle or drip irrigation systems use a network of water-conducting tubes placed at the side of plant rows to distribute small amounts of water directly to growing plants. Water emerges through small sprinkler heads, leaks through small emitter holes or soaks through the porous sides of the tubes. Trickle systems are more costly than sprinkler systems, but they require much less water. This can be a real advantage to city gardeners who must pay for water, and perhaps for waste water treatment...

Gardening Tools

An efficient garden that's fun to work in requires the correct tools. It is not necessary to have a lot of tools, but they should be good quality. All gardeners will require the following 1. A shovel or a spade . Shovels are long-handled and have wide, rounded blades. Spades are shorter and usually have narrow blades. Sharpshooter shovels are spades. I prefer a longhandled shovel for nearly every gardening task from spading soil to planting and transplanting shrubs. The shorter spade is...

Planning the Garden

A garden plan will save time, space and money. Yields will be increased, as will the length of the harvest season. Begin by making a scale drawing of your available garden area on graph paper. Divide the drawing into cool-season and warm-season vegetable planting areas. Cool-season vegetables are those such as onions, cabbage, radishes and English peas. They require cool weather to grow and mature properly and can withstand some frost. Cool-season vegetables are planted in the early spring and...

Advanced Gardening Techniques

Gardens will produce more in less area and quality will be higher if certain vegetables are grown vertically rather than horizontally. Vegetables grown vertically have an extended harvest season and are easier to spray, tend Figure 14. Caging tomatoes reduces labor for supporting the plants and increases yield. Be sure to fasten cages to stakes driven into the ground. Figure 14. Caging tomatoes reduces labor for supporting the plants and increases yield. Be sure to fasten cages to stakes driven...

Reduced Spacing

Raised Beds

Several systems are designed to increase the number of vegetable plants grown and the produce harvested during a single season in a given area. These systems increase yields without increasing the area to be fertilized, irrigated or weeded. Some of them also increase the length of the harvest season. We have discussed succession planting previously, and now will look at intercropping, double cropping, multiple rows and planting in raised beds. Intercropping is growing more than one crop in a...

Insect and Disease Control

Compressed Air Sprayer

Garden vegetables are susceptible to many insect and disease problems. Unless these problems are effectively controlled, they greatly reduce vegetable quantity and quality. Begin control of garden insects and diseases by following good cultural and sanitation practices. Rake and burn or bury insect-infested or diseased plant residues after harvest so these problems will not overwinter in the garden. Turning plant residues under in the fall allows them ample time to decay before spring. Avoid...

Transplant Production

Most home gardeners purchase vegetable transplants. There are, however, several advantages to growing your own. If you grow your own transplants, they will be the size you want when you are ready to plant them. The container size can be controlled, as can the variety. There will be less danger of bringing in insects and diseases, and you can properly harden the transplants before planting. The cost may also be less. Unfortunately, vegetable transplants are not easy to produce in the home....

Composting

Compost is a dark, easily crumbled substance that develops from the partial decay of organic material. Making compost greatly reduces the volume of garden refuse, provides mulching materials for garden plants and contributes organic material to garden soils. Most gardeners who compost produce compost in a compost pile. Begin with almost any plant material. Examples include grassclippings, garden prunings, spent plants, leaves, hay, straw, manure and immature weeds. Do not compost meat scraps,...

Potash KO

Fertilizer analysis numbers refer to the percentage by weight of N, P2O5 and K2O nitrogen, phosphate, and potash . Manure is a complete fertilizer and may be used to supplement chemical fertilizer. Manure varies considerably in nutrient value, depending on the type of animal, length of storage, amount of bedding material and the moisture contained. Since most manure has less than 2 percent phosphate and less than 1 percent nitrogen and potash, several times more manure than chemical...