So we’ve read a lot. How to plan. How to compost. How to blah blah blah.
But the day has come to learn how to actually plant your veggie garden. Dun Dun Dun…
This is the part that scares me the second most (the scariest part is tomorrow… maintaining it all after you have purchased the stuff and put your heart and soul into it all). So I have read A LOT bout this important step. And now… To share it with you…
So the most important points that I found, when looking at actually planting your garden, are as follows:
- Choose your planting date carefully
- Prep your soil
- Plant your seeds or transplant your starts
- And then water
The most common method of choosing your planting date, is to wait until right after the last frost. This date will change, depending on where you are located. You can click HERE to find out what your last frost date is.
Mine is the last weekend in April.
Commence the nail biting now…
I am sticking to an organic vegetable garden (things I have decided along the way… “I will grow a vegetable garden…” “I will grow an organic vegetable garden… “ bare with me folks), so that is what I am going to highlight here.
For your soil composition, you want a little bit of the following:
1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost which is well rotted
You can try and find an organic potting soil that includes all of these things, or you can mix it yourself. I myself will be investing in some organic fertilizer instead of the mix, because I haven’t had my compost pile up and running long enough to actually use during my first planting sesh.
The soil needs to be damp, but not wet.
If you are reading this blog now, you probably haven’t prepped a bunch of starts for your garden. I was lucky enough to inherit a nice group of starts from my good friend Rachel over at Reckless Abandon, but other than that, I will be purchasing some seedling plants as well. So, I am going to focus on transplanting starts or seedlings. This was really well outline by the folks over at Country-Farm Lifestyles.
- When you transplant your seedlings, no matter how careful you are, your plants will always suffer an element of shock. Therefore, when transplanting your seedlings the aim should be to minimize the shock as much as possible, because if you don't, you could end up losing some of them.
- Most seedlings are ready to be transplanted when they are about 75 - 100 mm in heights and usually between 4 and 8 weeks old. That is unless you are transplanting onions and leeks as these will be 150-200 mm high before they are ready to be transplanted. Reduce watering your seedlings 10 days before transplanting (this seems really extreme to me, please take it with a grain of salt).
- However, on the day that you are going to plant them out, you should water them thoroughly 6 - 12 hours before hand. Make sure that where you are going to transplant them to has also been well watered.
- The best time to transplant your seedlings is late afternoon, early evening when the heat of the sun has gone. This then allows your plants the night to re-establish themselves before the next day. Choose your seedling wisely. Although you will be tempted to plant them all out, only choose those that are strong, and discard the others.
- Lift your seedlings out of the seed box with a garden trowel and lay them at the recommended intervals given to you on the original seed packet. Dig a small hole and carefully place the seedling inside. Make sure that it's not too deep or that there is a space between the ends of roots and the bottom of the hole. Firm the seedling gently by pressing down around the stem. When you have finished, water the transplants well.
- As a rule transplanting plants means that the leaves and roots are untouched. However, there are some plants that seem to benefit from having either their leaves cut or their roots cut, or sometimes even both. Onions and leeks can be trimmed both at the top and bottom without much ill effect. Beets and Swiss chard also get off to a better start if their leaves are trimmed slightly.
The greatest importance in regards to watering, after much reading, is consistency. This will produce the best results. I am currently considering drip irrigation because consistency tends to not be a high-point for my green thumb. This can also save you up to 60% of the water used by sprinkler systems and will ensure that your plants are watered without getting their leaves wet, which will help prevent disease problems. So if you are curious, you should look into it to!!
You'll know if you've over watered if the soil around the plant stem is soaked. Mold or moss growing on the top of your soil is another dead giveaway as is plants with wilting, yellowing or dead leaf margins.
Too little water has a different set of symptoms: wilting of plants, brown or dead leaves, stunted growth (see Watering Guidelines).
If you're watering newly planted seeds, be careful to gently sprinkle water on them. Don't use a torrent from a hose or a bucket that has enough force to mistakenly wash away seeds or cause them to clump together.
What do you think, guys. Do you feel prepared enough to get this going on your own?
I have to say… I just might!!!